Chamonix 2018

Wow! What an incredible week. I don’t think I have ever been so proud of a group of my peers as throughout this truly gruelling week. On Tuesday the 3rd of July, we, a group of 8 experienced and inexperienced trail runners, set out for Les Houches: a town just south of Chamonix in the shadow of the Mont Blanc massif. The challenge ahead of us was huge: nearly half of the team we set out with was injured before the trip had even begun and exams had decimated many-a-runner’s mileage. Expectations for the performance of the team were not exactly sky high. But alas, every member absolutely smashed it.

Alumna Leanne Lyons was so injured before the trip that she was looking to sell her ticket. To say that she turned it around is such an understatement: she had the highest mileage of the group on this trip owing to her being the only one to do the two person mountainous marathon relay ‘Montagn’Hard’ on her own. She came in 13th woman overall in a field of hardened mountain goatesses who have lived and trained in the high mountains much of their lives. Bear in mind, this is after putting in huge efforts in the previous days on runs to Lac Vert, Mont Joly and the Chamonix Vertical KM.

Charlotte Barratt, a trail running novice, was a late entry to the trip having bought a ticket just a few days before the trip began. Expectations were modest. But how wrong those expectations were: about midway through the week she began to be known as ‘Charlotte 2.0’ due to her strong ascending and truly trail-regular-like descending on all the aforementioned runs and the subsequent ascents to Lac Blanc and Tete de la Tronche. As Women’s Captain next year, we hope some of the love for trail that she showed will rub off on some of her female teammates.

Heinrich Hummel, the brains and organisational juggernaut behind the trip, was his usual indomitable self. Not the lightest of fellows, he was one of the first up most mountains and showed us some of the fearless descending that he is now known for on the downhills. He and I were the third team on the podium at the ‘Montagn’Hard’ marathon relay mid-way through the week, even after the gnarly start to the week and having both set sub-hour times on the Vertical KM the previous day. Despite smashing all of the runs that week, he still had the energy to haul me and himself up to the top of Mont Blanc, starting and finishing in Les Houches giving a total ascent and descent of 4000m. For anyone running in London, this vertical gain would be a good effort for a season of running. Heinrich also performed the invaluable duty of car driver alongside Henry Maynard.

Henry Maynard put in a valiant effort throughout the trip as one of the previously injured members. It is good to know that he is human, as he had to take a couple of rest days after pain defying efforts on the Lac Vert and Mont Joly runs. He would return for the Tete de la Tronche run on the Italian side, but not before performing the indispensable role of chief supporter at the Montagn’Hard relay and driving people to and from the runs. I would like to thank Henry for his selfless efforts throughout the week, and especially when his wings were clipped.

Luis MunozHeinen, a convert from triathlon, was a welcome addition to our trail running family. Always on the lookout for a scandal, he was remarkably consistent throughout the week and completed the whole lot without a blip. Usually one of the first to the top, he smashed the Vertical KM in around 63 minutes, a stunning time in the middle of a huge week. Matthew Hoare and Remy Shaieb, trail running regulars this year, were also massively consistent this week. Both joined me on the first leg of 27km/2200mVert at the Montagn’Hard relay, putting their teams well up in the field of mountain goats. Both were also key in the organisation of this trip, a plan hatched in a pub in Snowdon at the start of the year.

Man, that article was flipping long. I just still can’t believe how well the trip went. Everybody outdid themselves on the trail, and back off the mountain the admin was executed so silkily that the trip ran like a dream. What a way to end the year as Trail Captain.

Henry Hart
ICXC Trail Captain 17-18.

ICXCAC take on LUCA Indoors Championships with over 50 athletes

After taking on several Cross-Country races as well as the Brighton 10K, ICXCAC went on to compete at the London Universities and Colleges Athletics (LUCA) Indoors Championships on the 25th of November.

As usual, the runners decided to meet up at Beit before making their way to the event. However, the journey was rather long so after an adventurous trip via the London underground, overground and bus services, ICXAC finally reached North London’s Lee Valley Athletics Centre around noon.

