A scurry of 7 hardcore cross country superstar squirrels ran at the National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill, London. It’s such an epic, iconic event with the best cross country runners in the country as well as many others such as ourselves just hoping to test ourselves and enjoy the challenge.
From the top of the hill, you can see the London city skyline and hundreds of club gazebos and sale flags.
The weather was fantastic - we dropped lucky with that - and it was a lovely day. However the course was absolutely brutal! Kudos to the organisers for finding the most challenging features in Hampstead Heath and linking them all together. With thick mud and hills and laps. The senior races were later in the day after all of the juniors had ran laps, churning up the course as best they can - ready for us. There was mud in places that came up to your mid shin and you lost sight of your shoes. Every step was a lottery of wondering if you’d still have a shoe on when you stepped out - and there were shoes stuck in there. I actually saw a bloke running with no shoes on at all… There was also a couple of hills that were reminiscent of Royston heath hills where you had to wonder if walking would be faster. There was also a mud stream to run through. When you got to the 'normal' cross country bits, it felt like running on an athletics track!
The field of senior women had 1010 finishers. Carina Quayle was first sow finishing 960th in 58:28 - very closely followed by Lindsay Cook, 961st in 58:30.
The junior men had 211 finishers including Matthew Ronayne 203rd in 46:02.
There were 2087 finishers in the senior men. Mark Vaughan was first boar home, finishing 672nd in 54:58. Vince Wright finished 924th in 58:27, John Auld was 1305th in 1:03:49 and James Walsh, 1578th in 1:08:37.
We also had fantastic support from Sue Vaughan and Andrew Leach on the course. Very much appreciated!
Our gazebo is prominent on the live feed on England athletics YouTube channel. It looked amazing. Mark, Vince and myself carried the gazebo there and back. It was especially tough going back, but was well worth the effort as it does look fantastic.
The link is here if you fancy watching it, it has a few camera and is commentated.
Our club vests are also amazing. I heard many supporting words for North Herts Road Runners and I feel this is because the vest is very distinctive and the name is easy to pick out.
My main objectives were to finish the race and also ideally finish with two shoes on and not get lapped by Mahamed Mahamed, Emile Cairess or Alex Yee. I was genuinely proud of actually finishing the race as it was so tough. I was absolutely exhausted at the end of the day, but really pleased with my effort and I had tremendous fun with some fantastic team mates.
I would personally like to thank everybody that came out. I really enjoyed the day.
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