This year the selection race was moved from Met League to the second most important race of the year, Cuppers. Cuppers is the inter-college race and sees Cambridge runners face off to score for their college and to secure themselves places in the selected teams for the upcoming varsity races against Oxford. Moving to Gog-Magog downs the course was a hilly (by Cambridge standards) 6.4km race for women and 10km for men. After strong encouragement from Iain throughout the past few weeks (did you know Iain can be insistent?) the turnout for cuppers this year was the biggest since 2012, and it has been said that Iain has had more effect on the sport than the Olympics.
The first race of the day was the women’s. After agreeing with each other that they ‘were just doing a tempo’ Phoebe Barker and Niamh BH took on the race from the start and ran away from the other runners from the start. Further highlights were Helene returning to the Blues (for the Light Side now), Ella smashing it in her first XC race as a Harey, Em securing herself a solid iis spot, Flo making the most ridiculous comeback after a year of injury and proving that J-green laps once a week is all you need. Lucy’s big finish, fresher Iona proving herself, Libby pushing herself very hard, strong runs from Feli and Pippa, and some excellent first XC performances from a whole host of finishers such as Ellie Krige, Megan and Matilda.
Next up was the mens race, with again a crowded start line with familiar faces and newcomers alike. Joe Smith stuck to the race plan, hammering the start and gaining himself a sizeable lead, however to foreshadow varsity this was a gap that Chillip Prout (who?) could close, finishing first in 30:59. Norm finished 2nd and Joe had the “best race of his life” to come in 3rd, with Joe finishing in 4th in 31:31. The race of the day however was Jamie Edgerton, closing in on the blues group finishing in 32:06, another prophecy of what was to come.
A whole host of good performances and some incredibly fast times that demonstrated the strength of the team, cuppers was a perfect confidence boost going into varisty.