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As they got there, the Imperial crew settled down in a crowd of 276 athletes from 24 clubs, 55 of which were from Imperial! They then had time to get changed, get their bibs and start warming up as the first events were scheduled to begin at 13:00, and there was no way Imperial were missing any events: they had the highest participation with a massive 187 individual events entered!

As the day began, athletes made their way to the Pole Vault, High Jump and 60m hurdles starting line, ready to make the most out of their day. The first events proved to everyone that Imperial wasn’t there to spectate: Noel Rimensberger took 3rd in the Men’s 60m Hurdle in 9.44s and then 3rd again for the Men’s High Jump with an impressive 1m80, followed closely in 4th by Baptiste Thebert.

The Women’s team did an equally inspiring performance as sisters Viktoria and Katherina Kern, and club captain Alex Mundell respectively took 1st, 2nd and 3rd for the Pole Vault competition, undoubtedly leaving the whole stadium stunned.

24059421_1764061010562948_5114749639103280056_oAfter such a bright start to the day, many track competitions followed, with distance varying from 60m to 800m for the heats, as well as some more field events. After their great performance earlier, Noel and Baptiste went on to dominate the long and triple jump, grabbing respectively 2nd and 3rd then 1st and 3rd for these events. Marta Von Ginkel also managed to reach an impressive 9.67m for her triple jump, reaching a well-deserved 3rd place.

After a short break in events, what were surely the most inspiring and intense events were coming up: the track events finals. The evening events started slightly before 6pm with the 1500m final, where Kate Olding smashed it and took gold in just over 5 minutes for the Women’s race, and on the Men’s team fresher James Millet did a great performance coming in 3rd overall with 4:19.36, followed closely by trail Captain Henry Hart and Men’s Captain Lewis Jackson, all placing in the top 10. Further down the line, Alex Mundell reached for another medal as she took 3rd in the Women’s 400m final. Kate Olding then went on to win the Women’s 800m in 2:23 while Jonathan Wong took 2nd – another huge performance and keeping Imperial very high in the rankings.

At last, it was time for the much anticipated 3000m finals, which was probably the most intense of the day: Henry Hart took 9th overall for the men’s finishing in 9:53, followed closely by Fergus Johnson in 12th, Kirill Mikhaylov in 13th and Men’s Captain Lewis Jackson, who arrived first in the second heat. As for the women’s race, club captain Alex Mundell treated us with an inspiring performance, with a huge crowd of ICXCAC runners cheering her along the race as she obtained a much deserved 2nd place in 11:21 minutes.

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The last scoring races of the day were the 4x200m relays, where Imperial also did brilliantly by placing 3rd in both the Women’s and Men’s race. Finally, the traditional mascot race took place and this year, Mihai Vanea wore our beloved mascot’s costume, coming last but definitely being the best-looking mascot of the day.

23915724_1763721367263579_4288453620443910615_nAs the day ended, the last medals were awarded and results were declared; Imperial College came 3rd overall, only one point behind King’s College with UCL in 1st place, and had two athletes tied 2nd as LUCA MVPs with an impressive 8 points each: Kate Olding and Noel Rimensberger, so a huge shout-out to them!

After such a successful day, Imperial’s athletes made their way to the Kosk Turkish restaurant where the mood was very festive: the tasty meal was accompanied by a musical performance worthy of Metric as the staff played Turkish music then sang Happy Birthday to customers.

After the meal, the team decided to call it a day and made their way to the bus station to go home, exhausted by a long but very successful day, full of athletic successes and much banter, what else could they have asked for? Until next time, cheerio!

If you’re interested in joining Cross Country and Athletics, find us on Facebook or email run@ic.ac.uk.

Written by Aymeric Regnier

All Things Brighton Beautiful (all PBs great and small)

Sunday 19th November was the date of Imperial College Cross Country & Athletics Club’s first road race of the year: the Brighton 10k.

With a meeting time of 6am at London Bridge Station, by the early hours 50 students were already rising groggily from their beds, eyes blearily checking their phones for the quickest route Citymapper could find to transport them across Central London at such an unearthly hour on a Sunday morning.

Impressively, despite attendees using a myriad of different routes to get to the station by the Shard, almost everyone made it onto the train in time.

