In my previous cross country post, I mentioned that I both love and hate it. It has been a month, so time for some more running in the mud. This time in we were in Cirencester for round 2 of the Oxfordshire Cross Country League, held in Cirencester Park, part of the Bathhurst Estate, with some lovely woods and a hill or two thrown in. This is a proper cross country course.
I had run a hard effort parkrun in Banbury the day before finishing 7th in 20:46. A minute off my pb, but good in the wet, slippy conditions. I was still feeling that parkrun when we lined up on the Cirencester start line.
Cirencester Park is a proper cross country course with some killer hills with lots of mud and woods. Three laps in total, one slightly shorter and two long ones.
After the start Henry, Ben and Dewi went off ahead of me and I settled into the battle with JP and Danny, determined to keep ahead of them. My I pushed it to my aerobic threshold on the hills and flats, then on the downhills used my fast downhill technique to pull clear or overtake other runners. I was always conscious that JP and Danny were chasing me down.
I kept the effort steady and used the fast downhills to my advantage. There was one very steep hill to climb at the end of each lap, which I ran halfway and then power hiked to the top. This allowed me to recover slighlty and then run strong on the flat section. As Dewi tired in the last lap I overtook him on the flat section and as I looked back a few yards behind was JP and Danny. I put the hammer down through the woods determined not to be passed by anyone.
After cresting the last killer hill on the 3rd lap I sprinted for the line. I was crusing as I crossed the line, so I was shocked when Nicholas Tuttle from Heddington Road Runners clattered past me right on the line. Oh well, that will teach me to ease off right on the line. I should have thrown my hands wide as I got to the line.
I was satisfied with my performance, 134th in 43:33, only 3 places behind the previous race. Again I was third CRJ runner and contributed points to our A team.
Afterwards we had lots of lovely cake, but alas no coffee. We had some comedy moments putting the club tent down. It is one of those pop-up designs.
Top 5 Men
29 Henry Sleight Senior 37:57
120 Benedict Heaney Senior 42:53
134 Simon Prytherch Vet2 43:33
142 John-Paul Hamilton Vet2 43:48
155 Dewi Thomas Vet1 44.34
Top 5 Women
48 Jessie Roberts Senior 36:30
72 Clare Curnow Vet2 38:52
78 Claire Stratford Vet1 39:15
88 Martha Bagnall Senior 40:22
106 Helen Walker Vet3 42:22