It was incredibly chilly stood on the edge of the moor in the New Forest and conditions looked iffy. The weather could have turned at any moment. Ladies Captain Kelly had a police escort during her team talk as well which made a change, she must have been very excitable at Netley!
I had been warned of mud by fellow Hedge End runners, not least Cliff whose first words to me were ‘what are you doing here, you don’t do cross country?’ Cliff is right, I struggle with Parkrun so what lay ahead of me at Janesmoor ran fear through my veins. Richard Allen who was recovering from the NDVM had kindly said he would run with me and as we set off down the misleading compacted gravel hill I felt a little more confident. I am notoriously dreadful at pacing myself. I always go off at the speed of light and fail by 800m but thanks to Rich I started sensibly. We chatted our way down the hill and continued around the course, catching up with other team mates on the way, even overtaking some.
PB’s can’t be set at the RR10’s because of the points system but I am not one for running without a watch so I always have to check my times. I run to the KM rather than Mile and my maths is worse than my four year old daughters so I really had no idea how far we had run at any stage in the race. That said, we knew we were approaching the end of the race when the marshals kindly informed us there was no more mud. We could see the beautiful downward slope from the start which we now had to climb for the finish. Ahead of us were a small group of Hedge End runners, Sheryl James and Michael Head were there. Richard decided he had to catch Michael and stormed up the hill. He achieved his target of beating Mike because unlucky Mike took a wrong turn at the finish funnel much to everyone’s amusement. I shut down but seeing Sheryl inspired me to run to the line with her, she kindly shouted at me to go ahead so I sprinted for the line just ahead finishing in 84th place.
I’m not a cake fan (controversial I know), I will always fear cross country but I hold a huge amount of affection for the RR10’s, the amount I laugh on the way round contributes more to my core training than any other exercise I do!