Ampthill Trophy XC medal

History preserved in Ampthill Trophy

Cross country season opener this Sunday

With road racing reaching its autumnal peak, many runners' thoughts are turning to more grassroots events, as the cross country season is about to put its spikes on again. This weekend sees many regional cross country leagues firing up and the Ampthill Trophy Cross Country is on Sunday (16th October).    

The former Beefeater Trophy Cross Country has been revived thanks to local club Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers RC who rescued the event after it had lain dormant between 1999 and 2002. The original Beefeater Trophy itself was kindly donated to the organisers so the history of the event could be preserved.

And what a history this event has! The first men's champion in 1974 was Welsh international Tony Simmons, who went on to hold the trophy five times. Simmons set a world half marathon record (1:02:47) in 1978. Among the winners of the women's race was former world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, who took junior wins in 1988/1989 and senior titles in 1992/1993. 

However, the most decorated athlete to have graced the Ampthill Park slopes is Sir Mo Farah, who won the under-15 boys race in 1997 as a virtual unknown. With four Olympic gold medals and six World Championship titles, there is no finer example of the benefits of cross country running than Sir Mo Farah's subsequent successes on the track.

Unusually, as a response to many requests, Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers Running Club show course records for their cross country season opener. All age groups are represented and there are results from 1974 to the present day courtesy of a collaboration between the original hosts Bedford & County AC and Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers Running Club.       

Last year's senior champions over a tough 10K course were Dylan Tomaselli (Huntingdonshire AC, 38:35) and Jo Hudson (unattached, 47:48). The junior race winners were all representing Huntingdonshire AC. The U11/U13 champions were Thomas Richards (7:18) and Cara Still (8:46) and the U15/U17 race was won by Dominic Pauley (14:34) and Lola Fletcher (17:20).

The course remains true to the original as far as possible but now has to avoid the much-loved feature of 'Heartbreak Hill' due to serious soil erosion.

Previous results and race details at runABC South race listing here  

Image courtesy Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers on Facebook

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