English National Cross-Country Championships 2016

Pensby Runners had 3 ladies and 8 men competing in the English National Cross-Country Championships, held this year at Donnington Park, Leicestershire. The venue proved to be an excellent choice as it had good road links, ample parking and a course that was much drier than many we have run on this season. For those who have never experienced the National it is quite an event in the running calendar. A club tent village is created from early in the morning as there are many age group races throughout the day. Fortunately, clubs are allowed to drop their tents off close to the village and Sarah and Lucy did an excellent job in siting and erecting the club flag and tent in the time it took me to park the car and walk back. Each time I have run in the National I am always impressed by the number of youngsters who take part and this year was no exception. Each race has a mass start, which for the ladies meant 739 runners and for the men 1730 runners. The first section of the course was downhill and ensured a fast start but our entry into what appeared to be a turnip field soon slowed many of us down! The course (2 laps for the ladies – 8K and 3 laps for the men – 12K) was a series of twists and turns and up and down dale, which for those of us at the back of the field did allow us to appreciate the number of runners in the race. The muddy patches of the course were of the thick and sticky variety i.e. your shoes got heavier as the race progressed. The elite runners, however, just seemed to float over the mud and I spent most of the second circuit being lapped! It was a relief to start the third lap and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet! Lucy was first home for the Pensby ladies in a time of 39 minutes and 47 seconds, unfortunately we were one runner short of a complete team. Ralph was first home for the men in a time of 57 minutes and 37 seconds but Rob and Gary also succeeded in finishing in under the hour. The men did have the required number of finishers for a team and were 109th. Well done to everybody who ran, you did your club proud. The National was also the final race in our own internal cross-country league and this year the winners are Lucy Partridge for the ladies and Dom Roberts for the men. Lucy was also the only person to complete every race in the league, well done Lucy. Unfortunately, Dom, who had previously completed all the league races, had to miss the National due to nursing duties looking after a sick Sarah, what a husband! I have attached the final cross-country league table. Don’t forget to clean your shoes and store them safely ready for the 2016-17 season.