Wormwood XC race report- 12th January 2019 by Oliver Gildea


With race day approaching, Fiona, Laurence and others had been drumming up support for this Met league fixture, under the instruction of Mr Santry all the way in South Africa!! Laurence even stirred up a few rivalries for the men’s race through a feisty Facebook post. It finally came around to race day. The weather leading up to race day had been pretty mild, so everyone had to make the critical decision of whether to wear 6mm spikes or 9mm spikes?! No demand for those 15’s needed at Uxbridge! Having only turned up 5 minutes before the ladies race started, I couldn’t help but be blown away by how many Eagles there were waiting at the bag drop. Correct me if I’m wrong, but 76 runners must be some kind of record for the Eagles at a Met-league fixture? However, I was extremely happy to be warm and cosy in my coat as the wind blew down the opening straight of the course. The women had their compulsory team photo and headed down to the start line, where the lady in the long-red coat waited with her gun in bag.

 The gun went off and the ladies race began, they shot up the opening stretch in to the headwind. Their course was half a lap followed by a full lap, covering 4 miles. The course was much flatter than Uxbridge and critically…drier. There were some brilliant PB’s from the ladies and some great efforts from XC first-timers Vanessa, Caroline, Charlotte and Linda to name but a few. Fiona continued her good form, coming through first Eagle.

Abi clearly having too much fun

Abi clearly having too much fun

As the ladies race came to an end, the men began to contemplate getting changed and ready to race. As we lined up at the start line, Kieran did a vital shift as a wind-stopper at the front and then shuffled back in to the huddle. Just as the red-coated lady was readying herself to reach for the starting gun, Sam Royle sprinted down to the start line in the knick of time! Everyone was ready, the gun went of and we sprinted into the distance! The men’s race covered two laps of the course, taking in 5.2 miles. We followed the course round in to the woods, with John disappearing into the mass of runners. Having really drummed up the rivalries prior to the race, I was keen to try and beat Laurence, so I stuck to him like glue. I overtook him going in to the second lap, which was probably a bit ambitious and had to pull back the pace slightly to avoid the dreaded stitch. However, unbeknown to me, Laurence had suffered a hit from the “mighty cramp gods”! Now, unlike some of the quotes in the pub report, I sympathise with Laurence, having suffered a similar fate at Uxbridge…but secretly, I was happy to take our XC tally to 2-1 Laurence. Bring on Alexandra Palace!

Laurence trying to make up for having a little break

Laurence trying to make up for having a little break

 Like in the ladies race, many of the men set some fantastic times on the course. Will put on a flying second lap to catch John, but John managed to beat him in the sprint! Jose and Ewan rounded out the top 4 Eagles.

 Wormwood was another cracker followed by LOADS OF CAKE and a few drinks in the Pocket Watch. Here are a few of the quotes from some of the team:

 Claudia – “1st race of 2019, this Canadian girl nearly died, but managed to get the best time by far!”

 Charlotte- “Another 1st timer here! PB in my first ever 6k race as well!”

 Linda- “First XC race for me! Loved it!”

 Caroline W- “1st XC for me too, after 2 and half years as an eagle! I’ll definitely be back”

 Vanessa M- “1st race for me since school and better experience than I remember. Great atmosphere and people”

 Kin- “A fast start, enjoyed running in the woods. Harsh wind across the course- 3 cakes!!”

 Charlotte L- “Have you seen how many Eagles turned up?!”

 Bernard- “Come on Laurence, you can do it mate!”

 John F- “As fast a start as ever today and I genuinely thought Will was ahead of me until he came flying past with about a km to go. Just edged it on the sprint finish though”

 Sam- “Can Laurence get a stitch every race please?”

 Charlotte W- “It was my fastest XC race yet…”

 Cam- “Really enjoyed seeing Laurence pull up”

 Sam P- “Unofficial 5km and 5 mile pb- perfect conditions!”

 Tom C- “Pleased to prove Kieran’s predictions wrong yet again- Team A again!”

 Greg- “Dragged here against my will…”

 Laurence- “Was going well. The mighty cramp gods beat me as did Oliver (2-1)”

 Fiona- “Spent most of the race distracted by the girl in front who’d failed to dress herself properly…”

 Hayley- “Why does everyone question me when I show up in leggings? We all know I’m going to reveal the legs at 1.45…”

 Tom- “Nice and flat, but a little monotonous wasn’t it? Tried my best but still got passed by an old man breathing like some kind of zombie- that’s XC for you!”

 Wei- “Great race. Tough but great fun! Love it!”

 Sophie- “Who needs South Africa when you have Wormwood Scrubs XC in January!”

 Vicky- “No mud! Hurrah, 2nd time on the scrub and no mud!”

 Nigel- “The battle at the back was remorseless…”

 Pammy- “Loved cheering everyone on!”

 Michelle- “Steady start, then decided to work a bit harder, enjoyed picking off the teams in front for the rest. Great race!”