Normal cross country not tough enough for you? Too short? Not competitive enough?
Adam Brown reports on his trip to the Northern Cross Country Championships with our club champion – hard core!
A couple of weeks ago myself and John McGargill did a 180 mile round trip to the beautiful stately home of Harewood House just north of Leeds for the Northern Athletic Cross Country Championships. As we pulled in I commented to John how dry it was. As you may have guessed I was later proven spectacularly wrong.
We headed towards tent city for registration then off to the communal changing tents and then had a little warmup. 15 minutes before our start time the ladies race was beginning to finish so we watched a few of them cross the line caked in mud and one lass crying her eyes being consoled by her team mates, not a good sign.
So off we went to the start to find our pen with about 800 other runners. Looking a round there were runners from all over the north ranging from Derby across to Liverpool and several clubs from the North East too. There are lots pens stretching over 50 metres or so with having about 20 runners in each making the start not particular congested and the course doesn’t tighten up until about 200 metres in so the fast guys were well ahead by then.
We turned back on ourselves after running up a reasonable hill to be greeted by a 500 metre stretch of mud which was easily half a foot deep. And so it began! On a steep down slope it got worse and was actually almost impossible to run. There was a guy from Bradford who unfortunately lost his spikes right in front of me and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry with/at him.
After about 3 km I was seriously starting to get worried at how I was going to finish this. Thankfully after climbing a killer hill we split off to a part of the course which hadn’t been used by any of the other races and was mostly level or downhill so everyone managed to get a bit of breath back. Each lap was 6 km long so by the time I crossed the line for lap 2 the field was massively split. The second lap was even harder.
After the race we headed back to Johns car where we managed to get stuck in the mud, thankfully about 5 other runners were on hand to push us out and then off we went homeward bound.
The nationals are due to be held at the same location next year and I’d love to do this course again so hopefully a few more may fancy it.
John McGargill 432nd 0:54:40
Adam Brown 674th 1:04:56
P.S. I couldn’t find any pictures of me on the finishing straight, probably because it was almost dark by the time I got around.