All posts by Joseph Gonzalez

Southern Cross Country Championships – Race Review

One of the wettest autumns and early winters on record promised to make the Southern Cross Country Championships a challenging affair – and so it proved. But even before getting to Parliament Hill the journey turned out to be almost as arduous as the race itself!

I had decided to drive so I could take the club flag and gazebo, and agreed to give Peter and Dmitry a lift. What a fateful decision that was. The train line going through Surbiton all the way to Clapham Junction was closed for engineering works, and an accident on the A3 meant gridlock around Berrylands and the whole Surbiton area.  Along with further road works en route (they’re springing up everywhere!) a nightmare car journey followed. Some others in the team had their own travel problems and delays: Ben and Dom’s struggle to get to Wimbledon, Geoff having to run to Kingston – both also traffic induced. Not ideal pre race preparation!

Over two and a half hours later, I dropped off Peter and Dmitry as soon as we arrived and they just about managed to scramble to the start line on time, as fortunately did the rest of the team. I had to find a parking space which meant I started 5 minutes late. I could see the mass of runners sprinting up the iconic hill from the bandstand where I was frantically trying to get my spikes on and pin my bib number to my chest. The gazebo stayed in the car due to lack of time – so much for that idea!

To the race itself. The course was yet again short, as almost always seems to be the case with SEAA events these days: A mere 13.7km versus the official 15km. What it lost in terms of distance it more than made up for in terms of difficulty. The wet weather, the earlier 10 or so races and the 1,172 senior male finishers (over 1,800 had entered!) combined to create the mother of all quagmires. A veritable kaleidoscope of mud textures and thicknesses (ankle deep in many places), pools of water, and array of squelching sounds (I swear I played the tune of “mud mud glorious mud”) meant that anyone wearing trail shoes or anything less than 12mm spikes could forget running and just take up rehearsing for the next series of Skating on Ice. The mud was so bad it took my shoe off three times, adding to the 5 minutes I lost at the start. The surface condition coupled with the 350 metres of elevation gain created one of the stiffest running tests going.

Ben wisely bought a pair of spikes for the occasion, which seemed like a good idea until they proceeded to tear up his feet in huge blisters and forcing him to drop out after the first lap (5k). Ed continued his unlucky run (pardon the pun) on Parliament Hill with another injury. Happily most others held together to finish the race enabling us to complete a scoring team.

We finished in 71st position (same as last year) out of 81 scoring teams, and scored a mere 63 points less than the  Stragglers who finished 69th. We had a stronger team this year than last but just loads of bad luck!

A total of 158 teams took part – 77 of which didn’t have enough finishers to score.

Paul put in a sterling performance turning in a decent time and finishing a very creditable 408th.

The team finishing order was as follows:

408th: Paul Donohoe (1:01:15)
589th: Dominic Woodbridge (1:04:51)
703rd: Dmitry Selemir (1:07:13)
778th: Joseph Gonzalez (1:09:13)
896th: Geoff Tookey (1:12:55)
945th: Joe Chang (1:14:39)

DNF: Ben Chown, Ed Francis and Peter Grecian.

Well done to the entire team for braving a very tough course indeed. We can’t wait for next year’s event, and hope we’ll be able to tempt some of you to join us and take on the challenge.


Surrey XC Championships & Southern XC Championships 2020

The cross country championships season continues with a further two events coming up in January: Surrey County Cross Country Championships and the Southern Cross Country Main Championships.

Surrey XC Championships to held at Denbies Vineyard, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6AA

Date: Sunday 5th January 2020
Please note this is on the same day as the GP event Tadworth 10. I personally won’t run in these Surrey XC Championships  but I’m happy to help facilitate those of you that would prefer to.

Senior Women
Start time: 12.00
Distance: 8.4Km
Teams of 4 to score.
Cut off time: 60 mins

Senior Men
Start time: 14.00
Distance: 12.2 Km
Teams of 6 to score.
Cut off time: 90 mins

Southern Cross Country Main Championships to be held at Parliament Hill Fields, London NW5 1QR

Date: Saturday 25th January 2020

Senior Women
Start time: 14.05
Distance: 8.0Km
Teams of 4 to score.
Cut off time: N/A

Senior Men
Start time: 14.50
Distance: 15.0 Km
Teams of 6 to score.
Cut off time: 60 mins by the start of the 3rd lap (approx 10k point), or 90 mins overall.

