Parliament hill is a very silly race course.
The 2018 National XC Champs returned for its triennial visit to Hampstead Heath and 13 brave/foolhardy harriers, including 5 newbies to the course, commuted to our usual spot by the running track railings.
Its been a pretty wet winter if you hadn’t noticed, but for those familiar with the course, it was pretty ‘dry’ for how bad it can get. Not to say it wasn’t the usual boggy mess after having thousands of runners cover the course before you. Thankfully, as in a number of previous years, the weather was a cool 4 degrees but brilliant sunshine kept you warm out of the wind.
To give you an idea of the experience, 1 or 2 thousand runners in a line all charge up a hill which narrows until you have to fit them all through a tiny gap, resulting in a massive crush and a lot of spike incidents. You then fall downhill into the ‘bowl’ – a huge expanse of land with a course line that finishes around 30m wide by the end of the race as everyone struggles to the sides for traction, and that’s just the first 1km. It’s a very silly race.
In the ladies 8k race, Harriet stormed home in a fantastic 174th place, our best ladies position in a nationals since I’ve been captain and her first time on the course.
In the men’s 12k race, Andy’s training continued to pay off with a similarly great position for a national-level race and Matt Ferris took my usual second place away with a great start through the 3 crushes on the first shorter lap and also being faster than me. There was a good fight behind us with Hadders taking the lead in a pretty close harriers pack for such a large field.
As is customary, my shoes did not survive the race, with my left spike plate being literally sucked off of my shoe in one of the bogs. Though despite becoming a racing flat I somehow made it round the course!
We then went en-masse to the Southampton Arms before moving on to the unfamiliar sight of a reopened Dartmouth Arms.
A record ten harriers then moved into the Monsoon to be greeted by our annual curry rivals Bedford AC, who were trophy-less this year, with Tonbridge AC taking the Men’s first prize for 2018.
I’d need some assistance to recall anything that happened after this, but I am typing this from home at least.
Thanks to Bob and Mike Jarvis for their support on the day and to Carol for taking photos before I apparently disappeared on the last lap.
Our photos here, some of which are of the race
Can get your free photos here from the race (thanks Saucony!)
Senior Women 8k
|1||00:28:33||5713||Phoebe Law||Kingston AC & Polytechnic Ha|
|174||00:35:08||6428||Harriet Wooley||(First time!)|
Senior Men 12k
|1||00:39:35||9690||Adam Hickey||Southend On Sea AC|
|894||00:52:59||10150||Matthew Ferris||(First time!)|
|1186||00:55:49||10155||Casper Morris||(First time!)|
|1778||01:02:28||10156||Ben Muir||(First time!)|
|1994||01:06:34||10161||Colin Timmins||(First time!)|
Men’s team were 90th out of 162 teams