There was a very good turnout for the last race of the 2014-15 winter cross country series at Presteigne. 83 men and 52 women contested separate versions of a course that suffered little from the forestry-enforced amendments to the route. As usual the weather was cold but dry and conditions underfoot were, I thought, pretty decent for the time of year. Of course the organisers throw in those little water splashes ‘just for a laugh’, but they liven up the circulation at crucial points on the race. Heulwen Gilbert of Ludlow Runners, a rising young star of the local running scene once again dominated the women’s race, completing 4 wins out of 4 races in the series, followed by Laura Tootell of Wye Valley who would probably object to being called a rising older star but remains in impressive form. Looking down the finishing times I am sure that many close battles were fought down the order, which is the essence of cross country running. Everyone has their own little race within a race. I won’t list here all the Croft times but well done to the first three Croft ladies home: Gemma Mallet (4, 39.02), Liz Bowers (5, 40.56) and the evergreen Nicky Turvey (6, 41.25). Their performance was enough to clinch second place in the team awards, just one point adrift of Wye Valley, “if only, girls, if only …” Sam, Steph, Sue and Jo gave it their all as usual and it was good to see Catherine and Liza back in competition.The men’s series has been dominated by by Tim Davies of Maldwyn Harriers but several Croft runners have stepped up in the absence of our other star runners. Most notably Sam Mayglothing, whose 8th place in this race added to a string of top 10 performances. Simon remains hugely competitive despite nursing a delicate Achilles, finishing 6th in this race (47.02) ahead of Sam in 47.43. It was good to see Mark Lamonby back, in 11th (48.34), while Glyn Williams, Pat Pearson, Dave George, and relative newcomers Greg Davies and Nigel Taylor have put in consistently good performances all season. Pat’s 2nd place series medal in the MV45 category was thoroughly deserved (his first did I hear? Astonishing.) Down the order we have to mention Ashley Robinson for yet another quite excellent performance (40th, 55.38, MV60) – one place ahead of the legendary Steve Herington. I know I haven’t mentioned everyone and I hope you will forgive me but particular congratulations to the 7 Croft men and 6 Croft women who won medals, quite a haul, yet again, being more medals than any other club competing in the series.