This event is very much an introduction to the cross-country season with a short 1.8 mile course and, as cross-country is more fun when it is wet(!), the weather decided to help with heavy rain before, and at times during, the race. The course is an undulating one on a mix of grass and decent paths. There is a nice section through woodland, a fairly steep but short uphill bit but the most interesting feature is the small stream that ha sto be crossed.
The men’s race is a 4 leg relay and Howard MacLennan led the Claremont veteran team off. As runners were finishing, there was much discussion on the depth of the stream with “thigh high” being a fairly common description! Howard handed onto David Lydall running his first cross-country – naively in ordinary trainers with no change of clothes! David made up a bit of ground and handed over to me. I was glad that I had packed my spikes as I overtook the runner in front who was slipping and sliding on the woodland path. Out of the woods, it was with some trepidation that I approached the stream. I have run this course before and I am sure that the stream could be jumped a few years ago, before becoming a deeper channel that meant stepping in and out but no more than ankle deep. Here I stopped and tentatively stepped down the slippy bank before disappearing into water uo to my shorts (What the hell, I was already wet from the rain!). A couple of steps through and I had to clamber up the muddy bank on the other side before getting running again on the path that twists back before the main climb of the course. Near the top I was overtaken by a very fast runner who was actually on the 4th leg for the winning team. From here on in, it is fairly straightforward and I managed to hold off the 2nd placed runner so that we were only lapped by one team. I handed on to Duncan Scott who made up some more places so that we finished 12th out of 20 veterans’ teams. The men’s times were:
13:17 Howard MacLennan
12:43 David Lydall
11:51 Tom Tinsley
11:52 Duncan Scott
The “elf and safety” team decreed that the stream was too dangerous for the gentler sex, so the ladies had to detour onto the road for a short stretch in order to cross it without getting their feet wet. This is a single race not a relay, and Claremont had 4 participants. All seemed to run well and enjoy it though I feel they were cheated of the full cross-country experience!
20 12:33 Sarah Bowen
34 13:39 Robyn Wynn
49 14:45 Nina Jensen
50 14:47 Mary Martin
Most of the photos below are provided by Howard: