OK, so Saturday December 1st saw me lining up for an “invitational” cross country race in Richmond Park, hosted by our club Ranelagh Harriers. The invitational meant it was open to some clubs we don’t normally race against as they aren’t in the Surrey League of cross country races. This meant clubs like the huge Serpentine were present, which made a nice change. This was also the first time I have run in the same cross country race as my best running pal Kirsty (who runs for The Stragglers), so that was nice - oh and we both had new spikes too!
The ladies course was one small lap around Sidmouth Wood, followed by a large lap including the hill towards The Royal Ballet School. This was a total of 4.12 miles, less than the men’s race which was two “large laps”. The first lap was OK and saw 4 of us running together, one Serpentine runner, one Epsom and 2 of us from Ranelagh. We then raced off down Queen’s Ride (but on the opposite side than that which we normally race, so that was odd), which is lovely as it’s downhill. At this point I was catching the “Serpie Girl” but unfortunately she was better up the hill to the ballet school than me and blew me out. As we turned to a downhill section after the ballet school, we suddenly were running into a gale! Wow, that was hard work…
Next thing I know, I was in the final quarter of a mile, which I always find the worst bit on these courses we use. It is relentlessly gently uphill which makes the quads burn especially if you are trying to outsprint someone to the finish. Some cheers from our Ladies Captain Marie (not running due to illness) were greatly appreciated at this point! I saw the cones and knew I was there. Phew. I finished in a time of 37:17, 53rd out of 58 runners. After a warm-down we were off to watch the men’s race.
Once back at the Ranelagh Clubhouse, we had tea and cakes (as always) and awaited the results. The Dysart Cup was won by Serpentine, in 2nd were Thames Hare & Hounds and Ranelagh were 3rd. Hurrah! The Hugh Jones Salver Club Championship was won by Anna Scally, with Clare King in 2nd and Jenny Lloyd-Jones in 3rd place. In addition to the Hugh Jones Salver, there was also a sealed handicap component to this race - which I am proud to say was won by yours truly! It’s not often you beat amazing runners like Anna and Clare…quite honestly handicapping is my only hope!
A number of photos from the race taken by David can be found at our photography website.