Upon arrival on the south coast, the team invaded the local Wetherspoons; not for any pre-race drinks – our athletes are far too disciplined for that – but to make full use of the toilets in order to avoid the notorious queues that inevitably awaited them for the loos beside the race start.

The air was rather chilly, and many members attempted to keep as many layers on as possible for as long as possible before they headed to the start line in just a vest and criminally short shorts. With 1300 competitors in the race the starting funnel was packed, but chip timing allowed some runners to tactically start nearer the back to give themselves the psychological boost of overtaking people during their race.

The race was set underway promptly at 9:30 and they were off! Crowds of spectators lined the first few hundred metres but the sounds of cheering and support soon gave way to the rumble of racing feet pounding the Brighton roads and rush of heavy breathing. The course was simple – 3km out along the road beside the promenade before returning along the same 3km straight and continuing 2km past the start/finish before a final 180 degree turn (pi radians if you must) and a 2km surge to the finish line. The ideal race conditions that greeted the runners were a far cry from the 2016 edition which saw the race cancelled just hours before the scheduled start time due to the high winds of Storm Angus. Clear blue skies watched over this year’s event for the duration, yet the shining sun offered little warmth. Fortunately, the exothermic nature of respiration in the mitochondria of the athletes’ cells soon warmed them up and spurred them on. Being along the seafront, there was an inevitable breeze on the course. Nevertheless, with Imperial’s athletes tactically forming groups to ease the stretch into the wind this had a negligible impact on their performance.

IXCAC also provided much entertainment for the locals with the commentator at the finish at one point remarking: “Another Imperial runner! And a dab! And ANOTHER dab by yet another runner from that fine London university”.

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First home in a navy and red vest  was Fergus Johnson in a new personal best of 35:30, closely followed by Sarah Johnson in 35:38, who came 2nd lady overall to win a number of prizes. Imperial’s top 5 was rounded out by Men’s Captain Lewis Jackson’s PB of 35:57, Matt Douthwaite in an impressive 36:23, and Jack McKeon breaking 37 minutes for the first time with 36:54. Georgia Curry (38:02), Anna Lawson (40:38), Alex Stuart-Smith (42:10), and Stephanie Hewitt (42:15) filled out the top 5 places for Imperial’s girls.

Post-race, the squad celebrated with the usual cake ritual and headed back to the drinking establishment they had previously utilised for its bathroom facilities. However, to their dismay, the institution had already been invaded by a rival Imperial society: ICSM Light Opera (see last week’s centrefold for a profile of the culprits). After a few frantic calls to numerous pubs in the local area (“yes, we’d like to seat fifTY, not fifTEEN”) the runners found a suitable place back near the start line with picturesque views of the famous Brighton Pier and the gentle breaking waves of the English Channel.

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After ample refuelling and a visit to view the questionable “tic-tac” machine in the gents, the post-race celebrations continued with a trip to the beach accompanied by a few more refreshing beverages to “rehydrate” after the day’s exertion. A few brave members opted for some shallow paddling, and two madmen decided they quite fancied a (very brief) swim in the refreshing (i.e. ice-cold) waters.

Finally, to end the day the weary athletes returned to where their visit to Brighton began and toasted the absence of ISCM Light Opera before the train journey back to the capital.

For more information about the club, email run@ic.ac.uk.

Harder, better, faster, stronger

ICXCAC proudly represented by 64 runners at the 3rd LXCL of the season in Wimbledon Common.

For those of you who are only just tuning in, Imperial College’s Cross-Country and Athletics Club has been absolutely smashing their races this season, with many more events still to come. Last week, they took on the 3rd race of the London Universities and Colleges Cross-Country League, and didn’t fail to impress as over 60 runners attended despite the grim drizzle and muddy course.

Prior to the race, Imperial Women’s A team was in 1st position in the league, with the B team just behind in 5th. The Men’s A team sat in 3rd position right behind UCL and the B team in 7th.

Having left campus at 1pm, the team took the tube to Southfields and from there walked to Wimbledon Common where the race would begin. As the runners got to the start with plenty of time befor

23592055_1600300370031836_3734018738218271323_oe the beginning of the race, they were able to familiarise themselves with the course, put their face paint on and get their quads warmed up.

