Northern Counties Cross Country

@ Pontefract Racecourse – the longest flat racing circuit in the country.

Race Date: Saturday 29th January

Race Report by Stuart Jones

We want cross country to be epic – actually that’s not quite true; we want cross country to be EPIC! We want it to be muddy, lakes of it, ankle deep in it, with banks and slopes and waterlogged fields of it, narrow paths with no side escape route away from it, so that we finish covered in it and can boast about enduring it to generations not yet born or initiated in the ways of cross country.

I got my 10 metre swimming badge (TMSB) at Ellesmere Port baths. The baths were redeveloped and renamed as the Ellesmere Port Indoor Centre – ‘EPIC’ for short.

Last week, in a ten-minute filler with a Year 4 class, I got them telling me which of Sheffield’s many was their favourite park. Endcliffe was not the only answer, but one child who did like that one said it was for the café. It’s called Endcliffe Park Indoor Café – EPIC!

‘Northerns’ were not, sadly, at all EPIC unless the acronym stands for Exit Pontefract Incredibly Clean. There were a couple of softer patches, and spikes were the best shoe option, but the wind was the main handicap (well, that and older age, and Covid recovery, and Christmas weight gain, and …).

The effort committed by every runner was epic. The traditional baring of flesh by donning shorts and vest (or crop top in some cases) was epic. The cavalry charge at the start is always epic. The generosity of volunteer marshals is certainly epic.

The Northern XC cavalry charge

What was a surprise to all of us was the men’s race distance exceeding both what was advertised in the prospectus – 11.3 km / 7.02 miles – and how far we ran on exactly the same course last time we were here – four years ago? – 11.7 km / 7.3 miles. Depending on point of view, the extra 1.3 miles was either excellent value for money or more pain than we bargained for. It partly explains why I still hurt so much three days later as I write this report.

Some results, then. You can find the lot here.

The women’s team (Caroline, Zanthe, Kate and Carol) were 18th out of 33 scoring teams – a Club needed four scoring women to get a team result. The only Sheffield-based Club to finish higher was Hallamshire Harriers.

The men’s team finished 33rd out of 39 scoring teams – you needed a minimum of six men scoring to get a result in this category. (Seth, Ben, Richard Carter, Tim, Malcolm and Ian did the business for us.) Both Hallamshire Harriers and Sheffield RC outdid us. (To be fair HH were 3rd overall!)

The results service allows you to print out your own Certificate – and isn’t that just epic?

262 runners took part in the Senior Women category. The individual race was won by Eleanor Bolton of Ribble Valley Harriers in a time of 00:31:13, and the winning team was Vale Royal AC.

517 runners featured in the Senior Men category. The individual winner was Hugo Milner of Derby Athletic Club, in a time of 00:41:43, and the winning team was Salford Harriers & AC.

Fifteen Striders took part on the day.

Striders Results: Senior Men (12.2k)

P Name Gun Time
232 Seth Kirby 00:53:36
260 Ben Jones 00:54:38
325 Richard Carter 00:57:14
364 Tim Holt 00:58:36
398 Malcolm Baggaley 01:00:03
400 Ian Stinson 01:00:08
446 Lee Mills 01:04:23
458 Richard Adrian Pegg 01:05:50
470 Des Ryan 01:06:49
478 Stuart Jones 01:07:51
514 Kevin Haighton 01:24:50

Striders Results: Senior Women (8.12k)

P Name Gun Time
41 Caroline Brock 00:35:54
57 Zanthe Wray 00:37:16
188 Kate Scott 00:45:37
234 Carol Beattie 00:52:00

Full results are available on the sporthive website.

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