South of England Masters Cross Country Champs
Three of the club’s 50+ year-olds made the trip to Oxford for this year’s Southern Vets. The event is run in conjunction with the Southern Inter-Counties; the masters races being the first and last of the day. This isn’t ideal as it makes it impractical for runners in different age groups to travel together which goes some way to explaining our low turnout. But those of us that did run had the welcome luxury of running first on a relatively unchurned course, and we also escaped the heavy rain that was to fall later in the day.
As you approach the venue early signs are unpromising, parking is at the huge soulless Cowley car plant (now owned by BMW and where the Mini is made) and the only part of the course visible from the start/finish area consists of yet another loop round a sports pitch. But all three of us had been here two years ago when the venue was last used for this event and so we knew what to expect; flat rugby pitches soon giving way to hilly grassland and woods.
Christian Poulton continued his good form in his first year in the M50 category finishing 17th in a combined race for all ages from 50 to 69 (the official results erroneously showing him as 4th M55). Further back Mark Ashby and Clem Dixon leapfrogged positions several times during the first of the two laps before Mark pulled away on the second. Fortunately team scoring is for the first three as this is all that we had, in which competition we were 12th (from 22 clubs with complete teams).
17th (14th M50)
81th (50th M50)
88th (22th M55)