Wednesday, 4 April 2012
NEW ZEALAND 1ST TEAM IN NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY!
START (photo JUST LOVE RUNNING) turning out 3 teams for the regional event but by Friday it was obvious that a turnout of 36 was not going to happen .
So faced with a solo drive to Liverpool of 160 miles at a cost of £50 and with the danger that if I ran out of fuel I wouldn't be able to refill with the current petrol problem I decided against it. If I had have gone it would have been the third time I'd run in an INcomplete team as the "C" team finished after just 4 legs.
Instead, for the week's speedwork, I went over the Nelson track on Sunday for set of 12 x 300s. There was discussion about the age of the local Clayton team which apparently had included 8 over 40.
It had me thinking about the first time I'd run a 12 man relay to see what kind of age our Sale team had been back then. Back in 1967 our ream for the National 12 man had averaged just 20!! There were only 3 senior athletes the rest of us being 18,19 and 20. We finished a creditable 11th. 3rd Northern team.
With the fastest time for the short leg being just 11.07 (Niall Brookes ,Sale H.) last Saturday, quite obviously teams which can draw upon the services of track trained "young guns" are going to continue to do well as we did back then.
But it was pleasing to see at least some local clubs made the journey over with mainly "mature" runners in support of this traditional event as it provides competition which does not necessitate a heavy withdrawal from the bank to enter. Long may it continue.
NEW ZEALAND? No, not another April Fool's story! Looking back to that Sale Harriers12 man team in 1967, I came across a report for the English National Cross Country Championships that year which were held in Norwich. A strong New Zealand team bound for the later International XC champs in Barry, Wales must have requested to make a guest appearance.
With 6 runners in the first 18 (!) they "won" with just 62 points from Portsmouth (including Tim Johnstone and Bruce Tulloh) the real club winners with 236 points.
The photo shows New Zealander Paul Welsh hanging on to a group in the teens with RON HILL (far left) and ALAN RUSHMER pushing the pace.
So the next time you are sat drinking with your running mates there's a good trivia question which should bring you in a few free pints. Just remember to say which "TEAM" not CLUB FINISHED 1ST IN THE 1967 national xc champs.
They may have been to strong for English club teams but were no match for the England team in the International finishing 2nd with 96 points to England's 70. South Africa were 4th but in those days the "International" cross country did not include Kenya, Ethiopia or the U.S.A..