Race report by David Phillips.
2nd Cross Country League Race, Stratford-Upon-Avon
Well Stratford town was manic and closed off due to the Victorian Xmas Fare over the w/e so lots of runners walked up to the start on the top on the Welcome Hills in Clopton Park. Living quite nearby I drove and parked within 150 yards of the HQ but that was my only “first” of the day.
I think they should rename these hills the Unwelcome Hills as yesterday they were just impossible to move on (mud, bogs, severe hills upwards and downwards, tree roots, small hillocks and very rough ground).
The start was all uphill for well over ¼ mile then huge muddy slippery areas before a huge downhill fall. But of course that meant it was all upwards again to the top and the 2nd part of the lap. This part was OK ish in that despite the dreadful mud it was flattish but far from easy.
Then at the end of lap 1 the same rigmarole started for lap 2 with huge ups, deep slippery mud, severe downs then back up vertically until the flatter bits started.
So 3 of these laps were real killers but the joy for me was that, being at the end of the 236 runners, I had lap 1 almost to myself, lap 2 a bit busier as loads overtook me to finish, then lap 3 I had the course to myself and it was really stunning and nice up there.
I was fortunate to have the Sweeper Marshal from Stratford jogging round just behind me so thanks for his company. Without him I could have “taken a short cut??”. Plus as we passed each marshal he advised them that as we were last they could gather the signs up and head home. Nice eh!
Anyway as it was getting darkish the finish was in sight but at least the timekeeper was still there so again thanks Stratford for a very well organised event.
Maybe at the next XC I’ll start early and hand my time in-I’ll be last anyway.
Just seen the league table results after 2 events and we are “well down there somewhere-hmmm”.
My time 1hr 26 mins.
Don’t forget the annual Christmas Day 3.3 mile run at St. Nicholas Park, Warwick. HQ for registration (and coffee, cakes and drinks afterwards) is at the usual place The Roebuck Inn at the bottom of Smith Street Warwick. I’ll be there as always. This race has been going on for almost 40 years now. The pub is only 5 mins walk from the start and car park in St. Nicholas Park.