Saturday (12th January) was the date of race 3 of the Birmingham (mens) and Midlands (Ladies) Cross Country leagues.  BPJ men and women were at the same venue again, which was a new one at Burton Dassett Hills, Southam.  If you imagine what it would be like racing on British Camp, Malvern Hills, that will give you an indication of what the venue was like.  Gorgeous views for miles, exposed and very undulating.

8 BPJ Ladies and 13 BPJ men made the journey up the motorway to this beautiful area of Warwickshire, which really must be a ramblers’ delight.  It probably is one of the most scenic venues we have encountered but also very windy at the top.  However, we managed to find a sheltered area to pitch our gazebo and get ready for the challenging race ahead.  We all did a short warm up, trying to follow the ticker tape and fathom out where the course went to.

The Ladies race was at 1.30pm and it was the first time that we have raced with our own division only (Division 1), so there were 156 ladies running, instead of the normal 400+.  Our race involved 2 laps plus an extra loop to the finish.  I wish I could talk you through the course but it was very disorientating and consisted of running downhill, back uphill, downhill, back uphill and round the top of the hills constantly for 4.16 miles, before we made it to the uphill finish and staggered over the  line.  That said, there was hardly any mud (which is extremely rare this late into the Season) and it was certainly not a boring course. First to finish for BPJ ladies was Lindsey Goodrum in 33.03 and 79th position, next was Bernie Pelster in 33.51 and 92nd, Katie Downing finished in 34.47 and 102nd, I was next in 35.35 and 110th, Danielle Mitchell followed in 36:13 and 116th, Claire Shacklock finished in 40.44 and 138th and Lucy Sidwell in 42.39 and 142nd.  The team finished 15th and the Masters team were 10th.

The mens’ Division 2 race followed ours and as the conditions weren’t muddy, we hadn’t churned the course up too much for them.  337 men ran 3 laps of the course and a total of 5.7 miles, they looked even more disorientated than we were afterwards.  First to finish for BPJ men was Adam Jackson in 36.05 and 7th position, Matt Davis was next in 37.54 and 26th, Jon Newey finished in 38.07 and 30th position, Chris Attwood finished in 40.05 and 66th, Nick Hooper finished in 41.06 and 79th, Rob Ciancio in 41.24 and 85th, Marcus Mingins finished in 42.56 and 110th, Ryan Little in 43.09 and 112th, Simon Griffiths in 44.10 and 130th, Nick Dauncey finished in 45.59 and 146th, Daniel Scolari in 46.21 and 151st, Dave Bessant in 50.02 and 178th and Chris Berry in 51.26 and 183rd.  The A team finished 9th and the B team 7th.

After 3 races the mens’ team are in 5th position so are secure in Division 2 and will try to push for promotion to Division 1.  There are no series results for the ladies yet but we aren’t secure in Division 1 at the moment.  Hopefully we can field a big team for the final race to try and stay up.

The Season really does fly by and with only one more Midlands/Birmingham League race and one more Gloucestershire League race left, there aren’t many more opportunities to experience the fun and exertion of Cross Country.  If you would like to join us in Gloucester (ladies) or Stoke on Trent (men) on 9th February let myself or Chris Attwood know.