Saturday 27th January saw the SEAA Southern XC Championships move back to its 3-yearly home at Stanmer Park, by Sussex University, to allow the Nationals to use Parliament Hill Fields.
Conditions were.. poor. It started raining when we arrived and we were attacked by another club’s tent.
Lacking shelter we took initiative and planted the flag by the men’s changing tent, claiming it for TWH but with leniency to allow other runners in.
The course was a quagmire, varying between clay and bog to cake your shoes in hard mud and stone slabs to test whatever your legs had left.
I’ve never seen so many falls, barely avoiding one myself. Not to be outdone, on the final lap my left shoe completely ripped apart and I was left sprinting downhill to the finish on my waterproof sock – making this the second time I’ve lost a pair of shoes this course.
But I wouldn’t want to oversell it to you for future years!
14 harriers took part in the Senior Men’s ~9m and Women’s ~4.8m races, both mass starts from pens with a short hilly lap to separate the field.
The main lap of each course featured 2 fierce climbs with some technical twists and turns, but with some good downhill recovery sections.
Some learned pretty quickly the importance of pacing a race like this.
The ladies ran first and despite such a good season so far, we only had 1 senior lady competing with Carol Tsang finishing in 309th.
The men’s race had 740 finishers, numbers potentially affected by a boycott from some clubs. Andy Howey came home first in an impressive 183rd, with myself returning to normal service as 2nd harrier home in 389th, remembering to attach my chip this time.
Simon Howden (452nd) paced things well, with Nicholas Reynolds (467th) to make up the 4 to score team.
3 years ago I described this as ‘overall an enjoyable race’.
Overall, the Snowdrop is a great pub to celebrate in.
Thanks to Carol and Michael for baked delicacies and Bob for supporting on such a miserable day.
Results are as much a mess as the course, times were based on the ladies start time, so I had to adjust them based on my own Garmin time.
Given recent discussions I would expect nothing less of SEAA organisation.
3 races to go with the final Kent XC League at Sparrows Den (can still enter the Wednesday before), the National XC Champs at Parliament Hill and our own club champs in Hargate Forest.
Be sure to check the website calendar for details dates.