Another weekend and another XC fixture. This time we had the luxury of a Sunday fixture which brought with it a few hangovers and some unanticipated but very welcome sunshine. Read the full race report from Laura
Well that’s it for another year. Time to hose down those spikes, grease the threads (stops them getting stuck you see) and put them away until we can do it all over again in about 8 months’ time.
And so it was that beside the River Aln our 2016/17 Cross Country season came to a great end in excellent conditions (the Met Office having got this one horribly wrong thankfully).
A really great turnout from the club saw the men going in to the race with the slimmest of chances of getting promoted although sadly the attempted road block of the A1 (to stop other teams getting to the race) was thwarted and they had to settle for third. Both the men and women must be in with a great chance of promotion next year however.
Special shout outs to Abby Dorani and Aaron Hoyle for both producing storming runs and therefore affording themselves the pleasure of the fast pack next season (Abby is currently using her legal training to see if she can extricate herself from this rule but it looks doubtful). It’s also going to be a promotion to the medium pack for David Stroud next year.
The cakes/sausage rolls/pizza were (as always) calorifically splendid and for those able to attend the evening social there were some additional awards to recognise the various efforts and achievements of club members throughout the season.
Final special mentions to Heidi Findlay for falling over and if anyone has the time to teach Chris Kenyon how to properly tie a shoelace it would be much appreciated.
If you’ve never done cross country hopefully the link to the video below gives you an idea of what you’re missing out on.
A new race venue – Herrington Park
A race in the mud – what a lark
Lots of runners and New Year banter
Time to run off the excesses of Santa
Juniors first – growing in number?
Ladies next – no time to slumber
Great racing ladies – have you heard?
Division 3 – position third
Lots of new watches on their handy (groan)
Races done, cakes and a sarnie
This beats revising eh Abby Dorani?
Thornley Hall Farm then off to Alnwick
With some good turn outs and magic potion
We might just be in with a chance of promotion
Still nursing our sore limbs from Wrekenton a mere 8 days earlier, many of us found ourselves at the Cross Country start line once again, this time ready to tackle the course at Druridge Bay. For some it was the first Cross Country outing with us – Welcome Paul, Amelia, Aaron, Lynne, Grace Leiper, Grace Graham and Ella (apologies if I’ve missed anyone)!
Arriving at Druridge Bay Country Park, the sun was shining and the venue looked like a beautiful spot for a run, albeit still lacking the true cross country terrain of knee deep mud that we’re all anxiously awaiting. Driving past the lake to the car park you could see some of the youngsters chasing each other around the course and much to my delight there was a large section of the route heading in my favourite direction – downhill!
Having had some sort of miraculously good run last week, I was going to be setting off for the first time from the medium pack. I’d also been told many times that I was a dafty for doing this to myself, so I was understandably quite nervous. My nerves escalated a little when the kids who had ran the course already imparted their wisdom on us all and advised against wearing spikes due to the large sections of gravel en route. With little grip left on my well-worn trainers to tackle the remaining grassy areas, I felt I had no choice but to go against the important advice I’d received and stuck the trusty spikes on anyway.
The shoes proved helpful over the first section of the course, which was a gradual grassy climb, but for the large sections of gravel track I was left feeling like I was trying to navigate my way through a room of spilt marbles. Luckily, the rest of the club sensibly listened to the younger generation’s advice and I’m sure that many of them had great runs as a result!
The course itself was undulating and challenging, something I didn’t prepare myself for when I set off far too fast in a badly judged bid not to be left behind by the rest of the medium pack. Quickly running out of steam, I knew I’d approached the course all wrong with a (just) sub 7 minute first mile. The trouble then worsened when I realised that the lovely downhill stretch I had spotted earlier didn’t feature on the grown ups’ course. And so I was left with no choice but to cling on for the remaining three miles whilst screaming in my head, “JUST KEEP GOING, THERE’S CAKE AT THE END.”
And boy did the cake make it all better! Thanks to all the bakers for the mouth-watering treats – I think the boys should bake more often! I must also give a special shout out to John McGargill who took up baking for the very first time this week and delivered us a delicious peanut butter and chocolate cake.
All in all we saw fantastic running from everyone. Despite a couple of falls on hidden potholes, there were brilliant sprint finishes all round on the last uphill stretch. It’s also great to see our hard efforts giving our team good results with the Men’s team managing fourth position in the division and the ladies hitting second place.
P.S. It’s also pretty cool to now be able to say I’ve raced an Olympian!
Ah yes, Cross Country has returned.
Freezing cold temperatures and mud up to your waist but hang on a minute, what was that big yellow thing in the sky? And what was that strange substance called “dry ground”? Also new for this season are chip timings in your race number – making it extra important that you don’t lose it/wash it during the season.
Wrekenton was the venue for the first race of the 2016/17 season and despite clashing with a number of other races this weekend, it was a very good turn out from the club with 10 ladies and 13 men taking part. Both teams are already looking capable of achieving promotion this year with hopefully some even stronger performances to follow over the coming few races.
Special shout outs to all the first timers – Abby (promotion to the medium pack in your first race, great stuff), Elaine, Sarah, Claire, Caroline, Tim (1st time for us anyway), Alex and Duncan – hope I haven’t missed anyone.
Special mentions also to Martin Hallissey on a rapid return to the fast pack (he’s got potential that bloke – you heard it here first!) and Matty Bell for his incredible powers of decisiveness over what shoes to wear. Thanks too to all the kids and other club members that came along to cheer us on.
After race cakes and drinks were as splendid as ever – and it’s only 7 days until we get to do it all over again at Druridge Bay when hopefully lots more team members can also be there. Photos of “aeroplanes” etc. all available to view on Facebook.
Cold and muddy? Not a chance.