Sunday, 28 February 2010


  Returned to the playing fields for the customary prerace jog on the grass on what was an unexpectedly fair Saturday morning.   A couple of easy miles to turn the legs over  before driving the short way to Roundhay Park in Leeds to spectate and give support at the National XC championships.
      The start was as spectacular as ever but how would the runners cope with tackling the infamous Hill 60 several times and how would the organisers cope with the leading male runners careering past the slowest back markers as they hurled themselves down the hill which preceded it.  A downhill which by the time the senior men raced had turned from grass to inches of glutinous, hazardous mud.
 The unrestricted entry to this National championship,  as opposed to being restricted to a club's best 9, inevitably has lead to many slower runners taking part and on a multi-lap course as this was,  it was a logistical nightmare to try to keep these slower men out out of the way of the overtaking runners.  They tried to have 2 "lanes" going up Hill 60 but this meant the slower guys coping with the very muddy approach and some of them just weren't keen to do that and so they ended up "in the wrong lane" much to the distress and annoyance of one very vocal marshal !
  Host club Leeds City will have been very disappointed to have finished 2nd.  My clubmates at Sale managed 18th of the 107 teams with other Northern leading clubs Bingley and salford only 20th and 21st respectively.  Local club Ilkley Harriers finished 82nd , 3 places ahead of the 2004 team effort.

 I'm used to finished a crosscountry race and been handed a disc with my finishing position on it.  Today the runner's time and position is recorded with using a chip system in much the same way as many road races are.
   Either that or this runner is wearing his watch in a very unusual position!

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