Race Date: Saturday 26th January 2019
The Northern X Country Championships need little introduction. It’s a great chance to get to run alongside the best runners in the north of England, and feel that sense of pride in sharing a field with people running at an average pace which is faster than your flat out sprint (for me anyway). This version was held at Pontefract racecourse, which wasn’t the most scenic but offered a flattish course with, incidentally very little mud. The weather (almost) held out giving us runners perfect conditions to pitch ourselves among the fast ones.
As usual, Richard Pegg had organised a coach to take us and bring us back. Special Kudos has to go to Richard Pegg, Claire Grisdale, Ian Stinson, Paul Middlemas, and Simeon Cotterell for getting up at silly o’ clock to help set up and marshal the earlier races. I would definitely encourage more Striders to join the races next year – it’s one of the most enjoyable days out in the calendar, gives you a chance to: enjoy some top camaraderie, shout at your team mates as they race, devour some of Stuart Jones’ delicious hot chocolate, and watch the front runners in awe. You might also get to hear Richard Pegg’s ‘putting up the tent’ joke at least 16 times – I’ll save the punchline as a surprise to look forward to for next time.
As usual, the women’s’ race was 8k (66% of the men’s’ distance) which meant two long laps of the course. You never know, next year they might let the ladies do the same distance as the men! (There is a campaign about this for the equality minded, and certain Striders are somewhat vociferous about the issue!) Fastest female was Mhairi Maclennan of Morpeth Harriers in 27.36. The Striders ladies team came 13th, importantly beating almost all Sheffield teams bar Hallamshire Harriers. Great achievement – well done!
The men’s race was 12k, which was three long loops. The winner was Emile Cairess of Leeds City Athletic Club in 38.05 (3.10 minute kms!). Striders men’s team came 21st overall, though, sadly were beaten by Totley AC – must try harder next time! (Not really – great effort on a tough field!)
Full results available here