National Cross Country Report – Saturday 26th February

Race report by Caroline Brock

When I heard the nationals were at Parliament Hill this year I was so excited! When I started cross country a few years ago I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I have. It is my favourite race discipline! It’s similar to fell and trail running where you are just racing against the elements on the day and the course conditions. You can’t think about pace, you just run as hard as you can and try to stay upright.

Parliament hill is known as the home of English cross country so definitely a race to do at least once but it’s a few hours drive for us northerners. Luckily the friendly Hallamshire harriers were putting on a bus and offered us spaces. The ever organised Richard Pegg got us sorted with spaces so we could travel in style. I love a bus journey to races, catching up, meeting new faces, talking about running and then talking about running some more!

It was great to have Laura on the bus, a cross country newbie, her energy and excitement was infectious! Kate plaited our hair on the way down and we felt like true cross country pros! Malcolm didn’t get too involved in the hair chat 😉

For us Senior runners the women’s race was first and it was great to arrive nice and early. The sun was shining, it was perfect running conditions. We got the tent set up (yuck) and had time to join a lengthy toilet queue and watch some of the kids races. Lots of mud was seen along with quite a few tears! We could tell it was going to be a tough race. Some more of our clubmates who had travelled separately joined us at the tent and we were starting to get excited and nervous, time for that final toilet stop before we lined up at the start.

The course was a mix of hills, muddy hills, very muddy hills, more mud and a few sections of runnable trail. It was hard work, keeping balance running downhill and trying to keep traction running up, but it was immensely fun as agreed by all! If I wasn’t trying so hard I would have been grinning the whole way round.

We had a quick change and tried to get some of the mud off then we were out on the course to cheer the men’s race. There were such numbers that at points the bottlenecks meant a short walk as there was no space to move, position and line choice was key. Unfortunately Martin had to pull out due to injury, but still got to experience some of the course and the atmosphere.

After congratulating each other on a tough day’s running we had to quickly dismantle the tent so the bus didn’t leave without us (even more yuck than before), we were last back but right on time! The post race buzz kept us going on the bus journey back home.

If you’ve not tried cross country yet then why not make 2022 the year you do, you won’t regret it! This year the races were streamed on YouTube, we spotted Kate on the replay and Malcolm was also in shot so take a look if you are tempted!

Quote from Martin: Mud under your toenails is like a tan – you have to keep topping it up

Thank you to everyone involved for a fantastic day, it will be hard to beat.


84 Caroline Brock 5158 00:34:13
771 Laura Rangeley 5161 00:48:37
921 Carol Beattie 5157 00:54:54
555 Clair Wren 5163 00:43:50
724 Caroline Rowena Greenough 5159 00:47:27
721 Kate Scott 5162 00:47:23
1448 Malcolm Baggaley 8405 01:06:08
1413 Chris Lawson 8408 01:05:31
1528 Ian Stinson 8410 01:07:47


Full results can be found here

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