Birmingham League XC Race 2, Cofton Park – 05.12.15


Travelling to Cofton Park on Saturday lunch time I commented to experienced kite-surfer Tony Hoy that it would be a better day for that type of activity than cross-country running. When he responded that it was in fact far too gusty for kite-surfing I knew we would be in for a challenging afternoon! I always like to find 3 positive things in a challenging scenario, which on this occasion were 1) it wasn’t raining; 2) the wind might actually dry the ground out a bit; and 3) a decent tailwind could even help us along.

Point 2 seemed to come true, as it was fairly dry and firm, and watching the ladies come through there was minimal evidence of mud. Massey’s ladies once again tested the course for us, and had another very impressive showing, well done everyone who ran. Massey men had 31 on the start line in blustery conditions, including XC Massey debuts for Peter Freedman, Jose Luis Sanchez, Leighton Jackson and John Bennett. Cofton Park is fairly undulating, after a fairly quick and chaotic start (starting gun/horn anyone?) there are a couple of sharp climbs, a flatter section and then relative freewheeling downhill before the final climb, and descent. Once again there was fantastic Massey support around the course, it means so much to get a big cheer and encouragement when your legs are screaming STOP!

Massey A Team finished in 10th place in the race, an improvement of one position from Newbold Comyn, and augmented superbly by a fantastic 4th place finish for Pete Freeman who recently joined Massey officially, but is well known to a few of us having competed in the Batavarian and Hilly 100 in the past. Pete is a fantastic addition to the team, and it is great to have a Massey runner competing at the business end for us in this division. Other new members also improved their positions in the counters this year, Dean Clarke was 2nd counter and improved by 16 positions, and Mick O’Shea was 4th counter with an improvement of 22 positions. It is getting highly competitive to secure a top 6 place this year which is great for the club. The “B” team also performed much more strongly with a 5th place finish, showing the strength in depth when we had a few strong runners withdraw before and on the day through illness and injury. Well done to everyone who improved their positions on Saturday, which as well those mentioned included Dave Conway (1 position), Simon Brown (16), Dave Lee (1), Dean Semple (5) and Jamie Turner (19).

Overall a massive well done to everyone who came out on a very windy day a few weeks before Christmas, got kitted up and gave their all for Massey Ferguson in the cross country. It’s a tough old challenge which is a big test of character, but hopefully everyone who ran will have felt a huge sense of pride and satisfaction at the end, and enjoyed their beer, wine (or coffee) that bit more on Saturday night. For those who haven’t tried it before, or maybe haven’t got involved yet this season I really recommend coming and joining this great team event. Aside from the great camaraderie pre-race, the interaction with fellow like-minded runners from across the region, and incredible stirring support around the course, it will improve you as a runner! 2 years ago I did my first season and really struggled, barely bothering the top 12 and generally finding it a tough and frustrating experience. After the season I went on to PB all my times on the road, most by several minutes, and have managed to be a counter in most XC races since. Cross country running is tough whatever standard you are, but it is the best way to build strength and stamina which will pay off on the road in 2016.

 So have a fantastic Christmas and New Year, keep up the training and let’s try and have an even stronger showing at Cheltenham on 16th January.

Ross Cooper – (Men’s Captain)

Full Results attached, Massey men’s placing’s below:

A Team

4              Peter Freedman               35:20

52           Dean Clarke                        39:24

56           Dave Conway                    39:33

60           Mick O’Shea                       39:37

93           Ross Cooper                       41:10

98           Dave Clarke                        41:23

B Team

110         Jason Nicholson                42:00

120         Simon Brown                     42:33

124         Tony Hoy                             42:49

134         Dave Lee                             43:10

140         Ian Redford                        43:23

147         Dean Semple                     43:44

Other Finishers

149         Jose Luis Sanchez             43:58

157         Richard Taylor                    44:20

164         Jamie Turner                      44:58

181         Steve Mumford                45:58

201         Richard Lapworth             47:57

205         James Towey                     48:22

206         Leighton Jackson              48:30

211         Martin Smith                      48:57

217         Martin Judge                     50:13

218         Nathan Bignall                   50:27

219         Scott Kirton                        50:28

226         Graham Patton                 51:51

227         Richard Sale                        52:20

233         John Bennett                     56:38

239         Daniel Connolly                 62:47

240         Dave Goodwin                  65:24

242         Dave Phillips                       70:30

DNF       Gary Lawson

DNF       John Hosie

Massey Ferguson Runners Club