Saturday 18th October marked the second race of the season for the Cambridge University Hare and Hounds. Following on from the forgiving roads of the Freshers’ Fun Run, the Fen Ditton Dash is not only a longer course (8km for men and 5.7km for women) but also the first off-road race of the season, and hence the much welcome return of the mud.
As a form of tradition the men’s course also involves the ‘King of the Bridge’ competition, an accolade which goes to the first runner up the Fen Ditton bridge which stands 800m from the start line. Ed ‘All Chat’ Gazeley was a natural contender for this award and thus set off all guns blazing only to be pipped by Fresher Kai Hutenberg. Both suffered for the remainder of the race as a result, but I’m sure they’ll agree it was worth it for the cause.
In the main race, Luuk Metselaar was the first home in a time of 28:55. New to the club this year, Metselaar has shown excellent pre-season promise bar a mysteriously swollen ankle. Although not affiliated to a college, he is hoping for Varsity eligibility where he is bound to play an influential role. Richard Ollington of Pembroke and Des Moore of Girton completed the top three with times of 29:42 and 29:49 respectively.
In the women’s race, Liz Mooney completed an impressive double by backing up her victory at the Fresher’s Fun Run. The Newnhamite was a runaway victor, her time of 22:09 over two minutes quicker than the rest of the field. Kate Curran of Corpus was the second home in 24:13, followed by Charlotte McGarry of Clare.
The race is part of the College League, meaning runners were also competing for college pride. Trinity were convincing victors in the men’s race, avenging for their second place finish in the Freshers’ Fun Run, with Sidney and Robinson in second and third respectively. Corpus took victory in the women’s, narrowly squeezing past Trinity and Homerton in second and third.
The club’s focus now turns away from the College League as they host the RAF and Eastern Counties teams at Gog Magog before heading to Stevenage to compete in the Met League, an important few week in the run up to the Varsity matches at the end of term.