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BUAC's greatest ever BUCS Cross!

Written by captains Mike Stevens & Shiv Gregory

 

The day of races began with the women’s short course which did not disappoint! The ladies lined up in full force ready to go out there, kill the opposition with blood, guts, and sheer attrition. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to huddle and chant like a cult before the race due to my lateness, but this did not bother the girls, we let out a little cheer on the line to Sof trackbeast’s motivational ‘SLLLLAAAAYYY!’ (sorry JJ) and were ready to go!




 

The course was intimidating, muddy, and hilly but our ladies did not feel threatened by Temple Newsam. A bunch of our BUAC girls got off to a solid start, with gutsy runs from GB’s newest star girl Zoe Hunter along with freshers Alice Bates and Poppy Palmer-Malins. With a couple of African violet vests up there in the mix it was a nervy first hill. However, there was no need to fear, after the first lap dream duo Rosie and Charlotte were here. Both had incredible runs which put the competition to shame. Ultimately, it was star of the day Charlotte Alexander who stormed to victory making Rosie eat her dust (or mud in this case). An outstanding performance from Charlotte, we can’t think of a more deserving winner and are all excited to see the great form continue across the globe to Oman! The one and only Rosie Hamilton-James fought to the line to make it a BUAC 1-2, such a slay from Rosie and well deserved!

 



With the perfect 3 points already in the bag, the missing piece fell on the shoulders of the other girls, but who better to carry that burden than silly fresh Rose Chesterfield? One of my personal favourite runs of the day, Rose ran a cool, calm and collected race to finish 6th and complete the winning BUAC team. These insane performances set our winning streak off for the day, establishing pure BUAC domination! The greatness only continued as after a very strong start Freya Stapleton pushed through in her usual fierce fashion to finish 7th. Zoe Hunter showed us that her GB vest was well deserved and the guasha King evidently has speed goggles, taking 8th and resident ginger (no not Beanie!) Hannah Seager worked her way through the crowds up to 10thplace to complete the second BUAC team who took the bronze- even if there weren’t any medals. Not only did this make it two team medals, but also 6 athletes in the top 10, insane!! Another BUAC ginger, Lily Neate followed bestie Rose’s class act just behind in 11th, with silly fresh Holly Weedall 14th, putting us older years to shame! The ginger GOAT Beanie Brown had a great run to place 15th, after a very quick start Hannah Blundly finished 16th after being delivered safely in Jethro’s minibus just in time to impress. Alice Bates’ solid start paid off as she completed the top 20 and Martha Collings braved the mud to finish 25th.

 



As we moved down the field, barely any Loughborough were in sight and only one Simmies finished before power couple Katie and Georgie. Katie Goodge (26th) put the relationship on the rocks, sprinting past Georgie Campbell in the finishing straight (28th). The dominant sea of red up the final hill didn’t stop there, Ellen Weir placed a brilliant 31st after returning from injury, Emily Hathaway had a great race to finish 38th. Just behind was Ruby Simpson (39th) following in her sister’s footsteps, then next BUACer home was Freya Bennet who had a great run for 46th!

 

Next was Amy Nicholls whose knee thankfully held up for 47th, a great race from Lucy Stevens in 53rd, followed by Natalie “800m runner” Sewell 55th and Ellie Bushill who finished 59th. This next result makes me a bit emotional… After a rough night in hellish conditions, luckily Suzie Brooke’s dad came to the rescue so she could get some good sleep in the night before the most important race of her life to take 61st. Moving swiftly on, the race only got better by the second as Abby Michalec returned from her travels in time to take 73rd with support of bestie Molly Canham who also had a solid start. Just behind was my mother Charlotte Vaughan who smiled her way to 76th and 1st in the master’s category! Also, delivered by Coach Jethro, Lottie Dewar had a stormer (for a 4/8 runner) to finish 89th. Lily Tse navigated her way round the course to take 96th just in front of Eadie Yelling (97th) who thoroughly enjoyed her trip up North to Leeds!

