Last Saturday (6th January) the Men and Ladies’ Cross Country teams travelled to Warley Woods, Smethwick for this year’s County Cross Country championships.  It had been the venue for the 2016 County Championships too, so quite a few of us were familiar with the challenges presented by the course. The temperature had dropped considerably on Saturday for the race but conditions under foot weren’t too bad, although there were a few sticky, muddy sections.

10 ladies and 9 men were representing the club and we all did various warm-ups and carried out a recce of the course before lining up on the start-line.  As well as Worcestershire club runners, the Warwickshire County championship was also taking place at the same time meaning that altogether there were 175 runners in the ladies’ race and 281 in the mens’.

As the wind was biting cold, we were all quite keen to get started and as soon as the whistle was blown, the ladies sprinted off to tackle the 3 lap course.  Within 200m we were presented with our first hill, which seemed to wind around to a path and then a wooded area, that had a few hidden dangers in the name of exposed roots.  If we managed to stay upright, we were then treated to a sticky downhill section through the trees before heading back out into daylight and zig-zagging across the field, past the start and ready to start our second lap and then finally our third.  As always, after 3.5 challenging miles, we were all pleased to see the finish line.

The ladies team did very well with Sophie Booth leading the team home in fifth place and a time of 23:25, grabbing a spot on the County team too.  Next was Emily Seward in 11th position (25:28), Meg Judge soon followed in 12th (25:47) with Victoria Watkins in 14th (26:36).  Lindsey Goodrum was next to finish in 24th position (28:42) then Rebecca Terry in 25th (28:49), Lorraine Griffiths was next in 28th position (29:12).  Jess Hathaway followed shortly after in 35th position (30:45), Wendy Cole came in next in 47th position (34:20) with Cat Kelly not far behind in 52nd position (35:20).

It was a great performance from the Ladies as they finished second team overall and Emily Seward was 1st in her age category.

Before too long the men were lining up for their race, whereby they faced 4 laps with a few extra zig zags to make it up to 5.7 miles.  The men put in another strong performance with Adam Jackson leading the team home in second position and 33:46, also earning a place on the County Team.  Next to finish was Neil Laurenson in 8th position (34:21), with Paul Childs in 23rd position (36:02).  Matt Davis was next back in 24th position (36:49) with Chris Attwood not far behind in 28th (37:16).  Nick Hooper soon finished in 36th position (38:32), with Chris Harris following in 43rd position (39:50).  Ryan Little finished in 56th position (42:19) and Nick Eacock came home in 63rd position (44:37).

This was also an impressive performance by the Men who finished as third team overall.  Adam Jackson won a silver medal for finishing second overall, Matt Davis was third in his age category and Nick Hooper was second in his.

This Cross Country season is shaping up to be one of the club’s most successful ever and we’re still only half way through!  The next Midlands League (Ladies) and Birmingham League (Mens) race is next Saturday (13th) and we’re all racing together at the same venue at Cofton Park.  If you would like to take part, contact Chris Harris (Mens Team Captain) or me (Ladies Team Captain) before the end of the week.  I can guarantee that it won’t be easy but it will be fun.