Ramblings from the Course by I.M. Muddy
It was nice to travel in the luxury of a Harry Shaw bus to the cross country at Churchfields Farm near Droitwich on Saturday – a new venue for us all.
In the past, we have had quite a few adventures with our bus trips to cross country but on this occasion the Women’s and Men’s teams plus supporters arrived safely and in good time for the Women’s Race. This was just as well for the Ladies as there were only two portaloos and the queues were lengthening.
The farm made the Massey Runners at home by not only providing refreshments but also had an old grey Fergie tractor on display.
We had a good walk to the start and club tents and one soon realised that the course was going to be up and down fields with some nice inclines.
The Massey gazebo was erected under the expert supervision of Dean Semple, otherwise, the Ladies might not have had the comfort of a covered changing facility in time for their start. Helen Rowe, clipboard in hand, shepherded her flock of women runners to the start line with the authority of an Army Major – disobey Helen at your peril !
I headed off onto various parts of the course not only to reconnoitre it but also to support our girls especially on the climbs. Marie Edmunds was our front runner (she finished an excellent 33rd).
Behind Marie was an interesting tussle involving Zoe Moore, Lizzie Dobson, and Jess Rexworthy. Jess was working her way through the field and by the end had caught Lizzie but Zoe held on to cross the line only 5 seconds in front of Jess. Only 37 seconds separated the three of them – good packing.
Another tussle I saw on the last climb was between Liz Watts and Emma Robinson. Could Liz hold on to her lead ? Emma pipped Liz on the line !
There was great support for the Massey Ladies along the course.
It was now time for the men to toe the starting line. Daniel “McVitie” Connelly (as Divisional Secretary) addressed the runners, announcing that a Sparkhill runner was making his 150th appearance in the Birmingham League. We all applauded this feat realising that it must have taken at least 38 years to achieve ! Crikey !
The klaxon sounded and off I went taking it gently for the first field as I knew there were plenty of inclines ahead. I then realised I had better get a move on or else Dean Clarke might lap me as I could see the leaders heading into the third field. I used my club mates as targets and got passed Darren Chambers and then Phil McCarron before there was a gap. It took me some time before I could see Phil Hayes ahead. The Massey support was great along the course and I approached the inclines remembering Jess’s Wednesday training session when we did hills. So, think positively.
So it was towards the end of the second lap that I crept passed Phil Hayes – crept as we were climbing ! Much relief also that I had not been lapped.
I could not see any Massey Runners – well, it is not helped that I do not run with my glasses on ! So, it was not until the second last incline that I caught sight of Rob Kerr although I have to admit it was his vest due to my short sightedness ! I was obviously tiring as Derek Burns shouted –“use your arms” – which reinvigorated me for the last climb. When we entered the finishing straight the support lifted your tired limbs for the final push. I collapsed beside the Massey gazebo and was very grateful to Carol Martin for bringing me a coffee. The Men are not used to this. It was much appreciated.
It was then I learnt that Graham Patton had had a dizzy turn on the last lap with the first aiders attending to him in the gazebo after he had finished. A kind runner from Aldridge RC had helped Graham complete the course. Luckily Graham was slowly recovering and able to walk to our bus. Graham has now completed 122 Birmingham Leagues !
Well another course completed. Onto Gloucester.