To sign up to either or both events please fill in the form at the following link:

>>> Sign up for either or both events here <<<



SEAA London XC Championships 2019

There’s loads of history and legend associated with Parliament Hill. Is the mound to the north of the hill really Boedicea’s Grave? Did Highwayman Dick Turpin hang out in the area? Is the Hill named after the Parliamentary anti-Royalist forces who occupied it during the English Civil War?

Possibly for all the above. What we do know for sure though is that it has been the venue for local, regional and national cross country championships since 1950 and this year its number 1 runner showed up – that’s our very own Joe Chang. He literally wore the number 1 bib number! No pressure Joe!!

With the almost constant rain over the last couple of months, the big hills were the muddiest we’ve seen them for a long while. We all had great fun just trying to stay upright. Thankfully the weather was pretty reasonable on the day itself.

It wouldn’t be  a cross country course without some slapdash “that’ll do” course measurement. The ladies course length was close enough at 5.9k (official length 6k) whereas the men got stung with 10.7k for an allegedly official 10k.

There were great runs all round. For the men, Chris Hutchinson was our front runner, with Ed Francis not that far behind until a hamstring injury forced him to abort at 7k.

The ladies went gangbusters despite some initial trepidation on the choice of trail shoes for some. Daisy led the team, with Diana and Viola also putting in strong performances to finish with big smiles all round.

The teams were as follows:

Men: – Chris Hutchinson; Ed Francis; Joe Chang; Michael Street;  Joseph Gonzalez

Women: – Daisy Street ; Viola Nicastro; Diana Kimura

Full results can be found at the following link:

>> For results tap here <<<

SEAA London Cross Country Championships

With the cross country season getting underway, the South of England London Cross Country Championships will be held on the 16th November at Parliament Hill Fields on Hampstead Heath. 

Cross Country running is hugely beneficial as you begin preparing for a spring marathon training cycle,  helping to build strength and endurance.

As with all these championship events, there will be present a field of top runners from the leading clubs across Greater London . While I hope our own strongest runners can take part, it would be great to have a big team show up from male and female senior and vet categories.

If you’re interested in taking part, please sign up at the following link.

>>> Entry Form Here <<<

You will need to do so by Wednesday 30th October so that the entry deadline can be met.

SEAA Southern Road Relays 2019 – Results

The weather forecasts had for days been predicting thunderstorms and heavy rain on the day of the SEAA Road Running Relays, but in the end it turned out to be a fine day for three 26.2 RRC teams taking part in this high quality event featuring many of the best runners in the South of England.  A little drizzle but nothing that dampened the spirits, or performances.

A fourteen strong contingent descended on the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre to do the burple shirts proud. The three teams that took part were:

Senior Women: 1. Victoria Whelan; 2. Jacqueline Chang; 3. Megan Lewis; 4. Laura Hooke

Senior Men: 1. Ben Chown; 2. Anthony Whelan;  3. James Scanlon; 4. Dmitry Selemir; 5. Tim Bartholomew; 6. Chris Hutchinson

Vet Men: 1. Steve Nicholls; 2.Joe Chang; 3. David Maher; 4. Harry Kim

The cherry on the cake was finishing on top of our local rivals and mob match adversaries The Stragglers in both the Senior Women and Vet Men categories.  They didn’t field a Senior Men’s team alas.

Full results available from the SEAA website at the following link:





SEAA Southern Road Relays

On the 22nd September this year’s SEAA Southern Road Relays will be held at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, and the club is again looking to field some teams.

This event turns out the best runners from clubs across London and the South East, is therefore highly competitive and suitable for those at the “faster” end of the club.

This year the relays are the day after our fourth Grand Prix at Northala Fields parkrun but don’t let that mere 5km put you off! Do please register your interest at the link below:

>>>enter relays here<<<

We will be aiming to field runners in the following team groupings:

Senior & Vet Women 4 x 4.5km
Vet Men 4 x 6km
Senior Men 6 x 6km

All runners must be first claim members and registered with England Athletics