The Mortimer Forest race was the last of the 2015 Croft Ambrey Club Championship races and it saw 12 croft runners amongst 359 at the start line. This was enough for 2 women’s teams and one men’s team.
So why so few Croft runners for a local race? Maybe it was the 8 mile course or maybe the morning’s rain and fog, or maybe it was the realisation that all those weeks of rain would mean for a slippery course, but in my opinion the mud only made it more fun and you don’t know what you missed!
Right from the start running across the Rugby pitch at Moor Park School to the short uphill to the road crossing there was mud and that was pretty much how it continued. There was just mud, more mud or puddles and a couple of stream crossings. The challenge of this race was not only running fast but staying on your feet and I would be very surprised if anyone managed it without some slipping and sliding but those with a good sense of balance and good off road trainers would have had an advantage.
There did seem to be less brambles this year, so it was possible to get past slower runners in most parts, but you really did have to watch where you were putting your feet and had to make decisions about running through or around the puddles. The most treacherous parts were the downhills, notably running down the ‘big dippers’ a series of four hills each one steeper than the previous one, and down the bank to the stream crossing. I only actually fell once but did slip and stumble quite a bit, nearly everyone that I saw who tried to pick up their pace on the downhills ended up falling over, keeping things steady was the order of the day.
With so many runners it was hard to keep track of all my fellow Crofties. For most of the way I could see Liz and Guy up ahead of me and I tried to keep them in sight and I did manage to get past them both at the final uphill and finished ahead of them, 15th lady (138th ) in 93.06. Guy was not far behind in 140th, in 93.24, not up to full strength as having been ill recently and having taken a tumble along the way, so well done Guy on his V70 prize! As we all know Liz is a fantastic road runner but I think she may be starting to enjoy these cross country races. If the race had been one mile shorter she would easily have finished in front of me. As it is she finished 16th lady (142nd) in 93.39 which meant she took home the FV60 prize!
Frank was the next Croft runner home in 95.23 (156th). Jo Marriot has also not been well and so had a steady race, finishing in 25th 97.34 (still a very good time). Carol was not too far behind in 34th in 100.53. She finished with a great big grin on her face having enjoyed every minute. Tom was the next Croft runner home in 103.38, looking like he could do a second lap if needed. Liza has had a bit of a break from running but is now coming back and was looking strong at the end to finish in 49th, 107.50. Julie finished in 114.59 (63rd), another who is finding these off road races fun and who I am sure will be back for more.
First Croft finisher was Ben Rees 79th, in a time of 83.45. Other Croft Results are Neil Taylor 113th in 88.29 and Daren Lincoln 117th in 89.03. My apologies to them as I don’t know how their races went, they were so fast that I never saw them on the race and didn’t catch up with them afterwards. Further apologies to those who weren’t on the group photo – I couldn’t find everyone!
To our great delight, Liz, Jo and I were the winning ladies team, each taking home a rather large Christmas pudding. For a race with so many entries, I think that is pretty good going!
Mike was at the race timekeeping. He had his camera, so keep checking the photo page to see if there are any pictures there.