The laps were longer than usual, stretching over 4.5km long, with some relatively narrow, steep and muddy parts within the hilly Wimbledon Common. However, the ICXC runners seemed globally motivated to take on the tough course.

After the traditional team picture, Imperial’s athletes made their way to the starting line, and began their run shortly after 3:15pm. The competition was rather fierce as over 230 runners showed up hoping to score as many points for their teams as possible, all while enjoying the woodland setting within central London.

As the women finished their race after one lap, the men went on to their second lap in the mud, finishing as the sun was already starting to set, cheered on by the women’s team.

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The day ended with impressive results as Imperial Women’s A team held onto 1st place in the rankings with three of their amazing runners placing in top 15: Katie Olding taking 5th place, Georgia Curry just 3 seconds behind her in 6th and Alex Mundell taking 12th. The Women’s B team also impressed as they ended 6th overall in the Women’s ranking. On the Men’s teams, results were also very good as the A team smashed it with three of their sturdy runners in the top ten: Harry Scriven leading Imperial home in 7th, Chris Thomas in 9th and Oliver Newton in 10th. This meant the A team kept their spot on the podium while increasing their lead on Brunel’s A team who now sit a distant 74 points behind, and with the B and C teams ending in 7th and 10th overall position, it was a very successful day. However, the day was far from over.

After the run, the team met up in warm clothes for some baking tasting and soon made their way to Putney as night was falling to enjoy a comforting meal at popular chain of burger restaurants. Having recovered from their run, they got showered and changed to then have a pleasant evening at the men’s/women’s captains house before heading to Embargo Republica where Imperial’s Cheerleading Team was holding a fundraising event “Save the Cheerleader”, dressed in pink as obviously, “on Wednesdays we wear pink”.

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Overall, ICXCAC managed to impress again after an already very successful start in the Cross-Country season; as they have shown it more than once, Imperial’s runners are extremely determined to make the most of their season with two races left in the LXCL. Stay tuned as they take on LUCA Indoors Athletics competition this Saturday and watch out for a race report of last Saturday’s club trip to the Brighton 10k. Until next time, cheerio!

Written by Aymeric Regnier

The more the merrier: ICXCAC fields another huge turnout at Mitcham Common race

After their impressive performance at Parliament Hill, the Imperial runners fielded over 60 once again for their second race of the season.

As the sun rose on the first morning of November, the Cross-Country runners woke up and – looking at their alarm – saw it was already time to grab their kit for the second London Universities and Colleges (LUCA) race of the season. The race would take place at Mitcham Common in South London, just two weeks after their staggering performance at Parliament Hill where the Women’s A Team took first place and the Men’s A Team took second, only three points behind Brunel.

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Meeting at noon at Beit Quad, the squad took the tube to Wimbledon, and then the tram towards Beddington Lane, where they then walked to the course which had earlier been set-up by some selfless Imperial volunteers.

Having set up camp near the finish line, the Imperial runners went for a vital warm-up to scout out the route, but it was soon time to make their way to the starting line – the race was about to begin. After the squad picture and team-talk huddle, the 63 brave runners tied their shoe laces, put on their navy and scarlet vests, and got in place for the race to begin. Following a relatively flat first mile, the runners soon faced some steep hills and put on a brave face as the climb kicked in. They went on to run at a steady pace until the very end, with the women finishing after two hard laps and cheering the men to the finish line who were completing their third and final lap.

Despite the increasingly chilly and short days, the team was as motivated as ever as they set-off for their gnarly race around the park, with the women and men completing a hilly six and nine km race respectively. Although some members did not make it to the race this time, Imperial still put in a huge effort that did not go unrewarded: the hours of training paid off as Katie Olding took 6th, Women’s Captain Anna – 10th, Sarah Grover – 12th, and Club Captain Alex – 14th which meant Imperial’s Women’s A team doubled their points lead on UCL’s, King’s, and LSE’s A teams, with Imperial’s Women’s B team coming 5th overall out 32 women teams: an absolute banger.
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As for the Imperial lads, they also did a great job with Chris Thomas leading Imperial’s A team home, finishing in seventh place just over the 30-minute mark, Oliver Newton coming in 17th place, Daniel Ayers in 21st, and Joshua Mills in 23rd, meaning the Men’s A team ended up in 3rd place, leapfrogging Brunel and leaving them just ten points behind UCL. The B and C team also did a great job and are currently sitting seventh and tenth in the league.

