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Guernsey Boxing Day XC race

Cross country students achieve 'A star' in Guernsey race

Alex Rowe leads 150 home in Guernsey Boxing Day cross country

With vast swathes of the South of England in the newly introduced English COVID-19 alert level 'Tier 4: Stay at Home' from Sunday 20 December and more areas added from Boxing Day, the traditional festive fixture list has taken a bit of a battering this year. 

Storm Bella, with peak gusts recorded at 106mph off The Needles, Isle of Wight and heavy rainfall across the south had caused flooding and further misery on Boxing Day (26 December) and would no doubt have forced cancellations had events been able to be held anyway.

The only festive race that went ahead at the weekend was L'Ancresse Boxing Day cross country on Guernsey with an entirely domestic field, plus returning students, due to the strict travel restrictions in force to control COVID-19 in the Channel Islands. 

Guernsey had just nine cases of Coronavirus in December and only 32 recorded since 1 May 2020. Conditions for sport are near normal and there were 148 finishers in the senior 4.75-mile race, won by Bath University student Alex Rowe in 26:43 – pictured leading above – who is coached by his father, Alan Rowe, the 1988 Sussex cross country champion and world age-group champion in duathlon, triathlon, and Ironman events.

Rowe successfully defended his Boxing Day title ahead of fellow Bath University student Dan Galphin (27:04) and Island Games triathlon champion Josh Lewis (Guernsey, 27:43). The top three women were Megan Chapple (31:11), Nicole Petit (31:35) and Rosie Williams (32:48) of the organising Guernsey Athletics Club. 

The leading juniors in the main race were triathlete Thierry Le Cheminant (7th, 28:29) and 16-year-old prospect Summer Woodhead (32:54) who was fourth in the women's race. 

There was also a 2.8-mile cross country race for under-15s won by the talented Talia Godet (17:50). Pierce le Poidevin (19:39) was the first under-15 boy in second place overall.    

Fortunately, Storm Bella only mustered a stiff breeze to slow competitors mid-race and the threatened heavy rain held off. There is a YouTube video of the race available to enjoy here  

The next event for Guernsey's athletes is the annual New Year's Day cross country at 11:00am.

Results available at runABC South race listing for December here

Image: Phil Nicolle for Guernsey Athletics Club website

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