This afternoon 30 Harriers (25 men and 5 women) ran at the English National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill in London. Despite the deceptively sunny conditions it proved to be one of the muddiest cross country races held at this venue in recent years.
Both women’s and men’s races started with an uphill stampede before traversing a number of undulating loops around Hamstead Heath. The women went first with two main laps for an 8km race, followed by the men who ran three laps for a 12km race. After reaching the top of the first hill, the extent of the muddy conditions became apparent with a highly churned up, deep muddy downhill section section involving a sharp left hand turn. There were numerous bottlenecks on the first lap, particularly on the men’s race where proceedings ground to a halt in places and a number of runners found themselves horizontal or missing a shoe! The remainder of the lap was slightly more runnable as the course undulated its way around the heath but the mud was never far away. After slogging around the circuits we were treated to a nice long downhill section just before the run-in to the finish.
Cathy Gill was the first female Harrier home, finishing 242nd out of a field of 1,010 runners in a time of 37:34. It was also nice to see Michele Bradshaw making her first cross country appearance this season after a long lay off. The women finished 74th out of 104 teams in the 4-to-score team completion.
Despite a fall on the run-in, Will Levett led the Harrier men home, finishing 160th out of a field of 2,087 runners in a time of 47:22. Alex Jeffries finished 363rd (50:46), Ed Steele found himself in 3rd place rather than his customary 2nd place, finishing 760th (56:06). Alex Reid, James Sarre and Matt Ferris made up the 6-to score team. The men finished 54th out of 132 teams in the 6-to-score team competition.
Very well done to everybody who ran today over this challenging course. It was great to see such a big turnout from the Harriers in this prestigious event which attracts a very high class of runners, including Olympic gold medalists.
Provisional results can be found below.
TWH Men’s XC Captain
Photos of the day can be found here
p.s. the season is not quite over yet — next Saturday (5th March) is the Club Cross Country Champs in Hargate Forest. I will be putting out more info about this soon.