Naturally, Imperial College Cross-Country races are not complete unless they end with some baking degustation, and once again the members went out of their way to bake many sweet delicacies for the sturdy runners and volunteers. As it started getting darker, the team started packing and made their way to the station in order to get home, shower, and prepare for the much-anticipated Halloween-themed house crawl: a great night out to celebrate some top running and reaching the milestone of 200 club members that same day!

All in all, ICXCAC managed to keep up the pace after a good start in the Cross-Country season, which will hopefully continue with even more impressive results in their next race on the 15th of November at Wimbledon Common; until next time, cheerio!

Written by Aymeric Regnier

Trail Team Summit Mount Snowdon

Cross Country & Athletics’ subsidiary takes a trip to Wales

With first term now in full-swing and some of ICXCAC’s athletes getting bored of endless laps of Hyde Park, trail captain Henry organised a timely trail running tour to the notorious Imperial-owned St. Mary’s Mountain Hut in the deepest, darkest corner of Snowdonia National Park.

Having failed to set off before the Friday rush hour, the eager squad departed around sunset (sadly now about 16:30) on Friday 3rd November and settled down for the long trip to Wales. Within minutes, well-known underage fresher Aymeric was on the floor. He wasn’t laughing (ROFL) but rather in a bizarre contorted sleeping position. The first weeks of term must have really taken their toll.

After half an hour the minibus had made it all the way to Hammersmith where they successfully organised a pick-up of a job-hunting alumnus. The remainder of the journey was largely uneventful, except for a notable pit-stop at a sizeable supermarket with ID-obsessed till operators. As the drowsy runners neared their destination, the dark Welsh roads became narrower and bumpier. This did not deter wannabe rally-driver/medic Henry, however, who breezed through the country lanes very efficiently (and very safely).

Arriving at just after midnight, the revellers disembarked in a nauseous daze and quickly entered their accommodation for the weekend – for it had begun to rain. To describe the hut as bare-bones would be generous, but the runners were simply happy to have arrived before the minibus plunged into a Welsh ditch.

The next day the squad awoke early, with their sights set on ascending the highest peak in England & Wales: the majestic Mount Snowdon. After a short drive to a car park near the visitor centre for “Electric Mountain” (which is in fact dedicated to energy generation rather than some sort of rock band), the adventurers began their climb from a modest altitude of just 110m

Starting out as a group, they soon spread out as the incline became rather severe. On the ascent the group passed many incredulous walkers, and also witnessed a pair unicycling down the track! The runners made good progress – zooming past the tempting cafe without rest – and the leaders reached the summit of 1085m in just over an hour after running the 7.5km without a break.

At such dizzying heights, the front-runners soon grew cold as they waited for the rest of the squad. They found shelter from the relentless bitter wind behind the wall of the large cafeteria and station for the famous Snowdon train. Unfortunately – being off-season – both of these luxuries were closed, leaving the group to face the harsh reality of a long stumble back down.

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Once everyone had arrived, the team huddled in a circle and began chanting to warm themselves up. The most popular songs referenced the arm span of lanky fresher Matt (He’s Got The Whole Club In His Span), and claimed they were in fact from King’s College (Everywhere We Go). After posing for several pics with the stunning views of thick fog and being mistaken for Coventry University Hockey Club the runners began the daunting descent.

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On the way down there were more stops for photos at the route attractions such as “Lion King’s Pride Rock” and “The End of the World”, and this time they did stop in the cafe, enjoying warming hot beverages despite the shocking lack of contactless payment (and card) acceptance.

Once back at base camp the team annoyed a local cafe by consuming mostly home-made sandwiches on their premises before heading back for some well-earned rest. That evening, the squad re-boarded the minibus and took a short trip to civilisation in Caernarfon for a decent firework display and then returned to the hut for a night filled with the game Articulate and some hi-jinx (featuring 6 in a bed).

On Sunday the group split into two, with some hard-core early risers opting to try a run up a much steeper side of the mighty Snowdon in “Everest conditions” of heavy hail and strong winds.

