A Glimpse of the Future by Sean Kelly.
The Farringdon Cross Country Relays and Races are the traditional ‘opener’ to the North-East cross country season. It is a fairly gentle way of re-introducing your body to the shock of the uneven surfaces, slipping on mud, sudden turns and even wading or jumping across streams! The latter is made even tougher when a gaggle of TBH ‘supporters’ are gathered filming the runners and hoping for a ‘You’ve been framed’ moment! Marc Fenwick sounded disappointed every time a runner didn’t fall into the stream head-first!
For me, the most exciting part of the day was witnessing three of our youngest runners taking part in this event for the first time. In the under 13s race Jane Harland and Eve Helm were on tenterhooks waiting for their race to begin. I was trying to give them a few tips when we saw the rest of the under 13s gathered on the start line. We rushed over but found that there were still 7 minutes until the start. The youngsters are a lot more eager than the seniors!
Sensibly, Jane and Eve set off at a steady pace and used the tactic of working their way through the field as the race progressed. It works for Mo Farah! Jane’s dad, Gary was a bag of nerves. I don’t know if he was more worried about Jane or his own race later in the day. We were delighted to see the two girls still moving well on the dreaded ‘Big Hill.’ It’s a hill that strikes fear into the hearts of many experienced runners but our two lasses took it in their stride. Eve picked off a couple more runners and Jane looked very strong.
Both runners managed an impressive sprint finish. Eve took 20th position and Jane was close behind in 25th. This was a great experience for the two girls and they have been training hard with Simon Kristiansen. The future is theirs.
Leodhais also set off at a steady pace and had worked his way up to 11th position in the under 13s race when they hit the hill. He was hitting his stride as the finish approached and snatched 8th position in the finishing sprint. If the race had been two laps, my money would have been on a top three finish.
Niamh Hall had a very tough task in the under 15s race. She was running against girls older than herself and pushed herself very hard. She should use this as a strengthening experience and keep up the training at TBH where she has been showing great promise.
The Senior Men were brought home in third spot on the first leg by the consistently superb Tony Carter (check out the report on the following day’s 10k for great news about Top Cat). The Seniors were lifted up to second place through superb running from Kev Jeffress and Shaun Brown. Sparrow Morley eventually brought the lads home in the bronze medal position. James Dunce had a fantastic run in the B Team and will be looking for promotion into the A Team in the next relay event.
Our Veteran Men were led off by Captain Paul Hilton. He always delivers the goods in relay events and battled his way through the 3rd position. It was like old times waiting on the start line to take over from Paul. In my first competitive event for 4½ months, I was determined to run at an even pace throughout and not to embarrass myself! I was relieved to hold onto 3rd position while strong runs from Andy Harrison and Alan Hodgson lifted the team into 2nd position at the finish. The fifteen pounds voucher should pay for a new pair of socks, cheers!
It was a straight race for the women and we saw Sophie Marr with her ‘race face’ on as she streaked up the hill (‘streaked’ as in ‘ran hard’ – calm down…). I shouted to her, “You’re in 7th…no, you’re in 6th,” as she picked her way past the other runners. She sprinted home into 3rd position. Kym Eden also moved through the field as the race progressed and finished strongly to get 9th spot. The women have another season in the top division of the North East Harrier League and we are in a stronger position than ever with great strength in depth.
Outside of the races, the other debut performance of the day was the unveiling of the new TBH tent. It’s a cracker! I think that we must have bought it off a circus supplier it’s so huge! However, Micky has taken on the role of ‘Tent Caretaker’ and will be standing at the entrance of the tent throughout the cross country season ensuring that members take their muddy shoes off outside. I understand that he will be measuring the floor space up for the laying of a carpet and is thinking about what sort of chandelier would look best hanging from the roof of the tent. Happy days!
Full results to follow soon.