On Sunday 11th January seventeen of the EUAC cross-country team braved the mud and rain of North Devon as they competed in the 4th Westward League race at Westward Ho! Honoured as the only town in the UK with an exclamation mark in its name, Westward Ho! lived up to its unusual roots, offering a venue like no other. An ambulance zipped off into the distance following one race, while a land rover was towed out of a deep ditch. With no building in which to take shelter athletes from every club huddled around their cars to keep warm.
Set only a few feet back from the exposed Devon coastline, strong winds battered the bare mudflat, and thunder cracked over the desolate course. Pitted with ditch after knee deep ditch the course proved to be the ultimate test of endurance as athletes waded and leaped across the mud and water.
Undeterred by the vigorous winds, bitter cold and endless mud, the Woman's team of twelve remained strong; led across the finish line by Suzie Reid, finishing in a strong 6th and Lydia Trow in 9th. They were backed up by Nikita Steiner, Charlotte Tromans, Eleanor Johnson, Hannah Kilby, Carys Randeria, Sophie Telfer, Kavita Solder, Penny Oliver, Daniela Nolan and Harriet Dunn. Their fighting team performance allowed them to move up from 3rd place in the overall team rankings to a fantastic second place.
Unfortunately for the boys, the team was heavily depleted by injuries, illness and the hangovers of post-exam Lemmy. Regardless, the squad of five managed to maintain EUAC's top three position in the team rankings. Phil and Joachim led strode across the line in 3rd and 16th position, while Ben Hartford and Dan Myers demonstrated EUACs athletic prowess by clearing the trench like ditches with power and style. Triathalon Club Captain Olvier Teegan also made his debut for the XC team and was no doubt able to put his swimming skills to the test on what has certainly been the wettest and most gruelling Cross-country courses in the season to date.
The performance of the cross-country team this weekend has been outstanding, putting them in great stead to face the remaining two races that the Westward League offers, and showing great potential for BUCS XC next month.