A Brief History of the Ampthill Cross Country Trophy Meeting

First run in 1974 from an idea by Dave Goodwin and Harry Clifford.

There were nine races comprising 364 runners.

The winner of the Senior Men was Tony Simmons, who went on to win in 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983 and the International Vets races, running for Wales in 1989 and 1990.

M Tunstall, of Luton, won the inaugural Senior Womens race.

Bedford provided two winners in that first meeting, Alison Gifford in the Under 13 Girls and Andrew Buck in the Under 12 category as it was for boys in that year.

Mike Turner, of Liverpool won the Vets race in 1979, 1980, 1981 & 1982.

Two wins were recorded by G Rizzo, of Nene Valley, in the Senior Men in 1990 & 1991.  Two wins were recorded in the Vets race by N Fisher, of Harlow, in 1977 & 1978, F Bell, of Woking, in 1984 & 1985 and Roger Wadeley, of Biggleswade in 1986 & 1987.  J Wigley, of Invicta, won the Senior race in 1977 and went on to take the Vets in 1991.

Bedford's two Senior winners were Mike Shotbolt in 1981 and Jim McMahon in 1992.  Huw Lobb, running for Cambridge University, completed the double in 1996 & 1997

In the Womens race Bedford's Paula Radcliffe won her first Ampthill race as and Under 15 in 1988, went on to take the Under 17 in 1989 and her two Senior wins were achieved in 1992 & 1993.  Liz Talbot won the Under 11 Girls in 1985 and the Senior event in 1996.

Winning sisters, in 1989, were Angela Russell in the Under 11's and Vikki who won the Under 13's.  Vikki went on to win the Under 15's in 1991 having already won the Under 11's in 1987.  There was also a double for Michelle Matthews in the Under 17's in 1991 & 1992.

Winning Teams in 1974 came from Rossemdale, Wycombe, Luton, Highgate Harriers and Wakefield with Bedford taking four of the races.

The Trophy Meeting built in popularity to it's peak in 1980 with no less that 1890 runners completing the eleven events.

For many years it was used by Cambridge University for their Championships.  This resulted in very strong competition with their Senior Men winning the event twelve times.

Content found amongst the results paperwork, kindly, provided by John Milward, of Bedford & County AC.

The Ampthill Trophy – How it Began Again

Following the success of the re-launched Flitwick 10K the committee felt it would be a good idea to put on another event to keep interest up and to raise the profile of the club even further.

The idea of a cross country event using Ampthill park seemed a good one as we already had useable courses and the contacts to make it relatively easy.  The decision was taken to set the date just before the cross country season started to try to promote it as a warm up.

The name came about as a ‘tribute’ to the old Beefeater Trophy events which, we hoped, would attract runners with fond memories of those races.

Keith Morgan and I once again stepped up to the mark as organisers with Keith as director and myself as race entries and secretary. Phil Bierton took on the mantle of setting up the courses based loosely on the Beefeater ones and provided much needed IT support.  Unfortunately we had to avoid, the much loved, Breakheart Hill as it was becoming excessively eroded.

We decided to keep the event very low key as we had little time to organise it.  I designed an entry form, which Keith ran off at work, placed an advert in Runners World and put entry forms on the windscreen of every car at every event we went to. We then sat back to see if anyone would bite. We had no sponsorship and no fund to call on and expected to be lucky to break even.

Entries were very slow to come in and with a week to go we called off the junior race as there were only 3 entrants all from one family (the Drinkwater boys).

On the day we took enough entrants to double the postal entry and had a total of just under 50 runners.

We made a very small profit due to the sale of teas and bacon butties but it launched what is now a successful season opener.

Wendy Kent

Last Updated: Monday, 06 February 2012 10:54