I don’t think anyone would ever describe Cross Country racing as easy. However, some courses are easier than others. The venue for our second race of the Midlands/Birmingham leagues at Wellcombe Hills, Stratford, is not one of those “easier” courses. Having raced there twice before, quite a few of us knew exactly how challenging the course could be, but also that it would prepare us mentally and physically for future tough races.
So, on Saturday, the men and women’s teams headed to Stratford (with our fantastic new gazebo) and set about doing as well as possible, to try and ensure promotion to division 1 for the men and security in division 1 for the ladies. First to race were the women, who fielded a team of 13. The ladies race involved 410 runners from Divisions 1 and 2 and the start was at the bottom of a hill. We couldn’t actually see the top of the hill, so it was beneficial to just focus on the part that we were on at the time.
Once we reached the top, we went through a muddy, treacherous area with tree roots to contend with, we then ran along and round before being faced with a steep descent, then another hill, which went up and round. At the top of this, we tried to recover a bit before heading back to the top of the hill and across the field before zig zagging across and up and then finally down to the end of the first lap. We then did it all over again. The second lap was particularly leg zapping, so I think we were all relieved to see the downhill to the finish and then a quick sprint to the finish line.
First to finish for the ladies was Sophie Booth in 31:21 and 57th position. The rest of the results for each of the team can be found here. Our overall team position was 15th and the Masters team were 7th. We have 2 races left to try and stay up in Division 1 and as long as we continue to field a large, strong team, this is achievable.
Once we had all finished our tough 2 laps (4.2 miles) and put on a few more layers in our lovely new gazebo, it was time to watch the men tackle 3 laps (6.1 miles) of the same course. 225 men from Division 2 headed off up the hill for the first time and it wasn’t long before they were zig zagging their way across and down and then up the hill another 2 times. First to finish for Black Pear Joggers was Tony Farnsworth in 38:39 and 10th position, the rest of the results for the team can be found here. The A team finished in 6th position and the B Team in 9th place. After 2 races the men’s team are currently sitting in 4th place, so just need to leap frog the team in 3rd place to ensure promotion at the end of the season, which I’m sure is possible.
The next Cross Country race is for the Gloucestershire League on Sunday 9th December at Wootton Under Edge, but as most of the team will be at Telford 10K, there might not be much of a club turnout. The following race will be the Worcestershire County Cross Country Championships at HMPSC Newbold Revel on 5th January. If you would like to race this, let me know before 15th December, you just need to be born in or have resided in the County for 9 continuous months and be up for a muddy challenge.