The inaugural Queenswood winter X-C race was a real treat for the 35 Croft Ambrey runners (18 men and 17 women) that turned out for the third race of the winter series. Our thanks go to Wye Valley for creating such an interesting and challenging course. The two-lap course comprised northerly and southerly loops, mainly around the smaller ‘deer tracks’, giving us four hill climbs, each of around 270 feet vertical ascent, with a total climb of around 1171 feet in 5.5 miles. Race conditions were almost perfect, the weather being cool and dry and the ground underfoot being good over most of the route. Decent cross-country shoes were needed for a couple of sections, in particular the steep double-descent in the southern section of the course. It will be interesting to run this race after a wet spell – it could be pretty tricky next time!
The course design meant I was able to get a glimpse of the front runners for the first time ever. The eventual winner Tim Iveson of Builth & District RC was just completing the northern circuit for the second time, looking full of composure, while I began it. Looking 200m or so back down the track, I could see Andy Salt battling it out with another Builth runner, possibly the outstanding veteran Mike Pfeiffer (roughly twice Andy’s age), who eventually just pushed our lead-runner Andy into 4th place. Mark Lamonby scored another top 10 finish and Mark Thomas finished 12th overall (3rd MV45), taking advantage of Christmas training sessions in beautiful cold, crisp, sunny weather in New York’s Central Park. Newcomer Gareth Leek in 16th position made up our A team, who have now hauled Croft into 3rd place in the men’s team competition, with a healthy lead over Wye Valley.
Further down the line, it was good to see Anthony Wade back after injury, as well as David Millichap completing his first race of this winter series. We also welcome Sam Juson to the club, who ran very well in 52nd position. Will Gore (34th) led home the B team, which was completed by Sam, Greg Jones and Ashley Robinson (1st MV65). I enjoyed a good battle with Ashley, overtaking him on the final ascent but failing to press home my advantage, he timed his final sprint to perfection and pipped me to the line. Ian Price ran well for 2nd MV70 and Mark Williams is enjoying his first winter XC series as a Croft runner.
Croft Men’s results:
4 Andy Salt S.M. 38.30 3rd SM
9 Mark Lamonby S.M. 40.38
12 Mark Thomas MV45 40.57 3rd MV45
16 Gareth Leek S.M. 41.31
34 Will Gore S.M. 44.56
52 Sam Juson S.M. 48.31
69 Greg Jones MV45 51.06
83 Ashley Robinson MV65 52.14
84 Neil Taylor MV60 52.18 3rd MV60
88 Ian Price MV70 53.57 2nd MV70
93 Dave Millichap MV50 55.14
94 Jasper Robinson J.M. 55.30 3rd JM
95 Antony Wade MV45 55.36
112 Scott Hardie S.M. 59.06
120 Mark Williams MV50 61.02
121 Gary Gunner MV70 61.20 3rd MV70
126 Nick Paviour S.M. 67.44
129 Bryan Markham MV75 76.57 2nd MV75