What a difference a week makes! Last week it was chucking it down at 11am, but it turned into a pleasant evening. Today there were clear blue skies at 11, and then (a little bit of) rain late afternoon. With the cross country season upon us, I thought the Ledbury Harriers’ race would make good preparation, described as it was as an undulating multi terrain course.
Andy had established himself right at the front during the briefing, and then proceeded to lead us out, beginning to burn off his main challenger as the climbs continued. The first half mile is flat, then there’s a steep climb up a road, followed by a steady climb through miles 1 and 2, as the road gives way to stony track. By mile 3 there was a little variation, with the odd short dip, but mostly still climbing, now on muddier tracks, which then gave way to some more open grass, and grassy tracks, as we finally saw the ” ‘orrible obelisk” up above us. From there we imagined (or at least I did) a fast run down to the finish. However a wiggly path through woods brought us to a wider, more open track, at which point we were directed up to the said ‘orrible obby thing once more. Then at last it was downhill on a hard track (hard on the feet), and within sight of the finish we swept right, then left and left again with 200m to the finish line.
Andy won in 44.33, by a very comfortable margin. Most of the competition came from Malvern, Gloucester and Worcester, so the outcome of the cross country season against mostly Herefordshire athletes is yet to be revealed. Having believed I’d been overtaken on the very first hill by another 70 yr old, I pushed myself all the way to catch up, eventually doing so on the last descent, only to discover later (having committed the cardinal sin of asking him if he was also over 70) that in fact he was a MV50. Still, he helped me to cover the course in 64 minutes. Steph K was the only other Crofter (hiding her true colours under a royal blue top!), and she acquitted herself well (73.46) on a very demanding course, which could be done under the trade descriptions act for a tag of ‘undulating’! 129 runners completed the race.