National Cross Country Champs
Danny Kendall was the first home for the club at this year’s Nationals, squeezing into the top 100 for the second year in a row.
Eleven of us travelled up together by train, nine in the senior men’s squad plus our sole senior women’s representative Emily Means and stalwart supporter Dave Maynard. The venue did not look too promising at first being stuck between the racing circuit and the end of the runway of East Midlands Airport. The incessant whine of the cars on the track would be drowned out every so often as a plane flew over our heads as it came in to land. But the sight of the colourful club flags from all over the country fluttering in the sunshine lifted the spirits and the start was as inspirational as ever: 1730 runners (in the senior men’s race) standing 10 deep across a start line 100 metres wide and then dashing across the first field to try to avoid the inevitable congestion as the course narrows. Sometimes as a cross country runner you can’t help but feel that you are in a minority sport, but not here!
The course was everything that you would expect from the Nationals, some steep hills and plenty of mud. Not wet sloppy mud, there had not been much rain in the preceding week, but thick sticky mud, fellow competitors trying to locate and then replace shoes that had become detached became a common sight. And as if this was not already making it hard enough the general consensus among those who ran with a GPS device was that the distance was considerably greater than the nominal 12km.
Steve Hodges our second man home soon discovered that this was not a course that was going to be forgiving to someone with a sore ankle but he struggled on for 359th place. In previous years team scoring has been on both a 6 and 9 to score basis so we were pleased to have 9 finishers although to date only 6 to score results have been published in which we were 56th from 123 scoring clubs.
A few local ales before piling back onto the London train rounded off another grand day out at the Nationals, and so that is it for another cross country season until we start again in October.
Senior Women: 448 44:10 Emily Meins
Senior Men: 5 46:34 Danny Kendall 359. 51:15 Steve Hodges 560. 54:25 James MacDonald 858. 58:17 Dom Fiore 964. 59:46 Clem Dixon 1077. 1:01:39 Graham Maynard 1123. 1:02:14 Martin Hawkins 1350. 1:06:00 Mal Pires 1447. 1:08:26 Ian Marshall