Rain is usually welcomed for most cross country events rather than ice and freezing weather. The joint Championships went ahead as normal with this year’s venue Stockwood Park in Luton also the home of Luton United Athletic Club with the benefit of their changing facilities and clubhouse overlooking the track but obviously not used for the event.
I was well warmed up getting to the venue following the hill climb from the town centre. Some clubs setup their tents on the edge of the park near the start / finish. I have had plenty of cycling and walking recently in relation to work but little running so the plan was to run to get round.
The start of cross country events can be problem with so many runners wearing spike. I had two runners step on my feet at the start line but relieved their spikes if any did not penetrate my shoes. I was wearing my normal moulded stud fell shoes.
The course was two large laps taking runners around the edge of the park into a dip and onto the edge of a golf course / farmer’s field and back onto the park followed by a smaller lap also into the dip.
The area in the dip was obviously flooded in places with two small streams and other areas of surface water plus the usual mud.
The men’s race also incorporated separate races for the over 60s (up to 69) and the junior men’s (under-20) who ran shorter distances.
I went off cautiously so it seemed I was near the rear as normal for these events. The rather flat nature of the course with few obstructions made it for an easier run despite the weather conditions. There was still some rain and my arms & hands soon became numb.
Gradually as the race progressed I seemed to overtake a small number of competitors which gave me confidence. A few runners were wearing road shoes and appeared to be struggling if not falling over.
As we went into the dip for the third time I was unsure if we were continuing with a further lap but I was relieved to be diverted up the incline but did not like the hard path towards the end. Back onto the park proper I still managed a flourish to finish. I heard the timekeeper mention 57 minutes about 2 minutes slower than normal.
Result details from the Power of 10 website:-
Overall Position 140 / 154
Buckinghamshire Champs 63 / 68
Bucks V50-59: 7 / 8
Wearing running tights I was almost clean. The water on the course helped to keep the mud off the bottom of the shoes also assisting during the run. The warm showers were nevertheless a welcome sight.