South of the Thames XC Championships
Updated: Jan 8
We have raced here three times in the last three years and have witnessed its transformation from golf course to landscaped park, a process that is still ongoing with much of the park being fenced off and the tracks of heavy machinery adding to the challenge of the course; I hope that once the process has been completed the authorities will not be too precious of their new creation to let us race over it.
This is proper old-school cross country racing; where numbers elsewhere are big enough to cover half your chest what with built in chips, sponsors’ logos, medical questionnaires and the like, here they are no bigger than a fag packet. The conditions under-foot led to the usual debate as to whether spikes or studs would be optimal, in the end I think that everyone ended up wishing that they were wearing something else somewhere on the very varied course. And the weather conditions led to a debate as to whether wearing an extra layer under a club vest was something that one could get away with. In the end there were just three of us who were too proud, or stupid, to wear anything more than a vest, the fag-packet sized numbers afforded little in the way of protection!
Results are not yet available, and judging by the pile of sodden returns envelopes that the organisers were trying to make sense of back at the race HQ they may take some while to compile. They should eventually appear here:
but in the meantime I can tell you that Steve Groom ran well to finish ahead of David Worden and to be our first finisher; Tarbo Fukazawa also had a good race to come in ahead of David Reader and Christian Poulton, and the team of six was completed by Graham Maynard. Further back came Clem Dixon, Sue Dixon (no relation), Ian McCarthy and Sue’s sister Sally Carr, possibly in that order. Men and women all run together in these races (another nice thing about them) but are scored separately and it was good to see that the improvement in our women’s section continues; in the past the men have always been on their own here. Further back still our two over 70s, Ian Marshall and Peter Hadley, had a good battle (with each other and with the elements) with Ian finishing just ahead of Pete in the end. Finally the warmth of the bar in the race HQ was very welcome, as were the ales that they had on offer.