The result of the Cross-country Championship rather a surprise, the Spartans being strong favourites, and yet victory resting with the Thames Hare and Hounds, who certainly possess the advantage of being at home on the course. The Spartans, too, were unfortunate in many respects, as will be gleaned from the following letter, which has been sent us by a well-known athlete, who followed the race horseback:- As I witnessed from horseback nearly the whole of the race, and have read the extremely incorrect and absurd accounts of the same in your contemporaries, lest you should deriving your information from the same source, I herewith send you the following details, which I am prepared to substantiate in every particular:- G.E. Stanley, who should have run for the Spartans, did not arrive in time to start, so could not have taken the place assigned him in a Sunday contemporary, as no one of the name Robson started at all, and Hobson never occupied forward place at any portion of the run.
It is also quite incorrect to say that the two leaders, Stenning end Mawby, were closely followed at West Barnes by Mason or Bateman. After the first two miles they were never closely followed anyone: indeed, from start to finish, no runner in large field ever had the remotest chance of overhauling either them. After the first four miles they were always clean out of sight of their nearest followers. At Merton, three miles from the start, the leaders were running together, 100 yards ahead of Hope, third. H. C. Howard, an outsider not mentioned in the other papers, was here going fourth, and ran remarkably well up this point, Bateman was fifth, Davis and Colson next, followed by Mason, Parker, and Lawrence together, the two Smiths and Archer so far being right in the rear. A little further - another mile - Parker came in contact with a stake at a gateway, and retired from the contest much hurt. Hope at the same time began fall back, being passed by Mason, Bateman, and Colson; Howard also gave way beaten, and dropped into the rear. At West Barnes Farm, six miles from the start, and Mawby, still together, were more than 300 yards in front of Mason and Bateman, who were next, then at interval of 150 yards came Colson, with Lawrence, Tyler, Benson, Harris, Bishop, and the two Smiths in order.
Through Malden the leaders still further increased their advantage, and when they reached the gate at the foot of Cottenham Slope, two miles and three-quarters from home, they must have been quite 500 yards ahead of Mason and Bateman. Both Stenning and Mawby were still running beautifully, they charged the gate exactly abreast, Mawby jumped it, but Stenning ran round it, and when they reached other side they collided, but no damage was done. About this time Mason, Smith, and Archer, were rapidly gaining ground, and both began to take forward positions. Cottenham Slope (half mile long) the two leaders raced together great pace, considering the distance they had come. When on the common, however, two miles from home, it became perfectly plain that bad nearly enough of it, for all once fell beck 40 or 50 yards. Stenning still kept on in capital form, ultimately winning by about 180 yards. Mason and Bateman, still together, got on the common next, but Mason-Smith, who was coming along at rattling pace, and had passed Tyler, Lawrence, Benson, and Colson, begun to overhaul the Thames pair. At the Windmill came with a tremendous rush, closing fast upon Bateman, whom he passed 700 yards from home; then made another rush after Mason, but the last named put it on all he knew, and kept his place, thus finishing third just quarter of a mile behind Mawby, and 30 yards ahead Mason-Smith. Bateman, 100 yards off, was fifth, yards in front of Colson (sixth), who was hotly pursued by Tyler (seventh). Lawrence, who had given way to Tyler in the last half mile, was eighth. Archer passed lot of in the last two miles, and, catching Benson a short distance from home, the pair had a most determined finish. Archer had the speed, however, in the final run, and just won by a couple yards.
It ought to be mentioned that C. F. Turner, the second best man the Spartans have, fell down stairs at his City office, on Saturday morning, only two hours before the start for the race, and sprained his ankle; he persisted, against the of advice of his fellow members, in starting, but was in such pain that he had to pull up after a very short distance. Had he been all right and finished third, where he in all probability would have finished, as he proved over and over again that is but slightly inferior to Mawby, and indeed holds the Spartan Challenge Cup at the present moment, having defeated Mawby for the trophy, the Spartans, would have won as this would have gained them 15 points and they lost by 10 only. The time of the two leaders for first six miles was 37:30. They gained on their pursuers until the last two miles, but then Mason and Mason-Smith certainly gained on Mawby.