Cross Country & Trail News

2017/8 News           Previous Years

Essex League XC, Writtle, 13th January 2018
The third event this season in this League. Hosted by Chelmsford AC this was the first time in the picturesque grounds of Writtle University College. BDAC started the day with outstanding performances by Tom Wood and Oliver Prince in the U13 boys race. At the end of the 3.1k course Tom finished 5th and Oliver 8th! Another outstanding performance also from U13 girl Rose Sheppard who finished in 15th in her race.

The next race was 4k for the U15 boys. Haydn Hawkins ran an excellent race saving a bit of power for the end when he quietly sprinted past another athlete who looked rather surprised by Haydn’s appearance, giving him a finish in 28th position.

The U17 boys had a 6.1k race on their hands. Starting with a small lap then a large lap of 4k this was going to be all about the strength in the mind as well as the legs. Toby Turl made his debut for BDAC and finished 19th, closely followed by Will Lynes in 21st.

The Senior men had 2 large laps covering 8k. 205 athletes were in this race. Team BDAC had 4 taking on the mud and other stuff they reportedly ran through! First BDAC across the line was SM Ben Holdgate in 53rd, hot on his heels was U20 Conor Culham in 58th and U20 Josh Mulley in 5th. Making his debut for Braintree Athletics Club was Nick Wood. Inspired by the performance of his son Tom earlier in the day, Nick ran a superb race “giving the youngsters a chance” and crossed the line in 89th position. Well done Nick!

The next Essex League cross country fixture is on 10th February at Basildon Sporting Village. This is for athletes. The next Mid Essex League fixture for age 16 yrs + is 11th February is hosted by Springfield Striders at Highwood.

There are many benefits to the athlete from competing in cross country. Nick Anderson, former UK Athletics head coach for cross-country (, says endurance is greatly enhanced by the discipline: "The undulations and hills power up your legs, and having to cope with the differing pace caused by changes in terrain gives your heart a boost." The discipline also builds lower leg strength. "Your foot mark changes with every step because the ground is uneven and sometimes very unstable, too," says Anderson. "It means lower limbs and stabilising muscles become very strong, and you develop a greater ability to absorb shock. Keeping the momentum going on a soft surface is hard work, so you are building muscles that will give you great strength and power."

If you would like more information about the forthcoming races. Please email Team Manager Conor Culham on Thank you to all athletes for competing. We look forward to seeing you next time.. See Results page for full results.

Mid-Essex League XC, Little Baddow, 17th December 2017
Sunday was the first race of the 2017/18 season in the Mid Essex League. This XC league is for anyone age 16+. Weeks of online campaigning saw the best turnout BDAC have had in years at XC. The promise made by Raoul Grantham that ‘cross country makes you sexy’ clearly had an impact. 11 men and 4 ladies met at Little Baddow to compete against Little Baddow Ridge Runners, Grange Farm and Dunmow running club, Springfield Striders and Mid-Essex Casuals.
The 5 mile (approximately) mixed terrain course was made up of ditches, tree roots, ice, puddles, slosh and more. Tim Woulfe, XC specialist was the first BDAC finisher across the line and 2nd overall. He was closely followed by U23 athlete Joe Nourse in 7th, U20 and Team Manager Conor Culham in 12th, then Alex Ings in 16th. See Results page for full results.

Team Tabor, James Salmon and Myles Coulson finished 33rd and 34th respectively. Making a return to the XC scene, James Bearham was 39th. In his 14th appearance for BDAC this year, John Holland came 55th, closely followed by the highly respected V70 athlete David Reaves in 61st! Big well done to Colm Scolard for finishing in 66th place and to first time XC runner Mark Thomas who finished 75th! We hope you enjoyed your first race Mark and that we will see you again! The men needed 7 runners to make up the team points, Team BDAC came in 3rd out of the 5 clubs.

In the ladies race Michelle Caulfield finished quickly in 14th place. Shelley Bennett enjoyed her first XC race declaring on social media that she ‘now has the bug’. Well done for finishing 31st! Helen Frances made a XC return after 6 years, came in close behind in 34th. Cross Country devotee, Lynne Culham brought up the rear in 42nd having been sent on a rather long diversion by a team of marshals who didn’t know the course! (Guess who wrote this report and is holding a grudge). (and yes I know I'll have been last anyway but that's not the point) :)

It was great to have such a large turnout from the club and thanks for the support from Simon Mennell and Raoul Grantham. We would love to see even more of you at future XC events, the next race is 7th January at Rivenhall. If you would like more details about cross country with BDAC, please email the Team Manager, Conor Culham on
(Complaints to Raoul Grantham if his promise has not worked for you!).


