Over the past month, Imperial Cross Country and Athletics Club have been fighting exam doom and gloom with record-breaking achievements. It all began at BUCS Outdoors in Bedford with one of their largest ever teams ready to challenge some of the best athletes in the country. Over the three-day event, Imperial athletes raised their game to compete with the other quality athletes on display, with many finals being worthy of a national championship final. The highlight was fresher Daniel Rowden’s 800m final where he stormed to a BUCS gold medal in his first year at the championship – an incredible achievement. He has since run the fifth fastest time in the UK this year at the Loughborough International Fixture.
As usual, Chris Olley was in excellent form and stormed to a fifth place in a stacked 5,000m field in a time of 14:06. Niki Faulkner and Max Thorp stormed to lifetime best times in the 1500m and 400m respectively, while Kate Olding and Alex Mundell made it to the semi-finals of the women’s 800m. Perhaps the most impressive result was that the team placed twelfth out of all universities, despite Imperial’s reputation for academia over sporting prowess!
Further success for the squad came at the recent meet in the London Universities track and field series final in Battersea. King’s College had been dominant in the first two matches but Imperial had been gaining momentum. With a 46-strong team, ICXCAC managed to fill almost every event and were ready to cause a stir. The first track event of the day was the 800m and with 1st and 2nd places in both the men’s and women’s categories, it was clear from the off that they meant business.
Imperial were neck-and-neck with King’s throughout the day with tensions rising and jocular banter flowing between the athletes. Imperial’s team went on to win 13 events across the day. The last event of the day was the medley relay which consisted of two legs (one male and one female) across each of the following three distances: 200m, 400m and 800m. With so much to play for, the team knew the pressure was on. Ultimately it came down to the last few metres but fresher James Millett kept his cool and crossed the line in first ahead the King’s athlete who has his fair share of GB vests. This not only ensured that Imperial would bring home the freshly minted medley relay trophy but also won them the match by a margin of just three points! This slim victory really highlights the importance of every single Imperial athlete from the total beginners to those champions that medalled in multiple events. This was Imperial’s most successful result since the LUCA Outdoors championships began!
However, the most important race of the day must not be forgotten. The mascot race is a hugely valued tradition where ultimate, beautiful glory or pure, humiliation and shame is at stake. Victoria the Lion (Albert had other business to attend with some rowers) achieved a solid 3rd to finish on the podium, cementing Imperial’s position as a big deal on the athletics scene. With the end of the university track season ending the club wishes to thank Athletics Captain Max Thorp for his commitment throughout the year that has brought Imperial their most successful track and field season in memory. Special thanks also go to former captain Matt Douthwaite for organising the London University Athletics Series, and to all the volunteers who helped ensure the season was a great success.