Yesterday, 33 Harriers (10 women and 23 men) turned up at Norman Park in Bromley for the final Kent XC League meeting of the season. Despite some logistical headaches getting there, everyone made it in time to race unlike the TAC runner in the yellow shorts who arrived late and spent most of the men’s race catching up with his team mates.
Whilst collecting the race numbers for our newer members, Jillian and I had a mini tour of the superbly refurbished Blackheath & Bromley Harriers (B&BH) club house and training facility which is located adjacent to Norman Park athletics track. We were also treated to a fantastic display of athletic ability from local girl, B&BH member and Olympian Dina Asher-Smith who was training on the track.
Back in the park, the flattest of the cross country courses was waiting for us. The 4.8km course (same for men and women) consisted of 1 short lap of the the start field followed by 2 large laps of the entire park and some adjacent woodland. The weather was mild and dry and with virtually no mud, making for some fast racing. The strong wind that is often present in the park was fortunately not blowing.
We were pleased to welcome new-ish members Hannah Roberts, Richard Craig-McFeely and Toby Ayre who were running their first cross country race for the club.
Whilst B&BH’s famous athlete was training on the track, it’s very strong women’s XC team was stamping their authority all over the women’s race, taking the first 3 places.
In the TWH line-up, Amelie Karlsson led the Harriers from the gun and was first Harrier home. She was followed by Cathy Gill and Jillian Holford to make up the 3-to-score team. Tara ‘this is a bit short for me’ Taylor, Hannah Roberts and Sonja King made up the 6-to-score.
Unfortunately Rowena Lennox Howey had to pull out of the race after the first lap but she stayed to take some great photos of the men’s race. We were also sorry to miss Ali ’Ace’ Farrall who was recovering from an operation on her arm following a non-running accident. We wish her a speedy recovery.
Oliver Waymark ran a strong race leading the Harrier field from the start and finished over 2 minutes ahead of the rest of the TWH team. He was followed by Ed Steele, reclaiming his traditional slot as second Harrier home. Alex Holmes and Richard Carter then followed to make up the 4-to-score team. Mike Staddon, Mike King, Dave Hadaway, Geoff Turner, Simon Howden, Toby Ayre, Richard Craig-McFeely and Saul Harris were next making up the 12-to-score team.
Dave ‘Hadders’ Hadaway, who was sporting a brand new pair of fluorescent yellow spikes, provided some entertainment for the women as he raced round neck and neck with Mike King who was also wearing the same shoes.
Cake offerings were of the usual high TWH standard and afterwards a large number of us retired to the Bull’s Head in Pratts Bottom for some ‘post race analysis’.
Many thanks to everyone who raced as well as to all the spectators, cake bakers and photographers.
Official results are still not available. Please find attached (very provisional) results based on the Stuweb timings taken on the day. Full results (and final rankings for the season) will be available here soon: http://www.kcaa.org.uk/