OMs run the Thames Hare and Hound

The 67th Alumni Cross Country Race run by the Thames Hare & Hounds running club took place on Saturday 14 December 2019.

The race is a 5 mile cross country race on Wimbledon Common for alumni of British public schools. Runners compete as individuals and the top four for each school count towards the overall schools’ team competition. The race has a lot of history dating back to 1953 and Marlborough has had some notable involvement. In 1962 and 1963 the race was won by Bruce Tulloh (CR 1973-94) (albeit he was running for his old school Wellington) and won by a Marlborough team in 1977 and 1987. Sadly Marlborough has not fielded a team for quite some time. Until this year.

OMs Chris Ludlam (CO 1983-88), Jessica Davies (CO 2006-08), Andrew Fleck (B3 1976-81) and Charles Laughton (TU 1994-99) took to the course (see photo) amongst a total of 303 entrants on a blue sky but very soggy afternoon. Jessica sported her Thames Hare & Hounds club colours, with Andrew in a Marlborough College running vest very recently acquired over the phone from Crosby & Lawrence (“And what size top will you need sir? Age 13-15 or 16-18?”, “Er…”). Charles and Chris both opted for Marlborough College Rugby Tour shirts – Charles with an Argentina 1998 vintage and Chris with an Australia 1987 (plus Cotton House rugby socks!) – prompting one Harrow wag to comment at the start line “You know this is a cross country race and not a rugby match?”)

Charles put in the best OM time of 37mins 25secs closely followed by Andrew in 37:35, Jessica in 37:51 and Chris in 40:06. The winner from RGS Guildford strolled round in 25:44. Our team result placed us 20th overall. Jessica came an impressive 10th in the Women’s category.

The race is a fantastic event with ages ranging from 18 to 75 and it is truly cross country (including streams to cross, fallen trees to scramble over and lots, and I mean lots, of wet mud). There are indeed some very good runners but for many it is a chance to catch up once a year with old school friends (Sedbergh entered an impressive 25 runners, Sherborne 22, Wellington 21). Naturally the 4 of us intend to return next year (with better running shoes) and it would be great to run alongside (or behind!) some of Marlborough’s finest cross country runners. The race is typically on the second Saturday of December so please note this down in your diary for next year!

Chris Ludlam
(CO 1983-88)