Over my three seasons of cross country running in the UK I have come to look forward to the February races as they consistently provide “classic cross country conditions” with plenty of mud, cold, rain and or clouds.
This year was no exception at Ally Pally with a respectable amount of mud, its fantastic hill and a stadium-like atmosphere provided by the amazing supporters at the start and end of the hill.
We had a great turnout for the club given the distance to travel and is a testament to the team captains Charlotte and Kieran’s ability to hype the event. I later realized that Kieran had shamelessly exploited my impending move to Australia to drag runners out and I had to explain to several disappointed eagles that I was not leaving the country for a couple of months. I’m sorry guys, I will go, I promise. You don’t need to start another hashtag.
The ladies race as always was first and consisted of two laps. Was great to see the stalwarts, first timers and especially second timers (who having done once thought it was fun enough to do again!).
The Men’s race was a much more sedate affair. Apparently, there were other Eagles running but I didn’t see much of them as I was too busy enjoying the view from the top of the hill. I finished up in the C team which is a testament to the very large number of fine, excellent, fantastic runners who managed to stay ahead despite my current fabulous form. Also, maybe going on holiday wasn’t the best training plan.
The mud was a fine consistency with the right amount of stickiness. I left quite a bit of it on the train on the way home, along with some leg hairs. Ally Pally is my favorite type of met league mud, but I know photographer Olivia was disappointed that no-one fell over.
Cross-country has been my favorite part of running in the U.K and I am sad to be leaving it behind. I love the battle against the hills, weather and ground conditions combined with the fantastic team spirit and competition the eagles provide. I highly recommend any new members give it a try!
Here’s what the rest of the team thought of it:
Bernard: Ally Pally was its usual hill and muddy self! No A-team for me today …. Outclassed!! A great send off for Cam!! #diditforcam
Alan: I wish my girlfriend was this dirty!
Greg: With Cam leaving, I was very sad to beat him by such a large margin, better taking him on the line like Wormwood Scrubs.
Tom: What a hill! My favourite of the season… Might have faltered had it not been for the leadership of Cam but luckily, he inspired me through it!
Laurence: An emotional out with Cam, but nice to beat him once again!
Fiona: Wanted to walk the rest of “the hill” then heard Greg shout “Come on Fiona!” so annoyingly had to keep running! Tough, but the best one yet.
Matt: Hideous as predicted, however mildly less hated than previous XC. Perhaps I’m starting to “enjoy” XC. Pub always makes it worth it plus all for a good cause #doitforcam.
Ewan: This was the second most sick I’ve felt after a race. First was Ally Pally 2017. So it was probably my favorite Ally Pally. I hate hills, both the up and the downs. Jose was strong today.
Tom: I love XC and John Llaxof
Sophie: #doitforcam End of a fab season – river crossing, mud hills and pints – it ticked all the boxes! Au revoir to the fastest kiwi @metleague
Charlotte L: Great to see so many Eagles on the course, leapfrogging each other as we show which past of the course we’re strong on. To use Kieran’s words, the tube journey and pub is a craic! Nothing quite like XC to brighten your mood.
Nils: Mud and hills. All that I shouldn’t like but lots of Eagles and great fun.
Michelle: Finishing felt good! A new experience. Glad to have done it though.
Linda: After Wormwood Scrubs I wanted more mud and a more challenging course. Wish was granted!
Sam P: Suffered so much but took 4 mins off 2017 time!
Anna W: Jess pre-race “it’s like a roller coaster“ is hilariously accurate
Hayley: My lungs and legs hated me today, but I #diditforcam.
Liz: Loved the mud, hated the uphill. Best way to cure last night’s excesses though.
Rhiannan: ugh, mud.
Abi: Mud Mud Mud, hills hills hills - save the best for last I #diditforcam
Sam: Nearly crapped myself trying to keep up with Oliver #doitforcam
Charlotte W: I don’t have spikes so it was like running through treacle
Will: It occurred to me greatly today as I huffed and puffed – I, Will Adolphy, can NOT run hills. Wow. Wake up call. Glad I finished!
Simone: Fuck my boots, that was a bastard
Mike: 7.5K too long. Don’t recommend 1/10
Chris: Need to get better at running down hills #doitforcam
Gerb: Absolutely love the mud.
Paul B: Great to meet you today. Great race!
Oliver: Muddy and hilly I loved it, glad it didn’t rain!
Jack: First XC, set off too fast and thought the hill on the third lap would the end of me. But great fun and felt great at the end.
Pammy: loved supporting as usual – get stuck in the mud!
Nigella: All I could think of was “After The Rains” by Muddy Waters
Harry: Could I throw myself down the hill fast enough to pull out a big enough lead on Santry to beat his sprint finish? Dam right I could #revenge.