 

I was thankfully able to put the negativity that some individuals had caused me the night before aside and push through the race with the hope of beating my younger sister. The race went okay as I ran with hope in my heart not seeing too many white + blue vests ahead (other than traitor KHop). All prior hope was squashed when I crossed the line to be greeted by my sister who must’ve been finished a while because she wasn’t breathing that heavily. When I remarked ‘aww I thought I got you’ she replied, ‘why would you think that?’. Moral of the story, you can’t be the funnier, kinder, more attractive sibling and be good at running I suppose, we all have our flaws, she goes to Simmies.

 



Anyway, it might not have been my sister, but not too far behind me was a fresher from a more desirable university, Hebe Hunter in 115th, followed by Isabelle Cunningham showing her bro how it’s done 116th and Olivia Brown 119th. Next, was Erin Treacy who had a strong run to finish 121st, thanks to the support of her number one cheerleader Anna. Villa’s biggest fan Aoife Mooney was next in 123rd, followed by Ana Lovett (128th). It was hard to tell where Ana was coming throughout the race as there was a girl covered in mud who looked suspiciously like her. This girl usually wears the African violet but after a fall the horrible colour was unrecognisable. Luckily, the legs of a Loughborough athlete always let them down no matter the colour of their vest, Ana beat her twin by a country mile.

 

Following one of the Lovett sisters in 129th was Cam Kelly-Gordon, another “800m runner” along with Harriet Alexander not too far behind her big sis in 140th. Just behind was Tabby Todd who had another solid run (141st). Inside of the top 150 was Triathlete and BUACer combined with Abigail Saker in 145th, then Sophie Groom doing Kath proud placing 153rd and Abi White (162nd) finally getting a well-deserved injury free race! Next up was Clara Higgs (167th) who swapped the bike for the cross terrain, with her calves thankfully not crumbling this time. Some great runs from Evie Hawkesford-Johnson 177th, Tash Mundell 187th and Esme Ranger 193rd followed along with Lucy Curd whose running talents were just as good as her teddy catching skills (203rd), and Lulu Weisz (213th) showed grit!

 Navigating their way round the twists and turns of Temple Newsam was one blonde baddie, but I’ll leave Geddes’ result up to Michael. Abby Hughes, however sped her way to 216th, a stellar performance from our resident race walker!

 

Following on was our retired social sec, I’ve never seen someone as excited to run a XC as Tori Godfrey (255th), disclaimer it was just so she could get to the night out quicker! Legend Lauren Burgess swapped babysitting me (and Blackwell) for running, placing 266th and doing 202 Tiv proud… with the help of NO.1 supporter Amy Miller! Another tri friend Caroline Johnson followed in 306th, then true trooper Alice Brown 320th. Izzy Ashcroft managed to leave her partner in crime Ellie for exactly 35.51 minutes to finish 323rd, Mia Wright made her annual xc debut taking 332nd and our social sec Ella Jeffrey 409th. Winners of the most wholesome moment of the day and best finish line photo (thanks to big Matt monster) were Kate Phillips 425th, Imy Sheppard 426th, Poppy Preece 427th and Kati Hulme 428th. Finally, the biggest trooper of the day, triple jumper Daisy Harris-Bosancic (529th) who bossed her way round the course.

 



Men’s Short Course:

A star-studded men’s B race followed. This race captures everything special about BUCS Cross Country as roughly 700 blokes lined up for the absolute mud bath that was to follow. First-time cross-country runners, community members and top-class athletes battle it out over the 8k course and with the previous champ hopped up on Yerba, mate you never know what could happen!

 

The start was nervy, there was a huge weight on the boy’s shoulders after the stellar performances in the women’s short course. Finlay Hutchinson was our only chance at the race to the 1st corner this year. Unfortunately, the 1:49 man found the hill too gruelling and gave up halfway. Fresher Will Strickley led us down the first steep descent with Bridger close behind. Shouts like ‘just relax Bridger’ from George Rowland would’ve been smart in hindsight as poor Tommy would start choking on his own sick later in the race. These actions didn’t discourage our very own Fin Ward from making early moves. Consistently hitting 80miles/week, impersonating Liam Rawlings and winning Midlands on a technicality prepared this man for an early bid for victory. At the start of the 2nd lap, he had a decent lead. Moran, Burkitt and Rawlo were still in contact however along with Loughborough contingency. At this point, it wasn’t clear who was winning but with Max, Ethan, Newc and Jordan moving up well it was certainly going to be close.

