By Peter Weeks
A calm and dry morning greeted the five Striders who made the trip along the south coast to Pett for the final race of the East Sussex Cross Country League. This is my favourite race in the series because not only is the five-mile course a mixture of all the types of terrain experienced in cross country running, hills, woods, farmland and mud, there is the added bonus of excellent home baked cakes in the village hall at the finish.
The race starts in a narrow country track which means spectators have to get there early if they wish to see us off as we disappear into the wilds. Bob Hitchcock and Pat (my wife) were there in time to see us start and then made their way back to the village hall to check out the after race refreshments, unfortunately Martin was delayed as Harrison preferred to look at the alpaca’s in the field on the way to the start rather than cheer on Mum (Claire).
Our three speed merchants Scott, Luke and Dave all lined up towards the front of the field whereas Claire and myself decide to start at a more leisurely pace in the middle of the field. We entered the woods after half a mile onto a downhill path which in the past two years has been very muddy and slippery, providing an opportunity to overtake runners who do not enjoy fast descents, however this year the going was soft to firm and everyone coped with the descent.
Then it was into the undulating fields before heading back into the woods and hills and as much as I tried to catch Claire she had other ideas and kept me at bay all the way to the finish.
The first Strider home was Scott in 17th position (32:40) another good run especially as he decided to try out a beauty treatment “Mud Pack” on the way round (see photo). He was very closely followed by Dashing Dave Dunstall 19th (32:47) which confirmed his position as 1st overall Male 55 for the series, which meant we had to stay for the prize giving and consume more cakes. Congratulations Dave you are having an excellent spell, all your London Marathon 5 training is certainly paying off.
Third Strider was Luke Borland 23rd (33:27) who is also enjoying the benefits of marathon training, this time it’s for Brighton. Our only lady runner Claire Keith was 112th (40:59), followed by your roving reporter Peter Weeks 114th (41:08) – I was just being chivalrous and ensuring that Claire got home safely!
That’s it for another year – who knows? Maybe some of you will be inspired by the achievements you have read about over the past six months and want to join us for the 2017/18 cross country races.