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OpenTrack's review of the Surrey League

All Goes Off Like Clockwork for Magnificent Flourish to Season

The 60th version of the Surrey Cross-country gave us all the thrills we wished for as questions were answered as neatly as Sally Wainwright’s recent wrap of Happy Valley.

The day’s events went off without a hitch and results were being poured over shortly after the races’ thrilling conclusions. In summary:

Senior Women:

Herne Hill had yet to win a race this term, but came into the final fixture nursing a slender 13 point lead over Kent. With nerves of steel their runners found their way to 67 points – good but not world beating – clubs have gone sub 40 in the past, Kent needed to find 54. But 68 was their final tally and Herne Hill had their first title for 28 years and just their 2nd ever.

Geoff Jerwood, their inspirational coach and manager accepted the trophy from a gracious Charlie Dickinson. Both are legendary figures in Surrey athletics and to mirror the words of Steve Jobs when asked what exactly it was that he did at Apple, he replied: “I conduct the orchestra.”

Geoff and Charlie are the best conductors in the business, which is filled with selfless volunteers like them. Hats off as well for Kent’s superb squad and an image of both them and Herne Hill’s squad is now on the league’s Facebook cover image.

Belgrave showed their depth to take the keenly contested B competition and it remains our firm contention at OT that the women could go up to 6 to score – one day they will, it’s only a matter of time. 5 to score is too light a number, and too out of whack with the men. To the surprise of many, but to show how competitive the league now is, recognized big guns Fulham and Dulwich [’96 champions] were relegated, along with London City R.

The leap up to Div 1 has been savoured by Ful On Tri, Reigate and Windmilers who comfortably separated themselves from the rest of a division that is now up to a remarkable 29 clubs. Three more overall than the men [44-41]

In the individual stakes, Georgie Grgec became the 6th athlete in history to win 3 races in a row in a season.


Hercules had a 24 point deficit to make up over a remarkable assault from Guildford but it was felt by the sages that they would respond with some ferocity, and goodness did they ever. With 20% of the squads home Guildford had grown their lead to 32 points, and at the half-way stage they still had a 12 point advantage. But credit to Hercules’ next five as they took a brutal 127 points out of their rivals. Superb strength in depth seeing them home. Belgrave were 3rd only 143 points adrift for the season which is pretty slender, and they can dream of a 10th title one day. In the individual, Jack Millar was immaculate for his 2nd win in a row.

There is only one club to go down in Div 1 this season, due to its expansion to 10 teams, so SLH have been granted a stay of execution and it’s just Croydon for the drop.

For the rest, it’s:

Mens D1 - 1 team relegated, Men D2 - 2 team promoted, 1 relegated, D3 - 3 teams promoted, 1 relegated, D4 - 4 teams promoted. LADIES - proposals under discussion for 4 equal sized divisions to be voted on at AGM.

How does this work in practice?!

In Division 2, Epsom hit Ranelagh hard but it was insufficient, and RAN will join Clapham who were in splendid form and swamped the top 10 in the final race. Walton drop down, whilst Windmilers survive.

The biggest changes happen in Div 3 where the three to rise are Holland Sports who had a superb season and Woking also got comfortably promoted along with K&P, whilst Sutton R drop to Div 4; and it’s 26.2 who won the Brucie bonus ball to survive.

In Div 3, Sutton are replaced by no fewer than FOUR clubs! The excellent Tadworth, led as ever by the phenomenon that is David Williamson who now has 82 consecutive scoring runs, and Elmbridge rebounded from a horror start to take the runner’s up spot. The two more teams on the make are Ful-on-Tri and Tri Surrey.

Elsewhere the League record of scoring runs was extended to 92 by Stuart Major, dating back to October 1988.

Fine Junior running

The youths continue to love running in the league, and special mention should go to Sutton and District for their outstanding win in the U15/17 boy’s tournament – obviously some very fine management going on there – just pipping Herne Hill off top spot, who took the U13B.

SLH’s U13Gs were terrific to win their competition [to show their errant senior men how to do it], whilst the U15Gs saw Herne Hill a class apart – what an exciting future in store for them; whilst Epsom & Ewell’s U17 ladies were terrific to win their title.

In conclusion

Our thanks to all and sundry who make the league such a splendid and competitive occasion. Hosting does not get any easier and the recent furore with Richmond Park shows how precious our venues have become.

Do let us know if you can see anything awry with our results service and we hope you enjoy studying the story of the season’s 40 races at your leisure, and our History page has been updated with all this season’s statistics and results.

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