A near record number (29 in all) of brave souls turned up on Sunday morning to tackle the icy mudfest that is Race 4 in the cross country league calendar. This number would have been higher had Rachel and Clare not turned up late…blaming their 16 mile run from Horseley, navigational errors etc etc….
Anyway, putting dubious levels of commitment aside, the turnout was awesome with Belper Harriers making up a good chunk of the 318-strong race. The previous highest turnout for this mid-winter, post Xmas mudathalon was 244, and this shows the increasing popularity of these races over the last 12 months….even in the dead of winter.
Despite the early frost, the ground conditions on this 5.2 mile, 2-lap undulating course quickly turned into a scene from Passchendaele which made for a lung busting race…especially up the steep banks that were strategically placed near the end of the laps. Great to see Martin Simms, Cathy Mitchell and Laura Cummings running in a Harriers vest for the first time. Also good to see some returning new runners like Wykeham, Ian, Ruby, Lois, Ed Godber, Anthony, Natalie and Elaine who clearly have got the XC running bug..…Elaine and Ian returning from a spell out due to injury, so good to have you back.
So, some great performances meant the Men coming in 6th, the Women in 5th and the combined team in 6th on the day. This has cemented our overall standings after 4 races with the men in 4th, Women in 6th (but not far behind Mansfield in 5th) and the overall team in 5th.
For the Men, first back in a brilliant 18th place was Shaun, closely followed by Wykeham going from strength to strength in 28th, Alex running well in 41st, Ed Godber in a very respectable 61st and just pipping always-consistent Dave Horton in 64th. Next was Ian Adkin in a very welcome post-injury 79th, followed by Andy Nash in 97th. The final 3 counters (all for the first time) Nick Bates (124th), Andy Lenton (127th) and Andy Naylor (136th)…well done chaps great effort, especially Lenny after attending a 50th Birthday party the night before…hic!
Not far behind the counters – Phil Butt continuing to run well in 162nd, Rob in (194th), Bradders (just back from an icy bike ride) in 200th, Anthony (210th), Simon Hackett (234th), Len (253rd) and Martin in 274th.
For the Ladies, first back was Rocket Ruth running a fantastic race to finish 3rd lady and 84th, brilliant. Next was Ruby in 185th, which is a great result given her dubious choice of road shoe footwear and having run from the bus stop down the road. Sarah Holmes in an excellent 207th, Helen Turner (216th) and Lois (217th) made up the five counters…well done all.
Helen Brunt just missing out as a counter was next in 225th, with Georgie (252nd), Rosemary (259th) and Natalie running well in 269th. Elaine coming back from injury in 291st, with Cathy closely following in 297th and Laura in 310th. Good slog through the mud one and all.
I’m sure the hot bath and red wine went down a treat afterwards…mine did anyway.
Next up is the final race of the season at Holmebrook Park, Chesterfield on 12th February. This race is a beast and once you’ve done it all the rest seem like a walk in the park…hahaha. Please try and make it as I’m sure we can rescue 3rd place in the standings…..this time there will be gazebo, hot drinks and more cake.
Special mention to Claire who made a cake but couldn’t get it to the race. Oh and whoever made the peanut biscuits…they were ace.