The other half lazed in bed before taking a far easier run along the nonetheless undulating roads before rustling up a cracking breakfast despite the somewhat limited kitchen equipment.

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Before long the team were all showered and it was time to pack up and return to the suffocatingly polluted metropolis of London. That night, all the runners took their time to appreciate the joys of WiFi and mobile signal, but vowed to return to some rural, picturesque trails soon.

For find out more about Cross Country & Athletics, email run@ic.ac.uk

Lily Battershill runs 102km in 24 hours

Hi I’m Lily and I’ve been asked to write a little piece about my 100km run experience, which I completed back in September! I have to say, I’m not a natural ‘runner’ and I definitely joined cross country back in first year more for the socials than for the actual running.. I tend to plod my way happily along, but have never really sussed out the art of actually going quickly.. My first experience with long distance running was when I yoloed and signed up for the ICXCAC’s Surrey Hills trail run, a 30km run where you orienteer your way from start to finish. I remember seriously surprising myself, not realising I was actually capable of, and slowly plodding my way to the finish. So back in July, when I saw advertised on facebook the event ‘Midnight to Midnight’, the goal being try as many 10km loops of the Thames you can (starting on each hour throughout the day), I jumped at the opportunity to really put my endurance to the test. I blindly entered and when the day came I was fully prepared for disaster, having hardly trained in the lead up to it (I mean how do you really train.?)..

The first two loops were ok, I ran 12-1 and 1-2 am. I then took an hour rest and ran the third at 3am. I took a long rest at 4am and tried to sleep (which didn’t really work as I was so anxious about the rest of the day!). My legs were pretty much fresh again by 8am, despite the fact I’d already run 30km on them (so had almost already beaten my longest run to date) and I set off on the 9am loop, with the ambition of running every other hour until 7pm. And I did just that! Each rest then however almost made the situation worse, my legs completely seizing up and pretty much not allowing me to get moving again. The first two km of each 10km loops were probably the worst! With the wonderful Freya Espir and Leanne Lyons coming to visit me for my 7th and 8th loop, I just about hung in there and by time I had reached 80km I really had no excuse not to get to 100! I managed my goal of 9 laps by 7pm and with legs of absolute steel (the pounding from the concrete was the killer) I got myself together and plodded an EXTREMELY slow last loop at 11pm, running through a tunnel of people at midnight and feeling more proud/emotional than ever before! 64 miles/102km I totalled up, 30km over the woman’s record for the event which had been made the year before.

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I think the only thing that got me through was absolute determination to reach that 100km. Weirdly, despite it being the most horrendous day of my life, I am keen to push this endurance thing even harder now and maybe enter some marathon ultras! It is amazing what the human body can do when you put your mind to it! And I am living proof that you don’t need to be the build or have the speed of a typical ‘runner’ to do something like that!

Parliament Hill LUCA XC Race Report

Mud, Sweat & Beers as the Cross-Country Racing Season begins at Parliament Hill.

It was a dreary Wednesday afternoon and a crowd of chilly-looking runners were gathering in Beit Quad, sporting distinctive navy and red vests rather than the gowns and mortarboards donned by a large proportion of the graduating students around campus. That could only mean one thing: it must be the start of another year and another cross-country season filled with mud, sweat, and beers. And cake.

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The first challenge facing the squad of 70 was navigating the London Underground to reach cross-country Mecca: Parliament Hill. After some confusion getting the correct Tube line and Oyster card top-up-related delays, the team made it back above ground at Belsize Park and completed the remainder of the journey on foot. They arrived in good time before the starting gun, leaving the freshers and new members plenty of time to ogle at the size of the challenging hill that faced them from the start line. After some brief warming-up, an obligatory pre-race team photo taken by a rival team captain, and plenty of toilet stops, the squad headed for the start line at the base of the mammoth Mount Parly Hill.

