Leaves are turning brown, leaves are fallilng down, weather turns chilly and the the fields are getting muddy - it’s time for some Cross-Country.

Last year, Imperial’s Cross-Country teams absolutely dominated the field, winning the Women’s league with the Men’s team coming in second place behind the notorious St Mary’s team, and the club won the Mike Baggs Trophy, which takes into account the performance of the club in general throughout the 5 races - a glorious season.

Instead of resting on their laurels, the squad has been training hard since then and didn’t lay off training over the summer. With one goal in mind, and led by a determined committee, 51 sturdy athletes rocked up to Parliament Hill last Wednesday to show the rest of London that they weren’t going to give their opponents any slack.

I… C… X… C… I..C..X..C..I,C,X,C,ICXC,ICXC! The crowd goes wild, the gun goes off, the pack leaves the starting line and storms off and up the hill. The much-coveted “King of the Hill” award went to Imperial’s Silvio Barandun after an admirable sprint up the first hill - for those unfamiliar with this award, it is the ultimate honour in LCLs, the knighthood of Cross-Country one would say: the fastest up the steep hill, appropriately named “The Climb” on Strava at the very beginning of the hill, with a long race ahead of themselves, wins said award - absolute legend. Having won this first honour, the Imperial athletes kept their focus and settled into their pace as they faced strong opponents from across London, especially from Saint Mary’s for both the Men and the Women, and Brunel and UCL for the Women as well.

Stellar performances this day saw the Women’s team top the podium: fresher Laura Wright came second, seconds behind Brunel’s Tessa Mc Cormick, followed by Women’s Captain Georgia Curry in bronze. Also in the top 10 were strong returning athletes Chloe Baker and Alix Vermeulen, just a second apart in 7th and 8th place. With such great running, the A team secured their first place, with a strong 24-point lead over Saint Mary’s in 2nd place. Impressive running from the B Team, led home by trail enthusiast Lea Adamson in 16th place, Stephanie Hewitt in 23rd place, Lara Sterritt in 28th place and Minty Hampden-Martin in 34th place - accumulating 503 points and sitting in a strong 6th position.

On the Men’s side, Oliver Barbaresi was the first to complete the 3 laps for Imperial, coming in a very strong second position, in SMU’s Thomas Butler’s heels and hungry for more, keep an eye out for him this season! Next from Imperial was Daniel Mulryan in 4th place and Club Captain Henry Hart in 6th place, in a Saint-Mary’s - Imperial sandwich, making for a very competitive atmosphere between the two clubs. Completing the A Team were Niki Faulkner and Oliver Newton in 29:44 and 30:02 in 12th and 13th place - rapid performances in a competitive field, this earnt the team a worthy second place in the Team rankings with 968 points, just 11 behind rivals Saint Mary’s - this race for gold is far from over! The Men’s B team meanwhile also put in valiant efforts that payed off with Misy Ormay coming 15th, Tom Bayley 17th, James Krasucki 19th, Joe Pomfret 21st and Leo Maisonobe 22nd, racking up 911 points and coming in an outstanding 3rd place, in front of Saint Mary’s B Team and all other universities’ A Teams!

The day ended with some celebratory baking-binge as the team was doing so well and currently tied first with Saint Mary’s for the Mike Baggs trophy that they will seek to defend this year. Later in the evening, the runners headed to Miran Masala for a celebratory curry and to Oyster Rooms and Slug (what is this Redback thing people keep referring to?) for celebration drinks and a classy little boogie. The team is now looking forward to the next fixture in Mitcham Common this coming Wednesday.

If you’re interested in joining the club and taking part in these races, contact them at run@ic.ac.uk