"The annual curtain-raiser to the XC season, the relays, took place on Saturday, October 7th.
For many senior runners it was a return to Stubbers after an absence of 10 years or more although the junior runners were more familiar with the venue having had school XC events there.
It proved to be a popular return as entries were up by 27% on the previous year - 246 teams in total.
Thankfully the rain forecast didn't materialise and there was a mixture of sunshine and drizzle throughout the day.
The course was fast and fairly flat, with just a couple of undulations, very twisty and a run through the trees (watch out for those tree roots!) With no rain all week, the course was dry and great for spectators.
First off at 10.30 were the junior girls, U13/U15/U17 Was it any wonder that with 35 teams entered, Havering AC would be picking up a few medals on the day? The U13 girls kicked off the medal haul, winning both gold and bronze, split by Chelmsford picking up silver.
Basildon picked up the gold in the U15 category, with Havering and Orion picking up silver and bronze respectively.
Havering won the U17 category with a massive 3 minute lead over 2nd placed Orion, closely followed by Basildon in 3rd.
At 11.30 the junior boys, U13/U15/U17, set off at a fast and furious pace, tussling for position before the course narrowed. Woodford Green swept the board in the U13 race winning all three medals.
The U15 race proved to be close run with Woodford Green winning gold and bronze and Ilford splitting the pack for silver.
The U17 race was even closer with only 5 seconds separating gold (Basildon) silver (Orion) and bronze (Thurrock)
Onto the senior race where the men, women and mixed teams ran together. With 115 teams on the start line, a positive start was the order of the day. With so many runners finishing their leg and handing over to their fellow team mates, the start/finish area was , at times, very congested,
so credit to the officials who managed to keep the runners in order.
Keeping the medal tally going, Havering AC men were first home picking up the gold medal. Hot on their heels winning silver were Southend AC (Adam Hickey running the fastest leg of the day in 12.41) with Basildon AC chasing them down for bronze.
Basildon won gold in the ladies race, with Springfield Striders picking up silver (Liz Davies running the fastest the leg for the ladies in 15.15) The battle for bronze between the two Chelmsford AC teams was almost a dead heat but Megan Williams just managed to pip Wendy King on the line.
The mixed team relay was equally as competitive. Havering again won gold and just 2 seconds separated silver (Orion Harriers) and bronze (Colchester Harriers)
From the amount of positive feedback we have received it appears the return to Stubbers was a great success"
Photos courtesy Zac Bridgeland