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The race organiser’s instructions were barely audible after chants of “I-C-X-C” broke out amongst the Imperial ranks, and another slightly more explicit ode started up amongst the team of King’s College. Yet without much further ado the race was underway with a short blast on a whistle, and the shouts and songs of the athletes gave way to the rapid thuds of 260 pairs of athletic legs ascending the rather steep slope. Having donned the notorious home-made “King of the Hill” T-shirt, ICXC-fresher Rob took on the tradition of racing to the top of the hill, and impressively made it up in 2nd place! He later went on to remark that the athlete who beat him to the summit managed to maintain the ridiculous pace whilst Rob himself struggled around the remaining 8km at a considerably slower speed than the initial surge.

Once at the peak, the race leaders struggled to follow the questionable signage but after a short diversion around some minor foliage they were back on track, zooming down the grassy tracks, across the barren heathland and through muddy ditches. Corner-cutting was rife, but as any experienced racer knows: if a marshal doesn’t see it; it didn’t happen. The course was a newly refined version of the route from previous years, with the girls completing 2 gruelling laps of the park and the boys undertaking an even more gruelling 3.

22548930_1575088019219738_4859535441024682790_oIn the Men’s race of 146, star performer Chris Olley led the way home in just under 29 minutes, and was reasonably closely followed by Chris Thomas in 5th place, and club favourite Harry Scriven in 9th place. Oliver Newton placed 18th and Daniel Ayers had no problems competing against his alma matter King’s, finishing in 25th and rounding off Imperial’s A team. This placed the team in 2nd place in the league and just 3 points behind Brunel in 1st, but more importantly 14 points ahead of arch-rivals UCL (who currently sit in the bronze medal position). In the Women’s race of 113, Sarah Johnson breezed to 2nd place in 22:24, followed by Kate Olding in 5th, Women’s Captain Anna in 9th and highest-ranking fresher Georgia Curry in 10th. Unsurprisingly, with all 4 team members in the top 10, the Women’s A team now sit top of the league, 11 points ahead of UCL. Imperial’s B team finished 3rd and just one point ahead of King’s in 4th. Perhaps more impressively still, Imperial fielded more runners in both the boys (36) and girls (30) race than any other college!

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After the valiant athletes had roared the rest of the squad to a sprint finish and regained their breath, the cake bingeing soon began. The first baking session of the season was of a very high calibre, with top quality baked goods brought from all corners of the club from freshers to finalists. For the post race socials the squad’s thoughts initially remained with food; heading to the local GBK to the joy of the manager (who made the team pose through an Instagram frame without offering sponsorship). After filling their stomachs to satisfaction, thoughts quickly turned to sourcing refreshing beverages, with the team meeting at Acton’s finest bowling alley for a couple of games of skittles and more than a couple of the aforementioned beers to celebrate a thoroughly successful start to the cross-country season.

The next race in the LUCA XC League is on 1st November, meeting in Beit Quad at 1pm. For more information about the club please email run@ic.ac.uk or sign up to our mailing listhere.

Trail Taster Session in the Chiltern Hills

trail_1 On a meteorologically friendly Autumn morning 30 keen ICXC runners boarded the Oxford Tube for the trip out to Lewknor, whence would begin our runs for the day. Distances of 5k, 10k and 20k were available, allowing for many levels of experience and availability.

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The 20k route included Bald Hill, Shirburn Hill, Pyrton Hill, Watlington Hill, various woods and the famous white mark of Watlington. There was also a spectacular view of the Stokenchurch gap as we crossed the bridge over the M40. Runners did really well to push themselves throughout the course of the 560m ascent route, despite a fall from XC’s very own Hoare of the week.

The 10k route included a proper introduction to trail by going down some definitely-not-paths, over fences and eventually back to the pub. Mr. Hunter, as well as trying to improve his climbing, was also attempting to improve his dab, which experts say needs some work.

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At the end of the expeditions, we convened at the Leathern Bottle pub for some pints, food and of course ever present banter.

