So this is the second Cross Country fixture of the season and my first having missed the first one at Cramlington because of running the York Marathon the following day. It was also the Davison Shield/Sherman Cup which means there’s no packs and everyone starts at the same time.
Conditions on the day were pretty good for a cross country race – pretty windy but warm and firm underfoot and there was only really the last section round the football pitches that was really exposed to the wind.
I have to say I love the cross country races. There’s something very basic (and many people would say mad) to running round a muddly field in the middle of winter in sometimes horrendous conditions. I love the racing , but I also love the social side too – I never get to training sessions because of work commitments so it’s always nice to catch up to people in the club the see what they’ve been up to and also people from other clubs who I know too.
Its also nice to be able to watch the ladies race & cheer on the team before out race starts.
Last year in the Sherman Cup (in Tanfield) I badly pulled my hamstring in the first 100m so I was hoping for a better performance this year. It’s only been 2 weeks since York & in the few runs I’ve done since then I’ve never felt good and I knew I’ve lost some top end speed so I was interested to see how I’d get on in the race.
At the gun everyone was off like a shot they was they always are in cross country races and there were many runners in front of me but I didn’t go all out and try and keep up with them as I knew I had to pace myself and run my own race.
I noticed one of the new lads, Hiruy, racing off into the distance in front of me and I hoped he hadn’t went off too fast.
The first half of the course has a few little ups and downs – nothing too serious (like the hill at Prudhoe which unfortunately isn’t part of the calendar this year), but enough to shake it up a bit. Theres also a short section which if you aren’t wearing spikes (which I wasn’t) there is an option of running on path (which I did).
There is then a short inclne where most of the spectators congregate and is good for a motivation boost, followed by a decline & loop round the football pitches with the wind in your face (good place to tuck in behind other runners).
I clocked my first lap at 11:20 & based on this I knew that the course was shy of 10k (the average of most xc races) so tried to adjust my pace to compensate for this. Up until this point Hiruy had been around 100 metres in front of me but now I was catching him fast & I realised he had went off too fast – I just hoped he’d be able to hang on till the end. I went past him & overtook anothe 20 or so runners on this lap. I thought I heard someone shouting out positions to other runners & head 20 something which I was happy with as a top 30 finnish would be a great time.
On the third lap I pretty much held my position – overtook a few & got overtook by a few & finnished in 35-51 (for what Scott reckons was 5.7 miles). I then back to the finnishing funnel to cheer the rest of the team coming home.
In the end I must have either been deaf or hallucinating as I ended up in 86th place, nowhere near 30th but the best I’ve felt running since York and no injuries/niggles following the race which is always a good thing.
Results from the race can be found here