Southern Masters Cross Country at Claybury Hall, N.E. London
The South of England regional cross country championships took place on 8 December where Peter Simpson was representing VRUK in the V50 / V60 event over 10K or 3.5 laps of the course. The days schedule was also shared with the Southern of England Inter-Counties XC Champs which covered age groups from U13 girls and boys in separate events to senior women and men. In the early stages of the proceeding there were 2 or 3 events on the course at the same time. As the men’s V50/60 competitors lined up, behind us were the U13 girls all early awaiting to start.
It was a sunny day and the frost had long since gone away and the course looked quite soft and slippery. Starting in a high spot it was a comfortable start. My first event for nearly two months, I was not in the best of fitness so took it steadily to see how I could cope and attempt to maintain a reasonable pace. A lot of the 100 runners who were competitive, eased ahead and I wondered if I was last but on reaching a turning point on the far side I could see some runners well behind me.
The hills were fairly short which helped me but I did not enjoy the two stretches of hard paths which turned the event into a multi-terrain course. Finishing each long lap involved climbing on a long stretch of hard path.
In the 2nd long lap I appeared to be improving my position as I caught up a group 4 runners and eased ahead giving me confidence to see if I could catch other nearest runners. I passed another two before approaching the finish I was overhauled by many of the leaders in the U15 girls race. I was fairly exhausted at the finish and relieved it was over. I finished 77 / 101 indicating the competitive nature of the event.
Sid Delara was meant to be competing but unfortunately was delayed on the train and arrived to support me.