Font Romeu 2017 – ICXCAC Summer Tour to the Pyrenees

On Wednesday 23rd August Imperial College’s Cross Country and Athletics team began to make their journey to their international summer tour. Their destination was Font-Romeu – 1800m above sea-level in the Pyrenees and a 2 ½ hour 1€ bus journey from the airport in Perpignan. Upon arrival it was discovered that they were to be sharing an apartment complex with athletes of a similar caliber to their own – the Korean triathlon team. The stunning views and impressive peaks visible from the balconies whet their appetite for a week of gruelling hills, tricky trails, challenging climbs.
The training began with a steady group run to explore the local area, taking in sights such as the “museum without walls”, athletics track, and summer downhill land-ski slope.
The next day they set their sights on a destination with a purpose – a local lake for an alpine swim. They took a steady walk there, swam across a portion of the lake much to the surprise of the locals and then split into groups for the journey back. One group opted to walk back, one to run back and another to run back with a large detour (featuring an ice cream and drink stop!).
Having travelled to the south of France to make it an international tour, members weren’t content with visiting merely 2 countries on the trip, and so the following day they set off for the town of Llivia in the nearby Spanish enclave – with one group running the 10km there and another (larger) group opting to run back. It was a long, tough journey, descending to around 1200m above sea level. Once across the border one particularly athletic member climbed a flag pole to signal our arrival, and then the groups met up in one of the Spanish bars for some well-deserved beverages and lunch. Tapas and sangria (I barely even know her!) were still flowing when most of the group decided to start the equally long and much more elevated return, leaving behind a sensible handful of members to digest their food before making the trip back.
After a much-needed rest day (on which serveral members opted for a recovery-turned-tempo run) a surprisingly high number of members were keen to set their alarms for a super-early sunrise-searching run which they were able to view from a vantage point by the ruins of a nearby castle.
With only a couple of days in the mountains remaining, the team headed for the local athletics track for a session led by next year’s club captain – Alex Mundell. After a lengthy period of drills featuring moves that would look more at home in a discotheque than on an athletics tracks, the group was split into three balanced teams for a continuous 200m relay. This appealed to everyone’s competitive nature and was a thoroughly challenging and enjoyable session, as well as quite a spectacle for the spectating Korean triathletes.
The final full day saw a visit to Europe’s largest solar furnace and a group run to a small pond, featuring some questionable race-walking and some attempts at ranking highly on some of the nearby Strava segments. The team also stopped halfway by the lake’s drinking fountain to catch their breath and play a game of “ninja”.
Of course, the tour didn’t consist solely of running! During the week, the four rooms took turns to host a “come dine with me” style evening of food, drink and entertainment. The week began with the girls room opting for a wedding theme and serving garlic bread as a starter, a concoction of three types of pasta for the main, and a delicious apple crumble served with ice cream to finish. Their entertainment – a spin on the game Mr & Mrs – revealed a lot about some of the club members!
The second night of antics was entitled “big, girthy Greek dinner” and was served by Greek gods (and a bearded Aphrodite) in the little-known Greek enclave of Mount Olympus. Stuffed peppers preceded a mouth-watering moussaka and Greek doughnuts. The entertainment was a round of the “name game” which caused great amusement with highlights including boneless pizza, Thomas the T. Dank Engine, and Tony ‘War Criminal’ Blair.
The penultimate room-hosted night was provided by the “sesh gremlins” who created a Wetherspoons atmosphere with a homemade curry following nachos and rounded off by a fantastic sticky toffee pudding. Naturally, the night continued with a pub quiz, featuring embarrassing past Facebook statuses from tour members and a size comparison between Big Ben, a Mini Cooper, a King-sized bed, the Taj Mahal, and the penis of a blue whale.
Lastly, tour members were treated to some of the local cuisine in a French-themed evening. With everyone adopting French names for the dinner and an interesting photo-booth installation (consisting of a mirror and attached beret and moustache), the food began with a selection of canapés. The main course was a potato-based pie (the name of which eludes me…) and the dessert a delicious chocolate mousse with strawberries and cream. The game of the evening was the “saucepan game” (although no saucepans were involved) with the hosts winning easily, and the second place team of girls disqualified after being caught violating a number of rules. To celebrate the end of the successful hosting and the high quality of food, the team headed for a late night rave by one of the larger statues in the outdoor statue walk.
Besides all this, the week saw countless games of Perudu, questionable uses for bags of flour and large portions of banter – sometimes reaching dangerously high levels!
The club would like to thank outgoing club captain Will Jones for fantastic work in organising the trip and wish all members of the club graduating/leaving all the best for the future. Fingers crossed for another successful year under the helm of Alex Mundell!21432690_1738157676486615_4919682768490694694_n