National X-C Champs 2013
[Sat 23rd Feb]
a rather chilly afternoon when we arrived at Herrington Park, using the park
and ride to good effect to get to the start in plenty of time. With an inch of
snow on the ground it was threatening more , but it never materialised, the mud
however more than made up for the lack of further snow !.
For once it was the Ladies turn to go first for two arduous laps of the course, seeing all 427 ladies getting under way was a very impressive sight. In next to no time it was time for the men's team to get to the start line with xc veteran Dave Bradley leading the way to the start, along with Jon French, Graeme Stewart, Iain singer, Kevin freeman and me. With our feet already frozen, off we went with 1000 other nutters for 3 laps, there were a couple of tasty inclines but the mud near the end of each lap was the worst, getting harder and harder to get through with each successive lap. Thankfully the lasses and Ralph gave us some much needed encouragement !.
But get through it we did, all of us just glad to finish ! Even getting changed afterwards was a chore, but once dry and with slightly less muddy clothes were finally put on it was with a feeling of relief, satisfaction, hunger, and in desperate need of a shower that we all shuffled off home.
So, has this put me off cross countries , nah, bring on Alnwick next Saturday ! "
On the 23rd February the highlight of the cross country season took place - the English National Cross Country Championships at East Herrington Country Park, Sunderland - and it was great to see Blyth ladies out in force competing in these championships.
Heather Christopher, Susi Hunter, Phillippa Baxter, Hayley Mastermann, Helen Morris , Heather Barrass and Emma Freeman all ran the very tough hilly 2 lap 8km course in freezing, snowy, muddy conditions.
The race was won by international runner Louise Damen in 29.31: the first North East runner was Alex Snook from Jarrow and Hebburn who finished 34th in 33.28: the first Blyth runner was Heather Christopher who finished 187th in 40.33; closely followed by Susanne Hunter 197th in 40.52.
There were 427 ladies who finished the course.
The Nationals were held at Sunderland 6 years ago - and only myself competed - 2013, Blyth ladies had almost 2 full teams (7 ladies) competing and finished 9th North Eastern team; 29th overall. This is a great achievement for the ladies of the club, beating the championship team of Morpeth and a lot of our neighbouring North East clubs.
After a quick change, few photos and a cup of hot tea - the ladies were back out on the course supporting the men in the main blue riband event.
Everyone enjoyed a great day.
Full results are found on : www.englishcrosscountry.co.uk