Essex League XC, Horseheath, 28th October 2017
Saturday saw the start of the 2017/18 cross country season for the Essex League. Hosted by Cambridge and Coleridge Athletics Club at Horseheath Point to Point racecourse. See our Results page for the full results.

C&C put on an early race for the U11 athletes, which was well attended by the young Braintree members. The course was an undulating 1.8km which was well run by our team. Out of the 17 girls in the race we had some first-class performances, there was only a little over 2 minutes between the first and last place. Roberta Dines was first girl home for Braintree in 5th position, immediately followed by Katie Mason. Jessica Pugh was running comfortably and finished 13th, with young Abigail Prince enjoying her first cross country for BDAC finishing strong in 15th.

There were 27 boys in their race, 6 BDAC athletes. It was a fast start and the adult hare at the front looked rather surprised by this! Dylan Robins ran a very strong race and came in a comfortable second place, fantastic start to the season, Dylan has another year in this age group! Oliver Mizon put in a great uphill run to the finish line to secure 10th place, just one second ahead of the next athlete. Alistair Mizon also stayed strong up the finishing hill to finish in 12th. Ronnie Williams pipped another athlete to the post for 19th. Proving that commitment to training and taking part in Parkrun regularly Edward Grainger was close behind in 21st, and Nicholas Grainger in 26th. Those guys must have thought nothing of the hills at Horseheath!

The BDAC U13’s boys put out some strong performances over the 3km course. In a field of 47 boys Oliver Prince and Thomas Wood ran together for the whole course, until the competitive spirit took over up the finishing hill with Oliver just beating Thomas on the line finishing 15th and 16th respectively. Finishing strong and with a smile on his face in his first cross country race came Alistair Moscuzza in 31st.

59 entrants in the U15 boys 4km race were all keen to be up the front competing for 1 of 7 places for Essex selection. Tyler Wiltshire improved on last year’s performance and came second getting that ‘golden ticket’. Only 3 minutes later and still 5 minutes ahead of the final finishers, Haydn Hawkins finished in 45th position. A great result following a strong run only last weekend at the Chelmsford 5k!

Abigail Kerr returned for her 4th cross country season for BDAC. In her first year in the U17 women and in a mixed race of U17 and U20 women, Abi ran a great race finishing the 5k course in 23rd position.

Next up were the senior women. BDAC had 3 athletes take on the 6km course. There were 125 athletes from 22 clubs. Braintree Coach, Josie Sheffield took 53rd position, Liz Cahill came in close behind her in 64th and Lynne Culham proudly sticking by her motto of ‘finish lines not finish times’ came across the line in 125th place.

As the ladies race finished the whistle blew for the men’s 8+km race. This has always been a big event, and with 3 new clubs entering the Essex League this year, the entry list was a massive 220! With GB athlete Adam Hickey leading the race, and carrying one of his shoes for much of this, first place was certainly not on anyone’s mind! Joshua Mulley was the first Braintree athlete home in 91st, 2 seconds later Conor Culham finished. An impressive run only 6 days after his first marathon! Another impressive performance came from David Reaves (I make no apologies for saying he is in the V70 category), he came 176! It was great to see Raoul Grantham making a return after 4 years to the cross country scene, Raoul finished happy in 202nd place, keen to take part in more XC knowing it will improve his road running ability.

Thanks to everyone, parents and athletes for the support on Saturday. We would love to field complete teams for the next Essex League event on 25th November 2017 - Apex Playing Fields, Hockley. Any questions, or to let us know you’ll be there, please email Conor Culham, Team Manager on

Taylor excels in the Lake District, May/June2017
At Hutton Roof Crags, 27th May, Taylor (9) finished 3rd out of 14 U11 Girls & 11th out of 26 U11 Boys & Girls. The course did a lap of a meadow to spread the field before climbing steeply up through some rocky woodland then turning onto the fell side, through a farm & back to the finish. She finished just before a hail storm raged through the village fayre blowing various marquees over dry stone walls including the Fell Race registration tent right down a farmers field!
Then at the Killington Sports, 1st June, she finished 8th out of 48 U12 Girls & 31st out of 103 U12 Boys & Girls. The course was an out & back route climbing 300' on the fellside with the last section being the steepest, around a flag post at the top with a very fast descent returning the same way to finish back in the show field to the cheers of the spectators. This is a traditional sports event & competitors travel from far & wide to compete in not only this but other track events. Pictures below.

Taylor, Lake District: Hutton Roof Crags 27th May & Killington Sports, 1st June 2017

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