Saturday morning, the forecast said cold and wet, I had to take the boys swimming and then onto a party and the wife was working, oh and I was carrying an injury (not sure if I had mentioned this before).
So why don’t I go and run cross country at Park Hall !!
Following the first two races at Winsford and Stafford Common, Chairman Tim gave up his place at the Six Dales to come and race. Following a very convoluted Facebook discussion Tim, Jim H, Mick D and myself met at the Tennis Club at 12:30 (well 12:35 by the time Mick had turned up via a detour to get alcohol) and made our way over to the rain soaked tracks of Park Hall.
As we clambered up to the gazebo area we were met by Captain Bernie and Brian ‘The Barista’ Hall offering drinks of tea, coffee and hot chocolate and also the Bat Girls warming up in that type of rain that gets you soaked through !
As with Stafford Common there was plenty of discussion about what footwear to use and from what I understood a lot of the course was on tracks so surely standard trail shoes should do even in the wet.
At 1.30 the girls went off to the start and set off on two laps, we cheered them past and then ran back under the cover of the gazebo to keep warm and dry, well dry and only braved out again as they ran past on the next lap.
In horrible conditions it was a great performance with Pippa Steele, Amy Gamble, Kirsty Stephenson and Julia McArthur the first four home for the club with Jackie Allen, Alison Brind, Anne-Marie Mountford, Julie Ebrey and Bonnie Seabridge. I understand Bonnie was competing in her first ever cross country and managed a sprint finish overtaking several competitors up the hill finish. The girls dragged themselves back to the gazebo to warm mulled wine and sent us boys packing off to the start.
We huddled at the start like Emperor Penguins and then set off on our 3 laps around the park, there was quite a bit of stopping and starting in the first section due to some narrow parts but eventually we got in to our stride. It was an interesting course with undulating trails, grass downhills, muddy uphills, narrow bits with no overtaking and probably my favourite so far, unfortunately I didn’t do it justice but despite the weather it was thoroughly enjoyable.
As I trundled round the course it was absolutely fantastic to get the support from the girls. Bearing in mind they had just ran round in the pouring rain and freezing cold they were the loudest most enthusiastic supporters and other clubs will be envious of the team spirit we show.
I did manage a sprint finish when someone dared to try and overtake me on the final ascent…I don’t think so matey !!! It was my worst run of the three so far but I wanted to run and complete the course and save myself for Uttoxeter (honest).
After the finish we dragged ourselves back to the gazebo to change and warm up and big thank you to Brian and Bernie for looking after us….at least we ran to keep warm, they looked after us brilliantly, it makes such a difference and it is very much appreciated.
At this time I haven’t seen the results but I understand Steve Fenney came in an amazing 35th and Tim managed to get in 89th his first top 100 finish. Also (in no particular order), Mick Downes, Jim Holland, Fabian Carbonell, Kevin Uzzell, Alex Yendole, Jonathan Howell, Chris Ellerton, Richard Shaw, Jamie McArthur and my good self completed the slightly damp course.
Once I have the results (and photos)I will post them on the website and facebook.
In summary, what can I say, it was a wet and cold one but the team performance, team spirit is absolutely second to none. I can’t wait till Uttoxeter on the 12th December and if there is anyone who hasn’t ran cross country this year, or before then I highly recommend it.
Let’s get an even bigger number out representing the Bats and finish the season on a high !!!!!