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  • Maryse Ford

English National Cross Country Relays

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

It is probably a couple of decades since Cambridge Harriers have put out a senior womens team at the ECCA relays in Mansfield. So it was really encouraging that three women decided that they were prepared to trek up to the Midlands and give it a go. Needless to say it rained heavily, the course was under water in parts and very very muddy. The announcer repeatedly asked the tractor driver to go over to one of the car parks to tow out a stuck car.The area outside the marquee and portaloos looked like the Somme. All good fun then. But it was all very well organised.

We were not really sure what to expect. It turned that there had been record entry of 184 teams. All the big clubs were there and a recent rule change meant that at senior level students now must compete for their home club which made a much better competition as opposed to a BUCS-like event. Our expectations were not that high. Caroline Ford and Sabrina Sinha had both run for their universities at the event but in much better conditions and that would have little bearing on performance against clubs we don’t normally meet. Sabrina went first and was confidently able to withstand the hurly burly of the mass start. She gave a good fast leg handing over to her triathlete sister Natasha. Natasha had a great run and made up several places. By the time Caroline ran the last leg it was quite hard to work out exactly where the teams were as many many runners were being lapped. That should have given us a clue that the girls were actually doing pretty well with Caroline maintaining the position the others had established. The team came an excellent 22 out of 184! So it was worth the effort and more to the point the girls really enjoyed themselves. Hopefully we will be able to put out more teams next year and can build on our experience. We have learned lessons in timing the warm ups better for the second and third leg runners who can spend ages in the pens waiting.

Leg 1 Sabrina Sinha 11:18.40 (36) Leg 2 Natasha Sinha 11:28.35 (21) Leg 3 Caroline Ford 11:52.85 (22)

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