Well done to everybody who ran at this morning’s XC Champs in Hargate Forest and congratulations to Ed Steele who won the event overall. It was great to see many regulars and new faces alike.
A big thank you to everyone who helped make today’s event happen especially to Andy Howey for arranging permissions and setting up the course and to Cheeky for officiating on the morning.
I have compiled and attached results as well as trophy winners from this morning. Photos to follow tomorrow.
Please see below for Cheeky’s race report.
Simon & Jillian
TWH XC Captains
Today’s TWH annual Club Cross Country Championships took place it is believed for the 23rd time in the wonderful setting of Hargate Forest, courtesy of the Woodland Trust. We are all indebted to Andy Howey our former long-time chairman for devising the route, obtaining the necessary permits and once again setting out the course to his usual exacting standards and for wielding his newly acquired saw to remove a fallen tree the night before.
It was great to see quite a few newer members up for their Hargate baptism and a rising star amongst our junior ranks (very junior), young James Carter aged 9 who completed two full laps in a remarkable time of 31mins and had he not been encouraged to call it a day would most likely have made it into the top twenty!
Weather conditions matched the predicted overcast 7deg with little breeze from the north-east and only a slight chance of precipitation. The Met Office declared February 2023 the driest for 30 years. They obviously hadn’t inspected the Harriers’ Hargate course which once again provided the essential element for a proper cross country – long stretches of ‘a slimy sticky mixture of solid material with a liquid and especially water’ (Websters dictionary). It never lets us down – ooh!
Not only mud. Howey’s course combines the wide variety of terrain of this 150 acre site, part of the High Weald AONB. Runners are treated to steep wooded technical sections (mostly in the ascending mode), wide open ‘drives’, a couple of gullies and a stream crossing.
Thirty three members set off just after 10.00am, after the usual group photo, with one latecomer in pursuit, to tackle three laps of our approx. 1.5mile course. Long time former club secretary Lucille Joannes found herself in the enviable position as sole representative of our supervet category (women over 65, men over 70), sure in the knowledge that finishing her two required laps would secure the silverware!
Up front after the first lap in 11mins 57secs Ed Steele and James Sarre were locked in concentration with Alex Holmes and Andy Eames (making his overdue debut at Hargate) in close contention. Completion of the second round in a consistent 24mins saw a repeat of the early leaders but the gaps were beginning to show. Still all to play for! Amelie Karlsson, in her debut at the event, looked to have an unassailable lead in the women’s race, lying in 8th place overall.
In the final run in to the finish Mr Steele had stretched the lead from his challenger Mr Sarre by 20 seconds, who held off the threat from a fast finishing Mr Holmes who managed to open up the gap a little from Mr Eames. The V65 trophy as predicted was comfortably secured by the evergreen Mrs Joannes (obviously benefitting from her high altitude training adventure in Chile). Miss Karlsson put her stamp on the women’s lead maintaining her overall position.
All competitors completed the course and were expertly recorded thanks to Margaret Deighton and Rebecca Carter. Race photography by club XC captain Simon Holford. Numerous Harriers were later spotted on the Pantiles enjoying their well-earned refreshments.