November25/ 2012

Those of you who stayed in on Saturday looking out at the rain missed a real treat – the second Sussex League Cross-Country of the season, based at Plumpton College. It was perfect conditions for a good mud-fest – it rained on already wet ground, the grass was long, the mud was deep and sloppy (and smelly in places), some of the fields had lumpy wet sticky clay with tufty grass and standing water, and it was only about 9 degrees. And believe it or not, it was FUN. You can’t help but smile at the idiocy of events like this. Eighty five women completed the 5K course and 170 men finished their longer 8K; everyone ended up soaking wet and covered in mud, with legs and clothes that looked as if they hadn’t been washed in decades but interestingly many people were smiling and laughing. One runner I know who was a total novice at Cross-Country said he hadn’t had so much fun in years and would definitely be back for the next one (Bexhill on 15th December).

So where were all the Steyning AC runners?  Well we had six runners in total, Camilla, Joan, Moyra and Lydia for the Ladies team but only two men for the Men’s team disappointingly (Tom and Antony, who both did brilliantly). Camilla has made a wonderful comeback from having baby Luke 6 months ago and did an excellent time of 22.08, coming in 13th overall in the Ladies race. A few minutes later Joan and Moyra crossed the line in 46th and 48th positions respectively in times of 24.35 and 24.39, and Lydia came romping in a few minutes later in 66th place in a time of 27.28. To put our times in perspective, the winner (Julie Briggs of Arena 80) took a mere 20 minutes to complete the course and the last runner on the course finished in 39.15. Our great performances place us SECOND currently in Ladies Division 2, out of a possible 24 teams.

In the Men’s race Tom Coates was the first Steyning runner home, finishing strongly in a time of 32.47, shortly followed by Antony in 36.01, cheered on by Camilla and Luke. The winner, Ben Tickner of Phoenix, did an impressive 28.42 and looked pretty fresh at the finish despite all the mud and the slowest runner finished in 53.19. Hot cups of tea and coffee all round revived the Steyning runners and we all went home happy with our performances, but wished we’d had just a few more runners to help make up the teams.

Come and join us at Bexhill for the next Cross-Country in the series in a few weeks time. The Ladies races start at 2:05pm and the Men’s at 2:30pm. We need a few more runners and you might even find that you enjoy it!

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