Where’s The Mud? Inter-Counties XC Champs, Wollaton Park, Nottingham

Race Date: Saturday 9th March 2024

Following the County Championships at the beginning of January (Derbys, Notts and Yorks), Steel City had unprecedented success with Abbie Pearse, Caroline Brock and Simone Young-Alls being selected for the Inter-Counties be it that they would all be on different teams. Sometimes however real life gets in the way of our running with Simone’s little girl being really quite poorly meaning that our Nottinghamshire athlete couldn’t run. Simone was obviously disappointed not to get her new green county vest but at times only mum will do.

They don’t look like mortal enemies.

Events up to the championship were not without concern either as, in a scenario similar to the Nationals in February, Wollaton Park was under water and planned car parking unavailable. Plan B was for a coach drop off with other competitors advised to use public transport. Caroline travelled on the tram from Toton Lane park and ride to the University then an Uber to save her legs but walking back after the event.

But where was all the mud? Those hoping for “proper cross country conditions” were to be disappointed with Abbie worried that the ground wouldn’t take her 15mm spikes and shoes hardly needing a scrub by the end of the race.

Yorkshire packing well with no mud to speak of

Abbie recounts what an honour it was to represent Yorkshire for a second time but she was far more relaxed on this ocasion with the whole day fun especially with Caroline also there to enjoy the experience. Abbie felt that she had a good race, packing well with two other Yorkshire team mates for the majority of the 7km although possibly going off too hard and fading. This made the final hill to the finish a real grind although she managed not to lose a place in the sprint finish. Packed with Internationals, the race was also the trials for the World XC Champs in Belgrade at the end of the month so it was therefore understandable that Caroline found the start to be a bit crazy, getting quickly boxed in although that perhaps stopped her going off too fast on a runnable course and a tough race.

Caroline finished 97th and third scorer for Derbyshire behind International team-mates Lauren McNeil (2nd) and Lauren Heyes (5th) with her county finishing twelfth. Abbie had a simply amazing run coming home in 30th position and fourth scorer as Yorkshire packed well to come second with a silver medal to compliment her bronze from last year. Surrey won the team race with 162 points to Yorkshire’s 184 points. A Simone-less Notts fielded a full team of six to finish in 26th position.

With a smile wider than the Cheshire cat’s.

With 257 finishers behind her. Abbie Donnelly (Lincoln Wellington, Lincs) won in 24:16. Full results Inter-Counties 2024 include links to other events. The men’s race was won by Calum Johnson (Gateshead, North East). Yorkshire also won silver medals in the men’s event.

Pos Name Time
30 Abbie Pearse (Yorkshire) 27:08
97 Caroline Brock (Derbyshire) 29:04

The Yorkshire Team. L-R Ruby Sykes, Katy Wood, Natasha Hatswell, Betty Bergstrand, Abbie Pearse, Ellen McLeod, Katrina Ballatyne, Abbey Brooke

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