Fresher’s Fun Run. The chance to pan round a fast, flat course, blissfully unaware the cross-country season is fast approaching. The men pretend they’ve run a really fast 5k time (it’s actually 4.85k, but never mind) and the women can test their beginning-of-season speed over 2.7k, both courses taking in the delights of the West Cambridge site. Sizeable turnouts in both races saw 145 faces compete: some old hands, and some experiencing their first ever competitive running event. Fresher’s Fun Run being the most forgiving race of the term, it creates a great opportunity for CUH&H first-timers to become bedded into the club.
The women’s race was missing several of the club’s strongest runners at the front end, but this posedâ€”as the name suggestsâ€”the opportunity for incoming Freshers to show what they’re made of. Third year Trinitarian Sarah Lovewell was first home in a time of 8:53, ten seconds ahead of Pembroke first year Elizabeth Apsley who showed real promised for the season to come. Last year’s college league champion, Liz Mooney, came in third, clocking a time of 9:09.
The men’s race was perhaps billed to be a tastier affair with some of the club’s big-name runners competing against several Freshers who have showed plenty of promise in the first few weeks of term. In one of the quickest races in recent memory, club captain Josh Carr (Sidney Sussex) took the honours of first place (14:24), ahead of St. Catherine’s third year Phil Crout (14:34). As with the women’s race, yet another Fresher managed to muscle their way into the top three as Oliver Fox from Robinsonâ€”having attracted a lot of attention for the form he displayed on training campâ€”finished in 14:42.
The race was also the first of the four CUH&H college league races that take place throughout the year. But there were few shocks here, as last year’s title holders came out on top in both the men’s and women’s competitions. Homerton fought off close competition from Trinity (134) to score 139 points, while Robinsonâ€”bolstered by a good Fresher intake and a strong run from Ollie Garnerâ€”were almost 100 points clear of their nearest competition, Jesus (217), racking up a collective effort of 309 points.
Next up is the Fen Ditton Dash, where the prospect of finally racing on muddy ground looms ever closer.