By Roisin Hogan
My first race with the Eagles and I'm tasked with writing a report – I never signed up for homework but here we go…
Eagles old and new made their way to Claybury Park for the first fixture in the XC Met League on 13 October 2018.
Whilst everyone packed trail shoes, gloves, long socks and the like, no one thought to check the weather forecast where sun cream, sunglasses and sangria would have been more appropriate.
As a new joiner to the Eagles and to the XC Met League, I was amazed to see such a great turnout. The juniors were finishing up as we arrived with the ladies race up first.
I can't say I was prepared but it was clear a lot of the ladies were. We set off (some quicker than others) but the bottleneck start slowed the majority down. I also hear one lady took a tumble with several runners following behind – thank goodness the majority weren’t wearing trail/spike shoes! Not the first calamity of the day!
The ladies had a slightly shorter route than the men which started with a short loop followed by two full laps of the park. It was an unseasonably hot day with very little shade. A Serpie runner collapsed part way through but with prompt medical assistance provided she was released later that same day.
Ruth Dixon was clapped and cheered by all as she made it over the finish line with Melissah Gibson alongside for support.
Some also made it over the line lighter than when they started…Rebecca Jackson witnessed a girl caught short mid run!
The start to the men's race was slightly delayed but I believe this gave them an unfair advantage as the midday sun had well and truly passed by the time they set off.
The men's route consisted of a lot of testosterone, sweat and three full laps of the park or some will claim four laps including Kieran's warm down.
Safe to say everyone was well and truly dehydrated by this point and so to the pub we went.
Heatwave permitting, I'll be there for the next fixture!
Shout outs to:
Kieran and Charlotte as XC captains for organising a great event
Charlotte and Sam as paparazzi (best photo award goes to Hayley)
Simon for baking a delicious cake
Ed for dragging me along
The club for providing nibbles at the pub
Following a couple pints, a few words from those that took part:
Hayley: “today I learned that if you get a stitch on the left and then right, they sometimes combine to make a super stitch!”
Jess: “Ask me again when there's mud”
Abi: “Erm what was that sun all about? Makes the beer taste better though”
Rebecca: “you know it’s a tough race when the girl in front of you is wetting herself mid run.”
Ruth: “First time at XC and I'll definitely be back. Feeling very proud of myself and all the awesome eagles. Thanks for the standing ovation at the end – one to remember.”
Charlotte W: “I couldn’t wait for it to be over!”
Jen W: "My comeback race – hot and hilly and my lungs really hurt (and almost 4 minutes slower than last time) but I loved it!"
Claire: "I've remembered why I don’t do cross country" bit destroyed by the hills and the terrain but a beautiful park and a great team effort"
Liz: "loved the course but lack of mud a downside"
Kimmy F: "(1) liked that more than expected, (2) 2 non eagles fell ill due to ridiculous heat, (3) no mile markers and (4) feel inspired to train"
Sam: "that was hard, I don’t like it"
Mark: "first cross country and loved it! Failed to take Kieran's advice about sprinting the start but perversely enjoyed the hill passes"
Simon: "First cross country for a long time. Don’t like heat or hills! But worth it for the beers after"
Neil: "I'm not around much but XC is the biggest event in the season. Great eagles turnout and effort"
Jose: "I couldn’t wait to run this race and as usual the feeling at the end is great. Only in a XC race like this you get to see so many good runners and approaches to run the race (whether it is a crazy Ricardo sprint at the start or a strong runner like John or a patient runner like Ewan). Welcome again to XC"
Ed: “World's longest warm down thanks to Kieran. The hot new eagle made up for it”
Rob W: "I respected the hills but they didn’t beat me. Job done!"
Adam W: "didn’t see Ronnie this time round. Disappointing ;)"
Tim W: "it's not supposed to be as hot as this when you do XC. Where were the water stations?"
John F: “It's back! XC is our winter bread and butter and we need good turn outs for very fixture! Be there or be square! Good turn out today on such a warm afternoon! Let keep this up. Really testing course but lots of hill work recently paid off. Felt strong on the third loop and overtook lots of knackered runners. Punishing, testing, unrelenting XC…just as it should be. Bring on the mud all the same…”
Tom W: “First XC race. Can only be uphill from here!”
Greg: “Never again…until Welwyn.”
Kieran: “Again it’s the most testosterone filled start to any race in the world – love it.”
Laurence: “I hate Claybury. Brutal hill but ready for the rest of the season.”
Matt P: “Here’s to more runs with the Eagles! Great team support which helped after those hills!”
Laurence: “Great first race with the Eagles. Brilliant team, can’t wait for more runs.”
Bernard: “Didn’t bring my A game today! Clearly the heat played a part. Hilly and dry as per usual. Glad to be running XC again”
James: "tough hill, but nice to have Claybury as first XC with eagles"