Here’s Aggie, also reporting on the Southern Cross Country at Parliament Hill:
On Saturday 25 January, members of Edmonton Running Club headed down to Parliament Hill Fields in Hampstead for The South of England Athletic Association Cross Country Championships 2014. With over 3000 contestants taking part, it is described as ‘a regional competition for elite athletes’, enabling athletes from ages 13 to very, very old to prove their running stamina and endurance on this extremely hilly and challenging course.
It was a crisp and clear sunny day with glorious views across London from up on the hill. The going was soft and heavy due to rainfall during the week and it was evident on arrival just how bad the underfoot conditions were. The mud-splattered bodies of the youth teams set the scene. “It’s even in my ears!” exclaimed Arjun Trivedi, having just completed the course.
The weather remained bright and sunny for the senior women’s race but there was still plenty of mud to be found along the 2 lap, 5 mile route. The final furlong was completely churned up with the mud shin-deep. Victoria and Jan led the women’s race side by side all the way and it was a photo finish. Official results place Victoria as the first lady in for ERC at 44:35 and Jan in at 44:36. Well done to both for completing a tough course in a brilliant time. The other women racing were Sylwia, Hannah, Claire, Aggie, Lorraine, Tracey and Marilyn.
During the senior men’s race, the weather deteriorated as the sky darkened and a strong southerly wind set in. This was the last race of the day and with over 1600 sets of feet having pulverized the ground in the previous 9 races, the going was very tough for the men in their 3 lap, 9 mile race. The first man in for ERC was Martyn with a very respectable time of 1:19:07, closely followed by Simon in 1:22:01 and Monty in 1:24:03. There was deep mud everywhere and this was exacerbated when the rain set in and increasingly came down in sheets. Magenta lightening coloured the night sky, ensuring a storming finish for Andrew, Austen and Naresh. Well done to all the men who braved the weather with true ERC spirit.
Another successful ERC event, with special thanks going to Sonay for supporting the runners, providing essential refreshment and being the official ERC photographer.
For the hardy few, the day ended in the pub for the customary pint of beer. Nothing quite like a recovery drink after a tough day at the races!