Saturday (5th January) was the date of the 2019 County Cross Country championships. 7 BPJ ladies and 6 BPJ men travelled to HMPSC Newbold Revel to race against the other County running clubs, in the hope of securing a place on the County team for the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships.  Although a lot of us just wanted to race Cross Country again.  The County championships is held in conjunction with the Warwickshire County Championships too, so there is a good field of runners to race against.

HMPSC Newbold Revel was a new venue for us and it turned out to be a lovely setting, as the Prison training college is an impressive building and the grounds are pretty, with a lake and plenty of trees.  After a walk round part of the course to gauge the mud and hills situation, the ladies all did a warm up before joining the 209 Senior and Masters’ women from Worcestershire and Warwickshire on the start line.  The Juniors had already raced before us but the view ahead of us didn’t look particularly muddy, which was a bonus.

The start was flat, so everyone appeared to sprint off as soon as the starting gun went off and we all headed out onto our first small lap, which took us around the field and the lake and back to the start.  We then headed out onto our second larger lap.  We ran close to the lake but thankfully no-one fell in as we jostled for position.  The course was pretty dry really, with only one puddle to run through, so the pace was quite quick until we arrived at the only significant hill on the course, which was approximately 2 ¾ miles in.  Once we had conquered the hill, we encountered a downhill section, over gravel and then it wasn’t too far until we reached the finish line, having ran 3 ½ miles.

First to finish for BPJ was Meg Judge in 25:08, 48th overall and 14th for Worcestershire.  Bernie Pelster was next to finish in 25:22, 51st overall and 15th for Worcestershire.  Lindsey Goodrum finished in 26:20, 67th overall and 16th for Worcestershire.  Nichola Robinson followed in 27:00, 89th overall and 23rd for Worcestershire.  I finished in 27:54, 111th overall and 28th in Worcestershire.  Dawn Drabble was close behind in 28:36, 117th overall and 29th for Worcestershire and Lucy Sidwell was next in 33:40, 182nd overall and 45th for Worcestershire.

It was a very successful race for BPJ Ladies as Meg, Bernie and Lindsey secured third place for the team, Meg and Bernie received County Team qualification letters and Bernie also secured second place in the Womens’ Masters category.

The mens’ race followed the ladies and the BPJ men lined up amongst 327 runners from Worcestershire and Warwickshire.  The mens’ race entailed two large laps of the course, which was still looking spectacularly unmuddy and led to some very fast times for the 10K course.  First to finish for BPJ men was Adam Jackson in 36:33, 53rd overall and 19th for Worcestershire.  Ridiculously close behind was Nick Drabble in 36:36, 54th overall and 20th for Worcestershire.  Chris Attwood was next in 38:08, 85th overall and 31st for Worcestershire.  Marcus Mingins finished in 42:09, 168th position and 54th for Worcestershire. Ryan Little followed in 43:01, 182nd and 59th for Worcestershire. Next BPJ to finish was Chris Berry in 47:51, 271st and 80th for Worcestershire.  The Mens Team finished 5th.

This really was a lovely venue to race at and our new club Gazebo, made it an even more enjoyable experience.  The next Cross Country race is this Saturday (12th January) for Birmingham League (Mens) and Midlands League (Ladies).  It is at another new venue, Burton Dassett Hills, which looks stunning but rather challenging.  If you would like to join us for this race, let me or Chris Attwood (Mens’ Team Captain) know before Friday.  It will definitely be fun.