15mm spikes? Really? I suppose it looks a bit muddy over there, so I decide to go with the advice. Well, as best I can given that one 9mm on the left shoe, and two on the right, won’t come out!
The wind is cutting through the open space next to the track at Parliament Hill, but XC weather is always vest and shorts appropriate.
The hill is infamous, but so far I have never run cross country here. I was excited to sign up for this race in the green of Guildford & Godalming and get to the mecca of cross country racing.
From the starting pen the hill didn’t look to scary; it’s a long drag, but how hard could it be? The thing you always forget, is that XC is always red-lining, always busting-a-gut, always hard work, from the bang of the gun.
The video below shows a section about a third of the way into the first lap – we hadn’t churned it up too much by then – as the camera pans round you’ll see a section of particularly gloopy mud down hill.
As one foot follows another into the bog, each of us seems to sink a little further than the man before us did. At one point the thrum of the feet squelching into the mud and the sucking as they are pulled back out again, was almost hypnotic.
I don’t know why, but I had it in my head that it was a two-lap course – never run it before, so I don’t know where I got that from. That meant that the third lap was pretty hard work, to say the least!
At first I was more than a little concerned about the 90 minute cutoff – not insignificant on a tough 9-mile cross country route. In the end, although official results still don’t appear to have been released (which is a bit lame with chip timing), I managed to finish in a shade under 1:09 caked in mud.
I cannot lie – I bloody love cross country!
edit – part two now contains results and more photos.