 



The start of the 3rd lap saw Fin, Burkitt, Moran and one of the Lboro twins leading. With real Rawlo close behind we seemed destined for a team win. Many individual and team battles occurred on this last lap. Some of these legendary battles are lost to the twists and turns of Temple Newsam; the complexities, passions, and feelings behind them never to be reported. All I can do is tell you where you finished. Forever and always my captain, Elliot Moran was first back for us. After a tough few weeks training in South Africa, followed by a few weeks of sandbagging for BUCS he secured himself a glorious silver medal. The Colton hero, 273 Hubert’s very own cleaner and overall great bloke, Sam Burkitt took the bronze medal; what a day for the Ipswich man!

Fake Rawlo (Finn Ward) fought through the final lap to be 3rd BUAC home in 7th overall on his BUCS Cross debut. Ethan O’Shea came through in the closing stages to secure the team win for BUAC, overtaking a shoeless Liam Rawlings in 11th. The fastest social secretary in the country was next up (13th), adamant that if Rawlo didn’t push him out of the bed the night before he would’ve made up the 2 second gap going up the final hill. Jordan Jones secured himself his highest finish ever in 17th, followed by two Wills, Newcombe and Strickley (first fresher back) in 31st and 32nd respectively. Toxic conditions in the 273 Hubert downstairs tdidn’t stop Sam Hopkins having a storming run for 33rd, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I guess?

 



Oliver Demain might be used to 40° weather and towering skyscrapers, but cross country just clicks with this fella, 39th overall. Tommy Shaw stood on business with his red arm sleeves to grab 46th. Will Simm ended his mewing, guasha streak to do BUCS cross country. Unfortunately, he couldn’t source the New Balance x Stussy drop so had to stick with his normal kit, finishing 48th. Joseph Carnelley would not shut up about Robbie Rigby all weekend, the boys are like two peas in a pod, so much so Robbie felt it necessary to insert his 12mm spikes into poor Carnelley’s foot. He still managed 52nd though, well done JC! Robbie was just 12 seconds behind JC in 63rd. Anooska was not the only one splitting up the couple because Birchfield’s finest duathlete James Vaughan finished in 62nd. Cypriot Petros Kousis was switched on and didn’t miss the finish, securing himself a top 75 finish. Harry ‘Sinc Money’ Sinclair survived without Fliss for more than 5mins (at least 30mins and 20secs) for 79th. Isaac Rothwell has been ripping campus league teams to shreds this year, consistent and trustworthy up front so it was no surprise to see him in the top 100 in 81st. On the other end of the spectrum Louie McCormack might be pretty but he is NOT a certified baller and I worry for the North team’s chances if he’s in the starting line-up, nevertheless he finished in 85th. Josh Geddes finished 89th and was one of the only victims of the hay bales. Probably not the first or last time he’ll fall at the final hurdle.

 



Alfie Pipe has a strange addiction to allotments, it’s a good thing there aren’t any near the Temple Newsam course otherwise he would’ve found himself lost there. The Pipe finished in 92nd just in front of the only man who could’ve navigated him back from such an adventure, Ben Squire. BUACs finest orienteer and another member of Hubert’s most horrible house was 94th overall. They say a top 100 finish is sweet as a nut, how fitting that the nut himself finished in 100th place. 101st, we have Aidan Banfield who’s currently building for another go at the London Marathon; BUCS is purely a side project for this man. Sam Greenstein, Cannon Hill hide and seek champ finished 109th. Andy Jeavons secured another solid run in 111th and a clean sweep against me this cross-country season. Josh Fisher on a high after his top 30 finish at Parliament Hill secured 125th. Ed Brown is flying, must be all the Mexican food, real ale and Yorkshire puds that brought him to 129thoverall. Noah Bennett had a pacing masterclass, coming through late in the race to finish 130th. Everyone’s favourite Medic BludClark finished 139th in his first BUCS cross, can’t wait to see what this man does on the track. 172 Dawlish future resident Stan the Man finished 145th further establishing us as the best running house in Selly Oak.

