With England doing so well in the World Cup, everyone is talking about the likes of Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham. They’re not the only ones who have delivered standout performances for the national team recently though. New Bournemouth AC member and under-the-radar star Geoff Newton featured in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International in Dublin where he would don the famous rose encrusted white vest and represent England in a 6k race.

The premise of the competition was that teams from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would battle it out in a series of age group races. The categories were segregated into five year blocks for men and women, starting from 35 and ending in 75+. Geoff was competing in the 75+ category.

Geoff had been selected to run for England via an England Masters Team selection which was held Derby. This was piggy backed onto a North Staffordshire Cross Country League race at Markeaton Park. Four places were up for grabs in the older categories and Geoff had finished 5th in the M75+ trial so initially he had just missed out. However, one of the runners who finished ahead of Geoff was unable to travel to Dublin for the International so he squeezed in. And the rest is history!

In fact, the trial had taken place the day before the Studland Stampede, so it was a nice little warm up for that event for Geoff. He was then slogging it out on the soft sand the following day.

Since joining the club, Geoff had shown that he wasn’t afraid to get stuck in in the most testing and demanding of races. As well as the Studland Stampede, he’d also featured in The Beast and the Black Hill Run 10k, plus the first two fixtures of the Wessex Cross Country League.

Geoff Newton gets his race underway at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International

Geoff Newton (white vest with red shorts) was competing for England in the M75+ category

At the actual British and Irish Masters Cross Country International in Santry Demesne, Geoff featured in the first race of the day which was for the over 65 men. That included the 70 and 75 categories as well and even a few over 80’s but as far as the results went, Geoff was only really competing with the over 75s.

Putting in a much better performance than he did in trial, Geoff completed the 6k course in 28 minutes and 13 seconds, earning him 6th place out of 20 in the M75+ category. He was also third scorer for England, meaning he had contributed to the winning team for that age category as England came out on top.

Peter Giles of England was the 1st M75+, getting round in 26:21. That was just enough to edge him ahead of Northern Ireland’s Gerry Lynch who was 2nd in 26:26. Mick Casey was England’s second scorer, taking 3rd place in 26:51, with Scottish runner Normal Baillie taking 4th in 27:10. Robert Young, also of Scotland, crossed the line in 5th place in 27:20.

Geoff was competing for England in the M75+ category

Geoff turned in a much improved performance at the Masters International and finished 6th out of 20

It was great that Geoff had managed to play a major role in an England victory for that age category and it was mightily close between England and Ireland for the Men’s Combined Team Scoring. The way it worked was that the team with the three highest scoring runners in each category were awarded five points. Four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth.

In the end it was mightily close between England and Ireland but Ireland just shaded it with 37 points to England’s 36. It was a shame not to quite pick up for win in the overall team competition for England but they’d done well to come so close. Ireland also won the Women’s Combined Team Scoring by four points, so it was a very successful outing for them.

Having done his country proud though, Geoff could certainly come away from the event with his head held high, knowing he’d managed to turn it on and deliver his best when it really mattered.

You could argue that he perhaps hasn’t received the acclaim he should have around the Bournemouth AC camp for this achievement even though he’s been training with the group on a regular basis on the Tuesday night sessions. No doubt he will receive the plaudits he deserves though once everyone learns of his international aptitude.