This was my first cross country for over a year, so thankfully the weather was kind and the course not too muddy with just a couple of boggy stretches. Wrekenton doesn’t have the mega-hills of Prudhoe or the Town Moor, but there are a couple of steep climbs on each circuit of the 3 lap course which take their toll by the end. There was a decent Claremont turnout with 13 of us starting in the men’s race.
As usual I went off too fast then settled into a pace just slightly too quick for me to maintain for 3 laps! I could see Jeremy Smith going well in front of me as we started the first climb. The field was still quite crowded at this point which meant that we had to be careful on the downhill stretch, it then started to spread out a bit as we went out over the flatter section. As we turned to head back towards the start I went flying head first – nothing hurt except my pride – and then was almost immediately overtaken by Matthew Kingston and Paul Robinson who were kind enough not to laugh. I just about got around the first lap before the next of the Claremont team overtook me and that was Brendan McMillan who was on his way to a fantastic 9th place finish despite starting from the medium pack. Needless to say he very quickly disappeared from view. Congratulations to Brendan who has now been promoted to the fast pack.
I had now settled into my “just keep going there are two more laps with hills to do” pace when Chris Jones overtook me looking very strong to be followed not much later by Alasdair Wilson Craw. Just as we were about to start the climb of the main hill, I saw Paul Robinson step off the course. Paul was struggling with a stitch and eventually had to drop out. I managed to keep in site of Alasdair though and eventually caught him back up just before the last hill. I tried to encourage him saying “come on, just one more hill” but I’m not sure that he appreciated it. So I now realised that I was definitely going to be a Claremont counter and tried to push on for a fast finish but the legs just weren’t up to it and I lost a couple of places to some sprint finishes. Never mind!
Sumanth, Jamie, Bill, Mungai, Dave Kear and Kenny completed the team. It was Mungai’s cross country debut and he had warmed up by doing the parkrun in the morning! He has also discovered that you need different footwear but was still saying that he would run again.
There were also a couple of debutants in the 8-strong ladies team – Izzy Hodge and Lucy Eland. This was an impressive turnout by the girls as they were without a couple of the usual cross-country stalwarts. The Ladies race was led by a young lady from Newcastle University who seemed to be miles clear, but there was an impressive grouping of Claremonters well positioned as they passed me on the first lap. Mandy Herworth was leading the way with Kate Sergeant and Julie Cross in very close pursuit. Nina Jensen was also going well, Izzy was putting in an impressive run for her debut and Mary was also looking strong. Just behind Mary, Lucy seemed to enjoy her first cross-country experience as she had a smile on her face each time she went by, whereas Debbie looked very determined (but finished with a smile!). They maintained this order to the end for a very creditable team performance.
I don’t have the Men’s team position yet, but as I was 5th counter then I don’t think it was very good! Let’s have some of the faster lads out next time! Individual results:
|9||36:37 (34:07)||McMILLAN, Brendan|
The Ladies team came 4th in Division 2 on the day. Individual results: