English National Cross Country Championships @ Parliament Hill, London – Report

Some say the streets in the Capital are paved with gold, for those seeking cross country glory on Saturday they found London’s historic  course was coated in mud. Parliament Hill situated in North London’s Hampstead Heath offers stunning panoramic views of  capital’s skyline. The undulating and picturesque parkland had received plenty of rain in the week so despite race day being fairly warm and sunny, conditions quickly became very muddy around the course.

DSC_1339 Knavesmire’s Ladies were the first of our runners to brave the challenging course, taking their place amongst a record field of  almost 1000 women.  After the order of the start line, where the runners are spread out over a wide field and assemble in designated pens for particular teams , chaos ensued following the gun, as the Ladies sprinted off vying for position racing  up the first hill, the scramble intensifying as the hill steepened, the course narrowed and the mud deepened.
DSC_1340Nik Vogan got her tactics spot on at the start, getting a very quick start, she was well up the field and avoided much of the congestion that was taxing the runners behind her. Places in this race are much harder to gain later on.
DSC_1343Anwen Darlington also made a good start and was well placed on the first lap in the top quarter of the field.

By the second lap Nik was feeling the effects of her early burst of speed , but showing true Knavesmire grit she clung on to record a fantastic 104th ( 865 finished ) position with a time of 35:44.
Not too far behind in 123rd with a time of 36:20 was Anwen .
Cassie Holmes was our third lady to complete the two lap 8 km course, again fantastic running with a time of 39:48 and 264th position. Knavesmire’s Ladies team was completed by Caroline Warrington who like all her team-mates finished comfortably in the top half of the field, with 326th and 40:54.

10624083_10155129013760018_5844743263847555338_oKnavesmire’s four ladies all gave stellar performances, their combined efforts were rewarded with a team position of 26th out of 93, which really is something to celebrate.   That they were the second team from Yorkshire and of the North East is definitely something to be proud of.   Well done.

Knavesmire’s men were allowed the privelage of running their 12 km 3 lap race after the ladies and assorted junior races  had well and truly churned the groud up into a quagmire. We had a really good turnout , with 9 runners tackling this historic and prestigious event. With over 2000 men running the race the start was even more crucial than it was in the Ladies race.

IMG_20150221_154733Chris Roberts made a good start , powering up the hill and continuing through the race at a good pace. Chris was first Knavesmire home in 506th with a time of 46:22

Tom Ratcliffe also made a good start ,whipping through the field at the start hot on the heels of Giles Hawking, who was to be hampered by a loose shoe that had to be reaffixed after being clipped by another runner in the argy bargy of a tight corner. Tom ran well , but was eventually caught near the end of the second lap by Knavesmire veteran Barry Atkinson. Barry gave encouragement to Tom as he caught him, and duly rergretted it as Tom shot of like a whippet down the home straight to finish in 657th ( 51:06 ), with Barry not far behind in 665th (  51:12 ).

After a short stop to get the shoe  back on firmly  and an ankle worrying incident with a rabbit hole, Giles Hawking was able to make his way back up the field , recovering many of the positions lost  with his stop. Aided by knowing a few of the athletes ahead of him he clawed his way up the field to finish 731st ( 51:52 ).

Not far behind was Simon Collins in 770th ( 52:16)  and Rory Henderson completing our first six to count Men’s team in 829th ( 52:49 )

Also running for Knavesmire were Neil Stabbs 931st ( 53:56 ) , Danny Chan 1075th ( 55:34 )  and Phillip Richardson 1251th (57:34).

A great day and another great team performance with Knavesmire’s Men’s team finishing 61st ( of 145 ) in the first six to count competition , and 42nd ( of 74 ) in the nine to count competition.
Fantastic running and everyone made a great contribution.

DSC_1352Rounding out a good weekend a few of us stayed over for a night on the town and a sightseeing warm down run the following morning.

Results ; http://www.englishcrosscountry.co.uk/news/2015-nationals-results-pdf/

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