Just one day after their triumph at the Battle of Battersea, as previously reported by Felix, Imperial’s top athletes headed off to one of the iconic parts of London for the Westminster Mile, a legacy event from the 2012 Olympic Games.
Starting on the Mall facing towards Horse Guards Parade, the one mile route takes runners around St. James’s Park and along Birdcage Walk before turning to finish in front of Buckingham Palace.
This year saw the first ever London Universities and Colleges Athletics (LUCA) wave in the event, meaning athletes from London’s universities had the streets to themselves for the duration of their one mile lap.
With the runners assembling on the start line beneath the glistening midday sun, the more revision-focused members of the squad came to the realisation that the race was being streamed live by the BBC!
Following this revelation the BBC’s viewing figures increased by approximately 200 as Cross Country and Athletics members scrambled to find the link to watch their peers race against their sworn London rivals.
Before they knew it they were off and flying down the first section, with Imperial’s navy and blue vests well represented in the exam-season depleted field of the London student athletics scene.
Fantasy Football Club Champion Niki Faulkner hit the front early on, and the online spectators were delighted to hear specialist commentary from the BBC who picked out Niki, suggesting it was an “individual time trial” for the athlete, and that he would have been aware of this “from the beginning”.
In the background of the shot from the lead motorbike cameraman, Mihaly Ormay, Matt Ryan, Jim Warren, Alex Mundell, Jack Teh, and Steph Hewitt were all within sight.
As the relatively short race progressed, the runners passed the giant green figure of Arsenal FC’s dinosaur mascot - Gunnersaurus - who was still making his way around the course from an earlier way. No wonder dinosaurs are extinct.
With Niki nearing the end of the race, the rest of the field were becoming more and more distant. However, much to the dismay of the commentators, this did not stop him looking behind him to keep an eye on the ever-increasing gap.
Meanwhile, as Niki dipped across the line in a time of 4:28, Imperial’s dream team were building for their sprint finish.
Mihaly Ormay gave it everything to finish in fourth place, just managing to finish one second under the all-important 5-minute barrier.
Close behind were the club’s candidates for bromance of the year - Matt Ryan and Jim Warren - who both finished within touching distance of one another in 5:10, followed by Jack Teh in a strong 5:28.
Whilst the men’s category was somewhat lacking in suspense, the women’s title went all the way to the line, as the top two finished in the same second - but it was Imperial’s Alex Mundell who took the title.
Knowing that ‘silver salvers’ had been promised for the top three athetes, Steph Hewitt made sure to stay ahead of 4th, ensuring she won the smallest silver plate you have ever seen.
In the LUCA Awards presentation which took place that evening at Imperial, Imperial College Cross Country and Athletics took home Club of the Year, thanks to nominations from non-Imperial athletes who had spotted and admired the club’s friendly, excited atmosphere at events throughout the year.
Individual awards went to Women’s Captain Charlotte Barratt for widening participation thanks to her supervision of the new Couch-to-5k group, Men’s Captain Jack McKeon for Coach of the Year due to his excellent circuits sessions every Monday evening, and incoming Women’s Captain Georgia Curry, who picked up the award for Female Athlete of the Year following her performances in the cross country league and recent athletics fixtures.
This weekend of success ensured the club finished the year on a high, and hopefully many athletes will continue to compete over the summer before returning to College in October ready to hit the cross country season hard.