We arrived at Fforest Fields, a car load of elderly gents whose combined age was 288, with a certain amount of apprehension. Not because of the weather, which was mild even if the clouds seemed to have gathered over the hills, nor intimidated by all the Fs in the name of the course, but fearful we would not match up to the ladies’ likely achievements. Even their report came in first!
As we gently extricated ourselves from the car, our mood lightened on seeing Stacey and the 2 Marks (Mark 3 we spotted later). Perhaps we wouldn’t after all be required to lay down our lives in some far-off Fforest Field for club and country, but would be allowed to go gently with the flow.
A mile or so into the race I glimpsed Stacey and Mark L well up with the leaders as they rounded the pond for the first time. I knew Mark T was up there too, as were Glyn, Neil P, Matt (welcome back to X-C!) and Justin, in his first winter X-C race. From then on it was, as Sam suggests in her report, a case of concentrating on where you were putting your feet (the runner in front of me got his foot snared in a bramble and fell full length) and on the twists and climbs of the course, and not having much time for longer views. As we returned to the campsite area, I knew there was more to come – first up and around the (Fforest Fields) finishing field, then a climb up a soft meadow, through a small wood, minding the roots, a drop down towards the finish, but first yet another detour round the pond and a fast run 200m or so down to the finish.
Stacey in 5th place, and Mark L in 9th did us proud. Mark T dropped out at some stage, maybe misjudging the demands of a 6 mile semi-fell race. Justin in 26th did extremely well, just ahead of Glyn (welcome back too!) and Neil P. Matt was 35th, but then we were rather strung out – Ian was 3rd M65, only 30 seconds behind Steve H, I was 1st M70, just holding off Ashley and Mark P. Bryn on his first run for the club came in a commendable 76th, with over 40 runners behind him. Gary G and Daren both found the going tough. Rob (whose near namesake, Robin Woods was 2nd!) is gradually moving up the field, finishing just ahead of Tom, still nursing an injury. Bryan couldn’t match the ‘pace’ of the newcomer to the ranks of the over 75s, Bryan Symonds, but nevertheless secured 2nd place, by a comfortable 14 minutes.
Any suggestions for a caption?