National Cross Country Report

Venue – Parliament Hills, Hampstead, London

Weather: chilly, slight breeze, clear.

Course: thick sticky deep mud.
The women’s race was off first and was 8K. Watching the race it was apparent the mud was very hard work for all competitors, both at the front of the field and at the back. There were 6 runners from the club all of whom finished, while the team finished 90th out of 93 teams.
The men’s race started while the women’s race was finishing. There was the usual Parliament Hills start, up the hill then a bottleneck at the right turn at the top and where most “runners” slow to a walk. This year though the course for senior men was two laps not three. I don’t know whether this was easier or not because my race lasted about 600m before my hamstring went into spasm. Discretion being the best part of valour I decided to retire and was reduced to being a spectator but I still ended up splattered in mud from passing runners.
Again the going looked tough; few runners seemed to be able to get any rhythm to their running at all. I watched the elite finish, even they seemed to be exhausted and rumours that the Brownlee brothers were running proved to be exactly that – rumours.
18 men started the race with 17 finishers.
The 6 man team finished 110th out of 145.
The 9 man team finished 63rd out of 74.
For full results click on this link:
We set off in the coach to the hotel in Swiss Cottage. However, the coach driver decided to follow a minibus down some residential streets to avoid traffic backlog. The minibus darted off down a side street and got stuck the coach driver realised that at twice the size his vehicle had no chance down there, so he drove straight on up a one way street. Blocked by oncoming traffic he reversed. After much clever manoeuvring we ended up going the original way we would have gone without the short cut.
We headed off to a Pizza restaurant to eat after which we walked towards Camden. Most people popped into the Swiss Cottage for a quick drink where we bumped into Chester-le-street Harriers. After a long walk somebody spotted a pub down a side street The Hawley Arms so in we went a stayed there for the rest of the evening. A trendy Camden music pub playing eighties music it was allegedly the local for Amy Winehouse.


I nipped out to find a cash machine and on my return discovered that Saltwell had taken over a huge table in the corner of the pub and everybody was getting very merry. Towards the end of the evening some members of the club decided to indulge in a bit of table dancing and the bouncers were in like a flash, last orders and time were called. The pub was cleared and splinter groups formed.


Some went in search of taxis others wandered off to other bars or walked back to the hotel. A group of us briefly ended up in the only place that would let us in which was a Brazilian bar then we started walking home. A bus pulled up and we climbed aboard, the driver informed us he couldn’t collect cash anymore (Boris Jonson’s name was mentioned) and that we needed Oyster cards. Cash is too expensive to collect apparently. To his credit he didn’t kick us off so we got a free ride back to the vicinity of the hotel where we bumped into on splinter group going off in search of a kebab.
Richard Townsend