This year’s course for the annual Hunt Club Championships was a flat and fast ‘out and back’ run from Pengwern boat club, over the suspension bridge and down to the weir, with the return leg retracing the runners’ steps. Having tackled the tough terrain of Pontesbury Hill last year, this course- whilst longer- favoured the speedsters. ‘The Long Run’ as it is known, has been run annually since the very earliest days of the Hunt’s formation in the 1830s, and is always a closely-fought battle between the top runners within the club. Unfortunately, Huntsman George Mallett was unable to contest the championships due to a niggling injury, though his name had already been etched upon the Birley Cup in 2010 when he was the surprise victor as a 5th former. As such, the race was on between younger brother Ed and fellow Severn Hill athlete Seb Blake, who moved the pace on in the early stages as the lead pack headed down the river. Closely behind was 5th former Otto Clarke (also of Severn Hill) and Senior Whip Tom Cousins (Port Hill), and with last year’s winner of the Mark Mortimer Cup for 1st Junior Boy absent through a chest infection (Churchill’s Rory Fraser), these four looked certain to be contesting the top places. However, it was Ed Mallett who asserted his continued dominance with a swift 20.49 to ensure his name joins his brother’s upon the esteemed Birley Cup, with Blake in the runners-up spot with 21.16, and Clarke an excellent third in 21.34.
In the Junior category, there was a clear victory for Oscar Dickins from Rigg’s Hall, this year’s winner of the New Boys’ Race, who now adds the Mark Mortimer Cup to his growing collection of trophies and medals. Second junior was Theo Clarke, younger brother of Otto, with Charlie Godman (Moser’s) in 3rd.
In the final category of the day - Senior Girls - we were delighted to be able to present Imola Atkins (MSH) with the Willie Jones Cup, a trophy she retains from last year.
1st Ed Mallett (S) 20.49 1st Senior Boy, Winner of the Birley Cup
2nd Seb Blake (S) 21.16 2nd Senior Boy
3rd Otto Clarke (S) 21.34 3rd Senior Boy
4th Tom Cousins (PH) 21.55
5th Toby Lansdell (PH) 22.49
6th Angus Hayward (Ch) 23.23
7th George Nugee (G) 23.48
8th Oscar Dickins (R) 24.04 1st Junior Boy, Winner of the Mark Mortimer Cup
9th Tom Fitzpatrick (R) 24.14
10th Henry Dashwood (SH) 24.19
11th Theo Clarke (S) 24.31 2nd Junior Boy
12th Charlie Godman (M) 25.12 3rd Junior Boy
17th Imola Atkins (MSH) 31.09 1st Senior Girl, Winner of the Willie Jones Cup