The great race for the National Cross Country Championships took place in Windsor Park on Saturday before a record crowd of spectators. Unfortunately the five miles lap, which had been flagged out was too big the runners only twice passing the spectators after the start. People had travelled from all parts of the Kingdom to see the race, and interest would have been stimulated if there had been four laps instead of two. The majestic trees in the great park blotted out all distant sights. The King was not present and Brigade General, the Earl of Athlone, set the huge pack of some 300 runners on the journey.
The first obstacle was about half-a-mile from the start, this being a six-foot iron fence bordering Hog Common. The runners took the fence in their rush and it gave way. It was an ugly sight for a moment, for it looked as though some would surely be underneath got clear, and as the men cut over Prince Consort Drive, the French athlete, Guillemot went ahead, Charley Ruffell, the winner of 1914, went into second place with a crowd on his heels. As they passed the Battery to the Bronze Horse, Chris Vose, the Northern Champion, made a bid to overtake the Frenchman, but the latter ran with wonderful fleetness. At half-distance he had fully fifty yards in hand from Vose, with Percy Hodge, of Surrey, third.
Surrey had then some twenty points lead of Birchfield for the team event with Hallamshire a good third.
Hallamshire's first man was H. Bowler, in eighth position, with Siddall and Walker in the first twenty. In the next lap there was a great shuffling of positions, Birchfield were the aggressors, and Surrey were compelled to give points. Clifton moved up second and Blewitt and Freeman displaced Hatton and Hodge. Half way round young Bowler went after the pack. Hatton gave way, then Mills, of Leicester, encouraged by this took up the race with Freeman, the Midland Junior Champion, who was hanging on to Blewitt, their senior winner. Slipping them in a short run he drew level with Wilson, the Scottish champion. Pluck again prevailed, and Bowler had the audacity to challenge Vose. Vose tried to steady the lad with advice, but Bowler went ahead with hopes of Clibbon. As they turned down the Long Walk for the finish Bowler reeled 300 yards from home; down and up again like Dorando! But pluck could not do all.
The inspiring doors of Windsor Castle were just ahead, but Bowler saw nothing. He was exhausted. He had misjudged the distance of his first National by 300 yards.
Guillemot won by 48 seconds from Clibbon.
This young French soldier of 21 was master from the start to the finish. He is a worthy successor to John Bowte, though built on different lines. Short in stature, long in leg, and broad in chest, Guillemot, is better than anything this country can find for international race.