The day of cuppers dawned cool and grey, but the competition was anything but as collegiate superiority was established in the Hare and Hounds and competitors vied for selection for the upcoming Blues and IInds-IVths Varsity Matches. Strengthened by an excellent term of training, the competitors collectively produced a sterling performance that ranks as one of the best in recent years.
The women were the first to attack the course, circulating 2 laps for the 3.9-mile race distance.
Fresher Anna Anderson (Girton) backed up excellent performances from earlier in the term to lead the field home in 23:50. Last year’s champion Polly Keen (New Hall, 24:12) had to settle for second this time around, while Laura Spence (Wolfson, 24:31) produced another solid performance to claim third.
Anderson’s efforts led the Girton squad to team victory, their 76 points providing a comfortable margin over second-placed Selwyn (43). Emmanuel (42) rounded out the top three.
The 6.3-mile men’s race featured the fastest time recorded for the current course as well as the strongest top 10 for a couple of years.
A very aggressive start from Owain Bristow (Queens’) rapidly separated the field. James Kelly (Jesus) tracked the ferocious early leader and ultimately struggled clear on the final incline to win in a course-record 32:29. Bristow’s run of 33:36 placed him in the top five times ever recorded. Third place was won by an exciting breakthrough performance from fresher Matt Clark (Homerton, 33:35).
Jesus claimed the team title for the third consecutive year amassing a total of 251 points, with a resurgent Trinity Hall (171) claiming second place. The two-man Queens’ team secured third with 127 points.
Attention now turns to the Varsity Matches, with the IInds-IVths Match taking place next Saturday, 24 November. The men’s IVths and women’s IIIrds are run in the mob match format, meaning that all students of the university are eligible for selection. Moreover, with as many as 20 scorers required, victory over Oxford will require a strong and deep Cambridge contingent.