The event is held away from London when the English National XC is due to be held there. This year and in 2012 & 2009 they have been held in Stanmer Park (South Downs), Brighton. In keeping with XC meetings, there are age group events for the various junior groups up to 20 years otherwise one for men over 20 and similarly women. The emphasis is on club teams and registered runners only.
With a significant number of members in and around Brighton and Sussex it was a good opportunity to raise both a men’s and women’s team but you have to be hardy to run XC! Dave Arnold and Peter Simpson are experienced in there kind of conditions. At this year’s event, Paula Blackledge, Christopher Stevenson and Kevin Harris were running their first XC championship. Also running under 13 girls for her local club in Brighton was Astrid Blackledge who is more use to the local Parkruns.
Astrid ran her 3K event in the morning, hours before her mother, Paula ran the women’s 8K. Astrid in the lower end of her age band finished 5th for her club just 1 place outside her scoring team. Dave and Christopher have had many close encounters in Hove Parkruns and men’s 15K was a close affair with Christopher initially leading for the club but Dave’s experience counted finishing less than a minute ahead of Christopher. Peter has not been training or racing much in recent months so it was a case of getting round whereas Kevin ran the Portsmouth Marathon a month earlier. Kevin soon opened a significant gap ahead of Peter and despite Peter’s usual consistency over the three laps and 6 major hills, Kevin was four minutes ahead of Peter.
We had support from members Jemma Saget and Sally Eastall and Dave provided a tent at short notice. It is normal for many clubs to erect their own tent or gazebo plus large club banners, etc. There were photo restrictions this year although Dave took a photo in the descending gloom.
The English National XC is scheduled for Saturday, 21 February in Parliament Hill area of Hampstead Heath, London. Entries closed early January with only Peter Simpson and Matthew Toy entered for the club although some of our 2nd claim members usually enter for their 1st claim club.
Under-13 Girls 3K
Astrid Blackledge (Brighton & Hove City AC) 13.17, 154/247, 5th team member
Paula Blackledge (VRUK)
Dave Arnold (VRUK), 552/855, 1.10.23
Christopher Stevenson (VRUK), 564th, 1.10.58
Kevin Harris (VRUK), 767th, 1.21.21
Peter Simpson (VRUK), 811st, 1.25.49