Updated: Nov 20
Written by XC Captain Trev-I-Run-Up-Hills
This was the first of the three ‘majors’ in XC racing… Open to runners and clubs with links to London and clubs just on the outskirts of London. In the preceding week we had quite a bit of rain which meant this was very much a squishy mud-fest of a race! Fortunately there was no rain on the day and it was quite a nice temperature to run in. Every cloud and all that!
First up was the ladies race, and with the classic uphill start that has become a feature of Parliament Hill racing, the 14 banditas lined up on the start line, balancing the clutch to prevent rolling backwards down the hill. The route was up the hill, then 2 x 2km-ish laps around some muddy fields and then a lovely speedy downhill stretch to the finish line. The starter gun was fired and they were off on their 6km speed-expedition around the sodden green fields of Hampstead Heath!
Hannah Cox led the charge for the Fulham runners, finishing the race in 12th position overall in a time of 24:44, followed by Jade Maclaren (a middle distance runner still finding her legs in this kinda distance) in 43rd overall in a time of 26:39. Taking 3rd bandita was the consistently consistent Sophie McKeeman in 44th pos overall and only 8 seconds behind Jade! Well done to our first three finishers and to the rest of the ladies that ran… Some good performance across the board meant that the ladies team finished 8th on the day (out of 28 teams). Just superb!
Next up was the men’s race… A compact team of 8 bandits toeing the start line for this 10.75km race (similar course to the ladies but with 2 extra loops thrown in). Now, you may all remember that iconic photo from the Nationals a few years ago when Jackie Skinner led ALL the ladies up the hill at the start of the race… This time it was Tom Mackay trying to recreate that classic shot. Not on purpose (he says), but once the starter gun fired he galloped up the hill leaving all the other runners in his wake, a quick glance back followed by a bemused grin, he managed to hold first place for around 700m before being overtaken.
Tom didn’t slip (and slide) too far down the field as the race progressed and finished in a respectable 18th position in a time of 40:16. 2nd bandit across the line in 145th position overall was the ever-casual but fast runner; John Wray in 46:11 followed by Tom Sherry in 221st and a time of 49:19. Well done chaps. The team finished in 22nd? position overall.
Thank you to the Cheer Squad
As always… Thanks to the cheer squad for turning up and keeping us going in those tough conditions
The next ‘major’ event is the Southern Cross Country Championships taking place at Beckenham Place Park on Saturday 27th January 2024, but before that we have the all-important 3rd fixture of the Surrey League Cross Country league at Oxshott Woods on Saturday 13th January. And lets not forget the FRC XC championships taking place on Sunday 10th December 2023 at the Thames Hare and Hounds Second Sunday five race on Wimbledon Common.
Please keep an eye on the Facebook events for details on how to get involved.
Team Racing is an Important Element of Our Running Club
I will finish this by saying that Team racing is an important element of our running club… and also one of the most enjoyable and rewarding! I recommend you come along and try it out sometime to find out for yourself!
See you at the next race!
Your XC Captains (Trev, Hannah, Bov and Katie)
Photo credits: Lara, Cara & Dylan