As with the men, we were a little down on numbers for the ladies in the fourth race in the Herefordshire Winter Cross Country League – Lots of illness and other commitments but there were still an enthusiastic Croft team of ten ladies out in the gloomy January morning doing Croft Ambrey proud.
The Rotherwas course is a little different to the rest of the winter league races as it is relatively flat and consists of three laps around a very large field. A runner behind me did shout out – ‘there’s the hill’ as we went up a short incline of about three paces and he was right – that is really the only part that wasn’t flat. There was mud to deal with, but not much and a bit of a deviation around a fallen tree but pretty much a fast, flat course. Some runners will no doubt prefer this but personally, I think there is nothing to beat the challenge of getting up a hill as fast as you can or trying to stay upright on a steep descent, or checking out the views – the big houses on the other side of the river did little to motivate me!
I must apologise to all the Croft ladies there, as I did not seem to be very organised and did not see everyone at the start. I did not realise Gemma was there until Mike shouted to me at the end of the first lap that she was head of the race in a comfortable lead – very good news indeed.
In fact, Gemma ran a brilliant race and led all the way to finish first lady in 45.14, 47 seconds ahead of Jo Rees of Rhyadar RC with Laura Tootell of Wye Vally taking third.
Kelly and Robyn were 9th and 10th in times of 48.28 and 49.58 making up the Croft A team. This put the team in joint first place with Wye Valley on the day, still in first place position in the league.
A great run by Nicky Turvey keeping up a fabulous pace to lead the B team home in 52.18, first FV55, followed by Emma 2 places behind in 52.42, taking things a bit steadier now – you’ll have to ask her the reason why! Even with her steady pace, I couldn’t catch up with her, although I did keep her in my sights and completed the B team in a time of 53.44. The B team were 7th team on the day, not quite as good as at the other races, but still comfortably in third place in the league if I have read the tables correctly.
It was great to have Tom (Carol) back racing in the league again after a bit of a break since the summer due to illness. Looking good as she came to the finish and really pleased to be getting back on form, she lead the C team in 60.46, backed up by Flora 61.40 who seems to be ever improving and Gemma D who finished in 72.53.
Next Croft Lady home was Louise, who ran her best ever distance and so her best ever 6.5 miles in 76.15. Well done Lou, 3 laps is always mentally challenging and you did it.
Look at the smile on our faces ladies! We are all having a great time.
So all to run for at Presteigne. I think Wye Valley are still in with a chance at taking first place if we do not hold our nerves at Presteigne so lets try to get as many runners as possible and make it a memborable day – always great refreshments at the awards after the race.
More of Mikes photos on the club flickr page https://www.flickr.com/photos/croft-ambrey-runners/albums