The BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships is the biggest event on the Hare and Hounds’ track calendar besides the Varsity match, and this year saw one of the club’s most impressive showings ever against the nation’s best student athletes. According to our resident statistician, Cambridge runners were second only to Birmingham University when it came to the distance events (800m – 10,000m) and comfortably ahead of traditional powerhouses such as Loughborough and St. Mary’s. This, added to continued competitiveness at a national level on the mud, goes to further demonstrate the incredible strength of Cambridge distance running at the moment.
The ladies really stole the show. There were dominant gun-to-tape victories from Hanna Tarver (see left) in the 800m and Rebecca Moore in the 10,000m. Tarver ran a PB of 2:04.28 in her final, over a second and a half ahead of second place. Moore’s 34:34.77 clocking, meanwhile, brought her home a staggering minute in front of the next best athlete.
There were more top-10 performances to come. Katherine Turner finished a very impressive 5th in the 1500m, just outside her PB in 4:34.27 after three gruelling days of racing. Alongside Rebecca in the 10,000m, Holly Page converted stunning recent form in the mountains into a 6th place finish and a time of 37:32 in her first ever attempt at the distance on the track.
In a very competitive 5000m final, Alison Greggor clocked 17:39 for 12th, while fresher Liz Mooney – another lady new to the track – ran a massive 5k PB in her heat, finishing only just outside 18 minutes (18:01). Chloe Beckett was not far off her best with a 5:07 in the 1500m heats, with Jane Thomas also near a PB with 41:46 earning her 17th place in the 10,000m.
Results on the men’s side were not exactly bad, either, with Matt Leach’s Bronze medal in the 5000m the highlight. His 14:40 PB in a tactical race suggests that he’ll soon be going even faster.
There was impressive depth behind him in the longer distances. Joe Christopher ran well in the same race, finishing 7th with a very solid 14:55 after an interrupted early season, while James Hoad ran a huge PB in the 10,000m off the back of his storming London Marathon, with 31:45 bringing him home in 6th. James Chettle was disappointed to finish 13th in 33:28 and would have likely snuck into the top 10 on a better day.
In the middle distances, Lloyd Hilton continued his great run of form to finish an impressive 7th in the 800m final, with a 1:53.75 that would have been a PB had he not run 1:52 in the semis the day before. Lewis Lloyd won his heat, but struggled in a fast semi-final in the same event. Cambridge MD stalwart Jon Cook looked comfortable throughout the rounds of the 1500m and was a big favourite to win a medal, but unfortunately had to drop out with only 300m to go in the final after his spike was kicked off. Fresher Phil Crout was unlucky to be run out of it in the semis of the same event with a 4:01 that he’ll easily improve upon as the season progresses.
There was yet another top-10 to come, though, and in the 3000m Steeplechase this time. Pete Townsend sliced a big chunk off his PB for 9th in 9:35, with an exciting sprint finish seeing him just edge his main Oxford rival by one hundredth of a second. Josh Carr’s cause wasn’t helped by clattering a barrier, his 13th place finish in 9:55 not a true reflection of his abilities, but a 9:48 in the heats showed promise.
All in all, a great weekend of competition that saw Cambridge athletes competitive with – and often beating – the nation’s best, setting us up very nicely for Varsity in only two weeks time.