Cambridge men’s team: 7th
Cambridge women’s team: 4th
The Hare and Hounds made a striking appearance last week at the Hyde Park Relays, where one men’s and one women’s team were put to the test against – to name just a few – Oxford, Imperial, Bristol and Manchester’s best. With four ladies to each run three kilometres, and six men to run five, the Cambridge runners were treated to a refreshingly flat, solid and dry course, with only hurricane-force winds to deter them.
The relays began with the men’s race with Su-Min Lee on the first leg who handed over to fresher Oliver Garner just inside the top 20 out of 89 teams. Garner braved the winds to take a few places and return in a time of 16:44 which was the 45th fastest leg of the day out of over five hundred runners. Will Kirk was up next and his strong cross country performances over the winter meant that the winds would not have too much of an effect on his time as he finished in a time of 16:26 – Cambridge were moving surely up the rankings. George Ramsay and Dom Bealby-Wright finished in times of 18:06 and 18:14 and within the top 120 fastest legs that day. As was expected from the start, Will Ryle-Hodges’ leg was the fifth fastest of the day with a time of 15:30 that saw Cambridge reel in places to finish seventh overall. The fact that most of the Light Blues were absent due to Nationals being the weekend after gave an opportunity to the above to see how they could compete with some of the best running universities in London and even beyond and no one can doubt their effort alongside a good result given the circumstances.
Starting five minutes after the men, the women’s team was set off by Chloe Beckett, who ran a solid first leg to bring the team into the top ten of a 33-team-strong field. Taking the (hypothetical) baton from Beckett was Nadia Ogilvie, who ran an outstanding leg and gained several places. Completing the lap in 11:35, Ogilvie demonstrated her excellent form and impressive speed – claiming the 14th fastest leg of the day, in a field of 130 runners. Third to run was Jane Thomas, who ran another exceptional leg to claim an extra place for the Cambridge ladies. With Thomas finishing her leg in an excellent position, the final three kilometres were left to the Hyde Park veteran Polly Keen. Keen ran admirably, and demonstrated her continuing incredible speed by finishing with the 10th fastest leg in a time of 11:21. Whilst she continued to make up places for the Cambridge team, Keen just missed out on a medal position by completing the relay in 4th place overall. This was an excellent result for the Cambridge ladies, and revenge is already being anticipated for Oxford’s ultimate victory at Hyde Park. There will certainly be a danger that Oxford will be beaten on their own home turf at the coming Teddy Hall Relays.