Birmingham League XC, Mens Race 3, Gloucester – 16.01.16

Finally some wintry weather arrived to make January feel seasonal in time for the 3rd race of the Birmingham League. Most of the Massey ladies and men took the coach down to Gloucester as we shared a race venue for a 3rd time this season, and the driver was kind enough to help acclimatise us to the cold afternoon ahead by keeping the temperature of the coach at freezing level. The camaraderie was great heading down, and it will be sad not to be at the same venue as the ladies for the final race of the season on 13th February. Having both teams there really adds to the support around the course as well, which seemed to be relentless and really pushed me on personally.

Crypt School offered some great facilities for a change this time, with coffees and hot showers available, and the course was fairly forgiving, being virtually hill free and firm underfoot, as well as less than 5 and half miles for the men. As a result it was a very fast start and pretty rapid race overall, with the leaders finishing in under 30 minutes and our own sweeper Mr Phillips back in just after an hour. As mentioned, the overall MF support and encouragement was fantastic, we really put the other clubs in the shade in this regard. We also had 35 men competing which is the highest amount this season, with XC debuts for Massey this season from Grahame Flanagan, Simon Neale, Stuart Liggins, Dave Fawkner and Geoff Sanders, as well as an unexpected return to the ranks of Carl Semple!

There was some fantastic improvements throughout the field with best season finishes for Dave Conway, Ross Cooper, John Hosie, Simon Brown, Gary Lawson and Jamie Turner. Massey A finished 13 out of 17 with 399 points, and the B team had a very strong performance finishing 5th out of 11 with 773 points. It is getting very tight though, teams below us outperformed us on Saturday, and just 27 more points would have seen us finish in 9th place, just 5 places per man. These are the margins we need to bear in mind for the final race, when the legs are screaming and the chest is heaving, can I put in a final effort and try and get past 5 more guys in front of me? It could be the difference between securing safety in division 2.

Overall though, another great effort and fantastic turnout for Massey men, be proud that you represented your club on what was a long day out and pretty cold as well. Many of us have families so it is really appreciated the effort made to put yourself out there. It would be great if we had 40+ on the line for the final race, also in Gloucester on Saturday 13th February. We need everyone there as fit and ready as possible to make a final push to secure our position which should be attainable if we can hold the current standard, and hopefully improve. Last year we needed a strong performance in the final race to go up, and everyone had an absolute stormer with many improving their position by 10, 20 places, and we were promoted in 2nd place. If you want to make that sort of improvement then you need to focus on doing the hill reps, and stamina work with some 10+ mile runs to build strength and arrive confident.

Race Report by Ross Cooper


A Team

15           Pete Freedman                30:57

51           Dave Conway                    32:51

68           Dean Clarke                        33:20

84           Ross Cooper                       33:55

89           Dave Clarke                        34:01

92           John Hosie                          34:04

B Team

102         Mick O’Shea                       34:24

113         Simon Brown                     34:45

126         Tony Hoy                             35:09

127         Jason Nicholson                35:11

145         Ian Redford                        35:46

160         Gary Lawson                      36:32


162         Jamie Turner                      36:35

165         Dave Lee                             36:59

166         Dean Semple                     37:10

170         Richard Taylor                    37:23

173         Grahame Flanagan          37:41

175         Simon Neale                      37:48

180         Carl Semple                        37:58

186         Steve Mumford                38:26

197         Richard Lapworth             39:07

199         Stuart Liggins                     39:40

208         Martin Smith                      40:15

209         Pete Paprcka                     40:17

210         Leighton Jackson              40:24

218         Scott Kirton                        41:25

224         Graham Patton                 43:19

225         Dave Fawkner                   43:51

228         James Towey                     44:17

229         Martin Judge                     44:18

232         Richard Sale                        44:28

234         Ian O’Donnell                    44:51

241         Geoff Sanders                   50:09

244         Daniel Connolly                 54:47

245         David Phillips                      56:45