12 CUOC members flew out to the Czech Republic for five days to some of the best terrain in the world for the annual competition against Oxford. After three days of training, race day arrived.
On Saturday 3rd CUOC appeared in their Varsity kit specially designed to confuse the opponents into thinking they were controls (unsurprisingly, it didn't work). CUOC were expecting to win the women's match but they knew the men's was going to be very tough.
In the women's, Mairead Rocke, Vicky Stevens, and Andy Strakova were the top three counters, and beat Oxford by an astonishing 50 minutes on accumulated time. In addition Mairead won the course by over three minutes in a time of 55:46, and came close to the times which members of the Czech national team would do on that course! Excellent work going on here, and we can do it again next year. Steph Bryant, and Emily Lester completed the team, and Harriet Burdett who wasn't in the first team actually beat these two!
In the men's, despite hurting his ankle part way round the course, Matthew Halliday finished in 66 minutes, just over three minutes being Peter Hodkinson of Oxford who won the course (not counting guest runners). Oxford's next two finishers came in close behind in around 67 minutes each, and Matthew Vokes came in for Cambridge in 71 minutes. With the top four runners for each university to count, Cambridge's final two counters were David Maliphant and Ben Windsor who finished in 95 and 96 minutes. This left Oxford with one runner to finish, and this runner needed to take over 131 minutes for Cambridge to take the win. As Oxford waited for his arrival and Cambridge hoped he wouldn't come, Vaclav ran in in 109 minutes to complete Oxford's counting team and beat CUOC by 23 minutes. Adam Bennett and Mark Salmon completed the CUOC men's team. We're working on it for next year when OUOC will have four national-level men. Look out!
Photos courtesy of Ian Buxton. Left: the CUOC team, Vicky Stevens punches the final control, David Maliphant Runs in to finish. Right: Vaclav finishes to give Oxford the win, the winning CUOC women's team (Andy, Vicky, Mairead). Click to enlarge.