Ollie James in the Braids Hill Cross Country Race

In a fiercely contested cross country showdown, Ollie James was in Edinburgh for the Braids Hill Race

Since moving up to Durham for university, Ollie James‘s running has gone from strength the strength and he continues to show that he’s ready to compete with the best of them. As well as thriving on the track in races of various distances including steeple chases, Ollie is also outstanding in cross country races and has competed in several big ones this year.

He came 27th in the South West Championships earlier in the season before going on to appear at the British Universities and Colleges Sport Cross Country Championships and the Inter County Championships in Loughborough. He also competed for Bournemouth AC in the Southern Road Relays where was second fastest member of the team, just a second behind Rob McTaggart.

Any opportunity he gets when he comes back down to Bournemouth, he’ll be out representing the club and coming along to the training sessions with the road runners group. He also gets the chance to race up north sometimes as well and can then run for the Durnham University team.

Ollie James making his mark in the Braids Hill Cross Country Race

Ollie battling it out with some top class university students

One race he did recently participate in was the Braids Hill Cross Country Race which is held annually by Edinburgh University Hare & Hounds. The route is a challenging 5km loop featuring a very testing climb. The event consists of the 5k and a 10k race and the 10k is a two lapper, meaning the massive hill has be tackled twice. The ascent goes on for the best part of a mile.

Theoretically it shouldn’t even be a course you can run fast on but there are very few races out there that Ollie can’t excel in, even if the terrain is tough. As soon as the race started, it was straight up the hill. Even though it was a long steep climb, Ollie still managed to get up it in 5:57 for the mile before heading back down the hill in the second mile, which he did at 5:26 pace.

Ollie James giving his all in the Braids Hill Cross Country Race

Ollie is especially gifted when it comes to cross country races

The next mile was a bit flatter and Ollie again registered a 5:36 for that mile before finishing the lap and embarking on the climb for the second time. Getting up it in 6:08 this time, he then worked his way back down the hill, getting through his fifth mile in 5:27. He then finished really strongly, at 5:14 pace for his next three quarters of a mile.

Ollie James battling it out in the Braids Hill Cross Country Race

Ollie was still able to maintain a good pace despite the steep inclines

It was a super strong run from Ollie and considering it was such a tough course, his pace had been incredible. Clocking a time of 32:20, Ollie sealed 3rd place which was an amazing result in a very high standard field.

It was only Tom Martin who won the race in 31:41 and Csoban Balogh of Camothy Hill Racing Club who were able to beat him. There was only three seconds in it as between Ollie and Csoban but Csoban took 2nd in 32:17.

Despite the route incorporating 720ft of elevation, Ollie still somehow managed an average pace in 5:37 which was really impressive. A total of 199 runners took part in the 10k race and they were mostly all university students.

Ollie James battling it out in the Braids Hill Cross Country Race

It was a terrific run from Ollie and good preparation for the Dorset County Cross Country at Canford

Over the moon with how he had performed, Ollie had paced the run really well and had certainly got the best out of himself on the day. It wasn’t Ollie’s last cross country race of the season though. He was back down in Bournemouth for the Dorset County Championships in the final Wessex Cross Country League fixture of the season at Canford School.

That one saw several of Bournemouth AC’s top athletes go head to head with some of Poole AC’s finest in a race that promised to be an enthralling battle and even though it was an elite standard field, Ollie was still a major contender.