BDL XC League – Race 1: Shipley Park

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What a great morning for a race, the sun was shining….albeit totally eclipsed by the Harriers massive gazebo and new flag! A brilliant setup for the new season including ‘spacious’ gazebo, tables and chairs ensured the runners, friends and family were rewarded with hot drinks and cakes in ‘relaxed’ surroundings. Many thanks to Alan, Clare, Claire, Mrs Nash and Meg for the supply of the goodies and the Horton Clan for helping out and everyone who assisted with the logistics. No doubt other clubs were enviously eyeing up our travelling village with much jealousy.  Some (dis)organised group warms up around the field got us ready for battle.

Anyway back to the race….20 of us turned up out of a total field of 293. Numbers slightly down due to Sunday commitments and other races. A solid performance over the 5 mile, 2 lap, undulating course saw the Harriers Men finish 7th out of 12 clubs, Ladies in 6th and combined team in 5th. The combined team placings were improved as other clubs picked up penalties for not bringing enough runners. Which brings me (briefly) to the change in rules this season. Instead of the first 7 men and first 3 ladies being counters, we now have the first 10 blokes and first 5 women as counters. This means that in future if we don’t bring at least 10 men and 5 women we will be penalised….so you know what you’ve got to do..eh?

Good to see some Harriers who haven’t run with the club for a while (Georgie and Amy) and fresh conscripts (Chris Perry, Andy Case and Ian Adkin) running a BDL race for the club for the first time.

So, for the men first back was Chris Perry in an impressive 11th (more of that please Chris), followed not too far behind by Chris Jordan in a majestic 33rd. Andy Case was next in an impressive 45th, followed by consistent Saul and Dave Horton in 52nd and 62nd respectively  and Ian Adkin (73rd). All three new guys showing us all how it should be done. Simon Edwards running well in 79th, Malc a very credible 99th, Andy Nash in 103rd and Nick Bates, fuelled by red wine from the night before, in 113th made up the first 10 ‘counters’.

Steve Meath heading into form came in next in 158th (until someone nicked his place in the funnel and he ended up with 159), followed by the three stalwarts of the BDL leagues – Simon Hackett (180th), Tim Bournsnell (185th) and Rob in 194th.

For the ladies Ruth was back first (surprise surprise) in a fantastic 70th place and 3rd woman in the race! Meg was next back in a solid 200th place, closely followed by Georgie on home turf in 218th, reliable Rosemary (221st) and Amy in 230th after a summer off running, making up the very credible first 5 counters. Elaine finished her first cross country BDL for the Harriers not far behind in 257th to make up an excellent start to the season.

The next race is a Chaddesden Park on 13th November at 11am. This is a fantastic 2 lap race taking in a stream crossing on both laps and isn’t hilly so an ideal ‘starter’ race if you haven’t been before. Remember it’s not all about being a counter…lets face it I’ve done over 40 of these races and counted twice (and one of those was at Shipley Park ‘cos they’ve just changed the rules)….it’s about being part of a collective team. Numbers count as we all contribute to pushing other teams down the placings. Go on give it ago….we’ll give you cake and coffee at the end…honest.

Oh…..and wear a club vest too.