Cross Country Season 1999-2000
North Essex League
The course in Highlands park was as fast and flat as usual. I was a bit concerned that I would lack speed as I had recently run the London to Brighton which meant running at a restrained pace. This proved to be the case though 27th was quite a good finishing position in the strong north Essex league which includes Ipswich and Colchester and Chelmsford
Not a good start as I threw up when I woke up. But Dee and myself set off in the car. Unfortunately my debilitated state left me woefully short of navigating skills and we could not find the course. Which was a shame as it was were Dee ran her first cross-country and also won.
Secret Bunker 12/12/1999
Training had been interrupted a bit due to my heel bursa. So I wasn’t expecting to do well on this course. Even worse after only ½ a mile I sprained my ankle quite badly. I managed to limp to the halfway point where I had intended to stop but as I was still in second place for Witham I bit the bullet and carried on and still managed to finish 2nd for Witham though my overall placing was well down at 57th.
Gt Bentley 30/01/2000
A very interesting course with short steep uphills and plunging down hills. The course started very fact with a lap around a large field this left me struggling a bit due to my lack off speed training, and I was in third place for Witham as we plunged into the wood. I was able to make up a lot of distance on the downhill’s by plunging recklessly down the descents and by the second lap had climbed to second place for Witham. However I did lose out in the run in to a Halstead runner we had been passing each other continuously as I went past him on the descents and he came back on the climbs, unfortunately the finish was uphill. I came 2nd for Witham behind Richard Cobden in 35th place.
Layer de la Haye Sunday 27/2/2000
Again the jam Factory course was not available this year so we set off from Layer de la haye school. A quick jog to an alternative start meant we did not need to run across concrete after the school playing field. After the recent rain a very muddy course. The organisers concerned that people would get lost in the river due to the extra water level diverted that particularly memorable part of last years course over a bridge. The mud made things tricky especially as I had selected short spikes anticipating some tarmac. So whilst I flew past people on the downhill, lack of traction meant they would often pass me again on the uphill. Quite a satisfactory placing at 26th in this league, second for Witham behind Richard Cobden.
Mid Essex League
First race ever in the new league was a bit of an unknown quantity. I opted for spikes but the ground was really too hard. It had a couple of short sharp downhills on road and this was very hard on the feet in spikes and caused me a bit of a problem with my heel. I followed a small group of three and then pushed into the lead but the eventual winner got ahead of me as I struggled on the road section which was a wise move on his part as the finish was steeply uphill in a ploughed field. 2nd race 05/12/1999
Quite a hard course so ran in training shoes as the spikes would not have been good, and unfortunately I had not packed my fell shoes. The race was fast and didn’t go badly I came 7th in first place for Witham just ahead of terry but my lack of training since my injury saw me well behind the leader.
A fast course again, I struggled again to match speed on the long open trails but always did better when we plunged into the woods. I was pushed into third place by Michael Leeds from Witham at the start of the 2nd lap but after a bit of a recovery I pulled back a couple of other runners who had passed me and challenged Michael for the line, but he was to fast in the sprint. Came 10th overall. 3rd for Witham behind Michael and Richard.
Witham Sunday 13/02/2000
Home race in this league. Dave Game of Witham runners designed the course, and he gave me a guided tour of the route, which included a vault over two tree branches and ducking another two. Spikes were essential to cope with the ploughed fields. Set off well in third place but throughout the course of the race I lost a place to a Springfield runner. Overall a very good result for Witham with Richard cobden coming 2nd and terry coming 9th.