National XC Championships – Senior men
Updated: Jan 13
There can’t be many finer sights in sport than the start of the senior men’s race at the Nationals when it comes to Parliament Hill. Two and a half thousand of us running up from the lido in bright sunshine, the London skyline providing a backdrop and the club tents and flags fluttering in the stiff breeze looking like something from a medieval jousting tournament.
The start line is perhaps 150 metres wide so there is plenty of room for everyone but by the time you get to the top of the first hill, the course has shrunk to just 10 metres of mud and to all but those at the very front congestion inevitably occurs, and with such a huge field there continued to be bottlenecks for all of the first medium sized lap. After that just two large laps to go and you try to settle into something of a rhythm but with the gradients and conditions underfoot constantly changing it isn’t easy. The general consensus from our post-race analysis (which took in a number of Hampstead’s hostelries) was that the mud was less wet and slippery than in previous years but that it was heavier and more strength sapping.
Dean Lacy ran well, starting steadily and working his way through the field to finish in the top 30. Danny Kendall was our second finisher (193rd) with James MacDonald, David Worden, David Reader and Josh Lawless all in the first 1000 comprising the six to score team which finished 51st (one place higher than last year) out of 162 clubs who fielded complete teams. In total we had 16 runners all of whom finished.
So that is it for the cross country season, and a successful one it was too at least in terms of participation: a record 47 of us turned out at least once and across all 16 races we had a total of 202 finishers, also a record. This race was the final counter in our new Grand Prix competition in which your best six results are taken from the four Kent League races and the London, Kent, Southern and National Championships. James MacDonald was the winner with David Reader second and Bayley Massey third. Here is the top of the table:
Video of the race courtesy of Tonbridge AC is available below