 

Still our only Scotsman, Tom Ross improved massively on his 295th place finish last year for 172nd. Joe Reindel and Jake Anthony were the next boys home in their first of many BUCS cross-country appearances, 185th and 208th respectively. I finished 224th, a disappointing run but I blame Suzie, Anna and Erin for the increased stress and poor race preparation. I still managed to beat Ted Barnicoat by 8 seconds and 8 places though so it’s not all doom and gloom. Ted has been preparing for the past two weeks ‘to put Mike in a spliff at BUCS’ with multiple Strava posts stating, ‘training is going optimal’. To fall short in the closing stages is nothing short of a let-down for the young punter. Nevertheless, I’m sure Ted will have another go at the final fixture of the Birmingham League in Northampton. George Hannay took 254th place then became the main victim of a spraying of nosecco by me and TT. Sorry George!!

 



Jacob Savill came down to open his XC season and there was no better place to do it, 274th for the Aldershot man. Alex Chershynev was up next, this man has made big moves over the past 12 months. Pompey to a Brummy and 278th in the process. Fin ‘Steve’ Davis got himself through the extreme hills biome for a lovely 286th place. Aaron Roberts, the 40year old fresher would’ve beaten his Norfolk pal Will Simm if he hadn’t had an unfortunate injury the day before at Campus League. Unlike Will Simm at Liverpool, he finished the race in 303rd. OpenTrack specialist Louis Cummings took a break from the Met League to help BUAC out, he’ll be devastated to know FRSystems have done a very good job of the results page I’m currently copying these results off of. The hills and mud must’ve been a shock to our Las Vegas resident. Nevertheless, he continues to be RHJs hero and finished in 356th. Mark Roberts (Steve McMananam) also opened his XC season in fine fashion finishing 359th. Woking man, Zach Watson, not far behind in 374th. Housemates Aidan Lynch and Josh Ballinger had a fierce race with the Foot Drills DJ finishing 6 places in front of the cycling social sec in 434th. Dental loop regular, Oliver Clegg finished his last BUCS XC in style (in a BUAC vest), 453rd for the Yorkshireman. Finn Hutch might’ve given up on the 1st corner, but he didn’t give up on the race, 549th! Some are calling him the new Aidan Banfield, but Aidan doesn’t have the talent or hand-eye coordination to play guitar like this man does. Curtis Day rounded up the men’s B race for us in 585th.



 

Women’s A Race:

Huh! That was crazy, I’ve never actually experienced that kind of atmosphere at a XC before, it was electric!! And it only got better with the start of the women’s A race. Our Fantastic Four made their way to the start line, looking determined and I would say intimidating, but they probably average a height of about 5ft,5 so we’ll just stick with determined. Nevertheless, our girls in red looked strong and ready with the support of the team ready to cheer on the side-lines. The girls got off to a very strong start with one pocket rocket in particular storming to the front, our very own Amelia Quirk.

 



Quirky eased her way up and down the hills, letting nothing phase her. It was a nervy couple of first laps as Cambridge’s Phoebe Barker stuck close by. But in Quirky we trust, she continued to push onto those large laps, dropping the Cambridge athlete and storming to victory by over 30 seconds! Quirky may be coached by a certain Simmies man, but nonetheless we are all very proud of you! This win has been a long time coming and very well deserved from our star girl.

 



Not far behind Amelia was her trusty teammates ready to back up her solid start. Kate Willis and Elsa Palmer got off to a very strong start with Elisha Tait using her half marathon expertise to steadily move up the pack. With the support of boyfriend Paddy, Elisha pushed past the competition to have a stellar run finishing 11th on her long course debut! Not far behind was fellow doctor Elsa who packed closely to her medic colleague just 5seconds behind to take 12th.



They say the NHS is going to pot, but we can all rely on our doctors to get to us quickly as just 2 seconds behind Elsa was our favourite medic Kate Willis in 13th. Fuelled by broccoli, Kate aced her A race debut breezing past the competition. Kate’s insane performance completed our A team who took silver by just a few points in a hard-fought battle. The ladies may not have taken the title on the day, but they left everything out on the course, their grit and determination on such a hard course against tough competition was truly outstanding and you will always be winners in our hearts!

 




Men’s A Race:

Now onto the final race of the day… 6 of the finest looking, strongest, athletic BUAC men take on the best that British Universities have to offer. Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Durham, and Loughborough all have bids for individual and team medals. Gold on everyone's mind. Months and years of hard work materialising into one race in Leeds. Being selected for the prestigious University of Birmingham Athletics and Cross-Country Club’s A team is no easy feat so I believe these boys need an introduction.

