I didn’t do this race last year as I didn’t think I was good enough. So I decided to go and cheer on my fellow hoops but as I was standing in a cold field I got extremely jealous of the runners, so this year I was going to do it.
The race day started off with me, Scott Garrett and Chris Watson being driven to Sedgefield by Claire Lloyd in her mothers little car. On the way to Sedgefield it started to snow and by the time we got there it was snowing quite heavy and it was freezing.
We didn’t have much time until the men’s race started so we quickly made our way to the tent to get changed for the race and put our race numbers on. Once we were all ready it was time for the men’s team photo. After a few minutes of chatting and trying to keep warm it was time to line up on the start line with over 400 men.
Just before the race was about to start the starter told us we have to do four big laps of the course. Now nobody told me it was FOUR BIG LAPS!! After listening to Keith advice about starting near the front as you can I took the big step of starting up near the front with the fast lads.
The gun went off and I was doing great, I was in the top 50 of runners for about 100 metres. After being so far up the pack I ended up where I belong at the back with the older and slower runner. (It was great for the short time it lasted) For this race all I wanted to do was to keep a good steady pace. As I was completing my first lap I could hear the support from the Saltwell ladies and the fantastic support from Naz, Andy, Peter and Dave who stood in a freezing field all day to cheer us on.
As I started my second lap I started to get lapped by the fast lads, which was fun when we had to go through the freezing massive puddle at the far end of the course. Being lapped by most of the race over my second and third lap didn’t bother me as I’ve made a few good friends from other clubs from doing cross country. The shouts of encouragement you get from the rest of the runners is great. As I started my fourth and final lap I knew I would get lapped by most of the female race doing their race.
As the fast ladies past me I could see in the corner of my eye the queen of saltwell Gemma was catching me, as she over took me with a lovely shout of “keep going Phil”. Not long aster Gemma had passed me it was the turn of Ria Chaston who gave me a friendly smack on my bum. Then Nicola Whitman past me with a another lovely shout of well done. You have to love the saltwell ladies. As I pushed on for the finish I couldn’t feel my toes with the cold and I had no energy left for a sprint finish, my body was hurting so much I was glad to cross the finish line to cheers from Naz, Andy and Dave. Now it was time to get some warm clothes on and cheer in the Saltwell ladies. I know I’m not the best Saltwell runner but I love doing cross country and I look forward to the next fixture.