English Cross Country Championships.

Bolesworth Castle, Chester.

This year’s National championship was moved from leeds to Bolesworth Castle in Chester and I thought it might be a great opportunity to get a team together as John kept on saying what a great event it was.

So, I asked Dom if we did get enough runners would the club be willing finance the hire of a mini bus? He agreed and tentatively I asked if anyone would be interested, knowing it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, running round a muddy field on a Saturday afternoon! The response was very positive, and we ended up with 15 runners and 1 enthusiastic spectator! Not only did we fill the bus, but Chris volunteered (or was volunteered by Laura) to follow behind with the surplus athletes!

Arrangements were made, and on the 25th of February we all met near the club and, waved off by Kevin, were on our way to see what all this fuss was about? Ben had shared some photos of past events that showed masses of runners and an inspirational post on how he had always wanted to compete in this event, so we were fired up and ready to run in the maroon vest of West Bromwich Harriers! Formed in 1920, one of the founding members of the Birmingham Cross Country League!”

We got there, only missing one turn due to myself and Dom chatting about obscure bands (Sleaford mods and Dry cleaner)!? But even though the organisers had problems getting everyone parked in time for their events we made it onto the coach car park in plenty of time for the women’s race.

Laura D, Laura W, Lexi and Tara completed a full team along with the other 773 competitors and ran the 8k distance on the flat and not very muddy course, I’d say the going was good to soft! Absolutely fantastic achievement to complete a team when so many larger clubs failed. (Unfortunately, Lena was not well enough to run on the day).

691      Alex Moulton              00:51:01

687      Laura Walton             00:50:27

769      Laura Davis               01:08:21

761      Tara Donnelly             01:05:11

While the girls were racing the clouds gathered and the temperature dropped but thankfully, no rain! A lot of the team wore extra layers and we all used spikes with the normal debate 12mm or 15mm? and why do they come with 9mm new?

When we did get to the start, we were near the back of the 1473 field, but we had plenty of time with a 12k distance ahead of us. It’s quite an experience starting the nationals, you can actually feel the ground vibrating as over a thousand men start stampeding towards the first bottleneck! We had to slow down a couple of times as the course narrowed but after about 1k we all had enough room to get into our stride. At this stage I found myself chatting to a runner from Aldridge, Peter Dimbleby, it’s nice to see our local clubs represented although on this occasion somehow, we outnumbered them!

On the course we had John Buckby cheering us on and we also had a ex harrier, Owain Morris, who was marshalling that day. Thanks for the encouragement, guys!

569      Ryan Deakin              00:46:14                    

583      Oli Moore                   00:46:28                    

877      Benjamin Stanaway  00:50:35                    

997      Karl Moore                 00:52:18                    

1033   Daniel Anderson       00:52:57                    

1103   Thomas Heyes          00:54:09                    

1265   Ashish Patel               00:58:12                    

1283   Rob White                  00:58:58                    

1337   Dominic Ashton         01:01:03                    

1411   Daniel Floyd               01:05:09                    

1425   Chris Davis                01:06:11

No new injuries to report, Chris and Daniel had niggles and Ben had the start of a cold coming on. So, with a few calories to replenish we headed into Natwich to find a pub that wasn’t closed for refurbishment! (Thanks sis) For a couple of, not isotonic, drinks. A great day out and the god of lost property blessed me with a new pair of gloves as mine were getting a bit tatty, praise be, and I’m hoping for a new hat next year!   

Next year the Nationals will be held somewhere in the midlands and I’m looking forward to it already! So, our spikes have been put away after our most successful season in a long time. Bring on the relays! Heart n Sole.

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