 

First up we have Tyler Bilyard, AKA TB, TBizzy or Big T. Living in Caister-on-Sea it’s been rumoured Tyler receives his ungodly power from the wind farm, Scroby Sands, just 1.6miles off the shoreline. On the 1st of July 2012 he began his athletic career for Great Yarmouth competing in the 80m and 600m in a rarely seen double. From that day it was clear he’d be a jack of all trades in the running scene. Since then, he’s boasted times of 50.00 for 400m, 1:47.36 for 800m, 3:42.88 for 1500m, 30:11 for 10k and now a SUB 4 MILE. With all that under his belt a 10k cross country that resembles a Kendal Winter League (IFYKYK) shouldn’t be a problem.

 



Next up we have the baby of the group, Noah Campion. He’s probably Bedfordshire’s finest athlete (hard to say with Ed Blythman’s current form). But just like Ed he supports an awful football team. Watford as I’m writing sit 11th in the Championship LOL. Fresh outta English Schools and fuelled by the poor performances at Vicarage Road he’s hoping to impress on his BUCS debut in Leeds.

 



It wouldn’t be a BUCS A race without this man, Mike Ward. This man has featured in the past 3 Birmingham A teams (never finishing outside the top 10) and previously won the 3000m indoor BUCS title in 2022. A true serviceman to the club and an inspiration to us all. Will Leeds live up to the high expectations set by Edinburgh, Brunel and Swansea?

 



Tomer Tarragano is the spiciest of the 6 and a force to be reckoned with. Tomer, like so many others, believes it’s all about being the fastest. Whether in a race or in conversation, he has to win. This has been shown not only in his running but also in some questionable abbreviations, for example. Campus is now pus, play it by ear formed into pibe, the list goes on. Fresh from securing another GB vest at Parliament Hill, will he get that top 3 finish he’s been craving?

 



Oliver Smart loves jam & butter on toast and Erin Treacy almost as much as he loves running cross country in his BUAC vest. After being injured for an extended period last year he’s been grinding away day by day for a long-awaited return to BUCS cross. And there’s no better place for his return, Temple Newsam is a special place for this man as he beat another member of the A team in 2019 to become the English Schools Cross Country Champion.

 



Finally, it’s the double European Champion, Will (Milkman) Barnicoat. BUCS Cross is a touchy subject for Will, it’s about the only thing he hasn’t won since starting university in 2021. Will won’t be worrying about a thing this year though as he boasts unreal form, Cheltenham Brum League being the highlight of his season so far. He’s the overwhelming favourite so let’s hope his run this year will be less embarrassing than the videos of him on Abbie’s private story.

 



The race started in unexpected fashion as an Exeter athlete gained a substantial,

unchallenged lead for the majority of the first 2 laps. Nevertheless, the support on the course was insane. Yet again we showed our class as a community with the way we screamed, cheered and push on our fellow BUACers. In the 2nd lap, Will and Tomer closed and passed the early leader. Smart was biding his time, respecting the hills, and not letting them get the better of him. Tyler found himself with a solid group of athletes maintaining his effort and position.

 

Unfortunately for Mike, he had suffered an injury and despite his grit and determination had to withdraw (Gunny wrestled him off the course). The course also got the better of our youngest, but this won’t be his first rodeo, many more chances remain for Noah to take African violet souls. As they entered the final lap it was clear lead for Barnicoat with Tomer and Jeremy Dempsey battling for 2nd and 3rd, Smart securing his position in 4th place with a surge of pace. With Tyler in the chasing group, it seemed like another Birmingham win was coming. And it did. After 33 minutes Will crossed the line to take his first individual BUCS title, Tomer crossing the line for his first top 3 finish. And up the final hill Smart caught a fading Jeremy Dempsey for the first 1,2,3 in BUCS history!

 



I awaited at the finish for the arrival of our final team member, pride and BUAC spirit coursing through me and those around me. Tyler crossed the line in 16th place cementing BUAC as the best in BUCS cross history. Well done boys and massive well done and thank you to all the athletes, coaches, staff and supporters for making it one of BUAC’s most memorable BUCS Cross days!

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