Well even up here in Ben Rhydding the last patches of snow have disappeared but unfortunately not by the warmth of a precocious spring sun rather than a deluge of heavy rain. So reaching into the wardrobe for a jacket for today's run the hand went straight to a fully tape sealed Goretex. With no let up in the rain for the trail circuit of Swinsty and Fewston reservoirs it was a good choice. But the 2 res run wasn't a good choice really. Think I'd been better on the Strid. Most of the 6.75 miles spent tramping through the water covered paths. On my next visit to the shop I'll be weighing up the choice of Goretex trail shoes! At least I was completely dry from the waist up.
I was asked today whether I was running in the "NATIONAL" (cross country championships) tomorrow. I said, " No and I won't be playing for Manchester United in the Carling Cup Final at Wembley on Sunday either". Perhaps my answer would have been different if I had known that the club had actually entered me.
Of course, making the United team is impossible....... as I've no boots!....... but nowadays participation in the National Senior mens race is not restricted to a club's best 9 with 6 to count. Today, it's open to all club members. But having rejoined a "premier" club in Sale Harriers, there should be no need for veterans like myself to compete with a hope of counting in the points tally.
I did run the "National" in 2004 for Ilkley Harriers at Temple Newsam park in Leeds finishing 722 of 1399. I was 4th counter for the team which finished 85th on 6 to count. Sale Harriers finished 3rd. So I think you can understand my logic. You can see from the photo taken on the day here that at the age of 55 competing against the fastest young males in the country was very demanding!!
The most demanding part of the race is of course the start. If just 2000 of the 2855 men entered run tomorrow you can imagine how it is when the battling masses converge on the first corner. Think mobile sardines in a tin. Elbows need to be sharpened the night before and kept firmly held at right angles to the body in combat ready state. The charge from the gun is spectacular as the assembled field is wide but shallow as opposed to a road race which is narrow and deep. Very intimidating to say the least! I think cross country is the most punishing of the disciplines because it incorporates the speed of the road whilst trying to cope very often with unfavourable terrain and there aren't the "pauses" that often occur in fell or trail running.
No, I'll be leaving it to the young guns.