Lurgies, family events and being at university thinned us down to 5 but that did include 3 first outings for the 16/17 XC season; Pollyanna Green, as a former junior runner now back in the Bingley area and re-joined, whetting her appetite for the next XC season, Alana Gill just given the injury all clear from her physio to race, and Mary Green happily available for the day. And what a race for a first XC of the season. As we walked from the car park to the start area – I noticed that returning juniors and parents were well muddied up, and much of the area around the club tents was already reaching ‘wet festival’ depth. Fresh rain overnight and during the day had not drained and the many feet of the earlier junior races had already paddled long sections of the course into unavoidable quagmires. But the excitement of the race to come was still holding sway and we headed off in good spirits for a warm up – mostly running in the soft but still grassy areas alongside the course. The rain had stopped, there was a hint that some sun may even arrive, and there was good Bingley support around the course. The course looped around the rolling rough park land and grazing fields of Knowsley Safari Park – 2 large laps for the Senior Ladies race, and the long gently rising sections seemed readily runnable on the grass. We lined up amongst 361 on the Ladies start– Dave ‘Woodentops’ Woodhead was there with his camera.
Alana Gill, Lesley Watson, Pollyanna Green, Mary Green and Becky Weight.
I would like to say it was all downhill from there but unfortunately not – in the sucking sliding squelching mud those gentle rises became seemingly unending and exhausting hills – especially for some of those ‘new this season’ cross country legs.
Lesley was our first finisher (108, 38.57) followed by Polly (159, 41.29), Becky (203, 43.27), Mary (219, 44.40) and Alana (237, 45.59). We were 27th team out of 44 with many more Northern clubs represented – a great result especially with some of our faster runners missing. Claire Duck of Leeds was first home over the 8km course in 30.46, 44 seconds clear of Hattie Archer of Hallamshire, and helped give Leeds a clear team win. Full results are at http://www.northernathletics.org.uk/2017-results-index/
Also great to see some of our junior ladies and girls competing and supporting – Vicky Merrick and Katie Smith (U17), Ruby Firth (U15) and Holly Walters (U13). A massive thanks as always for the tent and all the great support to Tony, Graham and Dave, and a special mention for Katie and Ruby who were on the course supporting all the races to the end.
Lesley still on grass at the start
Becky & Lana pushing to the top of one those interminable soft sucking slopes.
Polly and Mary fighting for places in the mud.
That ‘finished feel good’ factor ;-). Photos courtesy of Dave Woodhead, Woodentops.org.uk