The first cross-country race of the year took place at Brand’s Hatch race circuit (caravan park) for the Kent Champs.
Unlike 2016’s somme-like conditions and the quagmire of our local parkrun, runners reported the course was pretty good to run on this year and the only sign of winter were the brisk temperatures. No fog for us spectathletes and great for photos thankfully! The men’s course covered 3 ½ laps and 7.5 miles of the camping field and comprised of a couple reasonable climbs each lap, with the ladies missing a lap to make up 5 miles.
Despite better conditions, I would still recommend checking that your spikes are actually in your spike shoe bag, as Matt ‘Racing Flats’ Clark found the course a little more challenging than everyone else.
The men’s race had some clear leaders from the start, with Kent AC easily dispatching efforts from Invicta and Tonbridge. Andy Howey had a great race, looking strong throughout until being pounced on at the finish line by Tonbridge AC’s James ‘JT’ Taylor (evidenced here). Matt Ferris, in his second XC race for the club, showed another strong performance taking my usual place of second harrier home. Simon Howden, Dave Hadaway and Adam Dennis got into a good grouping, changing places throughout each lap but with Simon pulling ahead for a commanding lead at the finish – sadly overtaken by former harrier Lloyd ‘insert clubname here’ Collier, shown here in his natural running style.
Unlike in previous years, despite not having a full ladies 6-to-score team and the men wanting to start on the cake haul, there was no threat of not participating in the ladies race. Especially due to the presence of former-winner and new harrier Deidre McDermot! Deidre held strong with the lead pack before even Tonbridge AC’s Lucy Reid was dominated by Aldershot’s best. There was a great battle for 3rd place with Maria Heslop sitting 10m behind for some time until the final lap, Deidre eventually taking a fantastic 4th finish and selection for the inter-counties. Captain Jillian Holford also held off some strong competition from Tonbridge AC’s Rachel Fagg.
In all – a great race to spectate, cakes were provided by myself, Mike Russell and Carol Tsang (Hadders shown in cake heaven here). Thanks to those who came to support.
Post race venue was again the Five Bells in Eynsford, which you may know from the Darent Valley 10k.
Post-post race venue was the Ragged Trousers, post-post-post race venue was the Pantiles Tap, etc etc
Thanks to everyone who came along to support, I’ve popped the photos up at the usual place
Next race is the SEAA champs on 27th January at Stanmer Park down in Brighton. Details closer to the day.
The ladies were 6th/18 teams in their 3-to-score
|46||44:18:00||Andy Howey||V55||Tunbridge Wells|
|93||48:21:00||Matthew Ferris||SEN||Tunbridge Wells|
|121||50:24:00||Simon Howden||V45||Tunbridge Wells|
|127||50:38:00||Dave Hadaway||V50||Tunbridge Wells|
|128||50:46:00||Adam Dennis||V35||Tunbridge Wells|
|161||53:58:00||Matthew Clark||V45||Tunbridge Wells|
|164||54:21:00||Geoff Turner||V55||Tunbridge Wells|
|165||54:26:00||Neil Clark||V40||Tunbridge Wells|
|184||57:51:00||Michael Russell||V50||Tunbridge Wells|
|187||58:20:00||George Harris||V40||Tunbridge Wells|
|195||59:54:00||Mel Taylor||V50||Tunbridge Wells|
|197||60:53:00||Nick Pierce||V60||Tunbridge Wells|
|1||30:09:00||Emily Hosker Thornhill||SEN||Aldershot, Farnham & District/New Mexico Uni|
|4||31:58:00||Deirdre McDermot||V35||Tunbridge Wells/Ireland|
|33||37:26:00||Jillian Holford||V45||Tunbridge Wells|
|86||42:17:00||Suzannah Kinsella||V45||Tunbridge Wells|
|95||43:49:00||Clare Andrew||V40||Tunbridge Wells|
|109||47:22:00||Carol Tsang||V40||Tunbridge Wells|
Men’s XC Captain