The final cross country in the winter series was held at Presteigne on a bitterly cold morning. Croft had much to fight for with the possibility of claiming third place in the men’s league and I believe the women were battling to hold on to last year’s triumph.
After trying in vain to warm up, the start of the race beckoned the runners. There was tension in the air, runners were sizing each other up and 3,2,1 we were off. Only for a false start and the race had to be restarted.
The race starts with a fairly long run up the same track that you finish on and I decided to hold back rather than get excited and position myself too far up the field. You then make a left turn up into the woods for a short period before running along another long track where the runners started to split. I had to convince myself not to go too fast here early on in the race as I could remember some horrible hills which were still left to come. After about a kilometre we turned off into an uphill section and to my surprise I overtook about 4 runners who were walking at this early stage. I battled up the hill and was informed by a marshal that a downhill section lay ahead which motivated me to keep up the pace. I can remember running through the undulating woods and had become part of a “four pack” which included Martin. I looked around and beckoned Martin to keep pace. He later left me eating his dust and he must have been laughing to himself. Then we hit the long downhill track section which I knew led to the worst hill in the series (in my opinion). I ran a short distance but I could see all the runners ahead of me walking which was tough to resist. It was hard enough walking this wretched hill. I remember seeing Mick Ligema run the entire hill in 2013, what a beast!!!!! At the top of this hill is where Martin left me for dust. I knew it was only about 1.5 miles home from here so I tried to keep pace with 3 gentlemen in front of me. We hit another hill after some downhill which was a sting in the tail but I knew that the track lay at the top and battled up. As I hit the track I knew I had the beating of the three gentlemen and ran as fast as I could to finish 34th, which was a massive improvement on previous races this year.
Simon ran home in 6th, Sam 8th battling with his rival Flowers of WVR, Mark had a great comeback in 11th and Glyn finished in 20th which was enough to claim 3rd in the league. Well done lads.
(Maybe a women’s report to follow? Guy)