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Lord Lawson of Beamish

by Val Baxter

February 2, 2016

Northerns XC Race Report by YB

It was one of those mornings when you just didn’t want to get up… was cold, 6:00am, and the heating hadn’t come on yet. Apart from that we had been at no 1 sons girlfriends 21st on Friday night, and I was minging with garlic!!!

6:45 and Stephanie turned up bright eyed and bushy tailed, and off we went to Birtley to meet the rest of the club, and join the bus to Blackburn. It is often said that it’s a small world, and Stephanie often says we cannot run anywhere without me knowing someone, so she wasn’t surprised when we arrived at the bus and I knew the driver; hadn’t seen him for about 30years!!

The journey wasn’t the best for me, I don’t do mornings well, but it took about 3 hours to get there and there was no stress trying to get parked etc, so there were plusses to not driving. We got parked 100 metres (that’s 109.3 yards for those of us still not accepting decimalisation) from tent city, and as we are now experts at it, the tent was up in minutes. (where I say we, read Gary Curtis).

The set up was good, plenty of portaloos right next to the tents, on the side of the course, and just inside the course the Start Fitness stalls, and the coffee/burger tent. It was all laid out well so you could stay local, but still watch the races. The real sadists however had to go to the far end of the course to watch that infamous gate that a few years back claimed so many pairs of spikes.

The weather was, as they say, “as changeable as”… the weather! There were times when it was actually pleasant, but then it would chill, and then driving hail stones, and back to nice (ish) again.

Soon after arriving we went for a stroll around the course, Stephanie was horrified when she saw the first hilly loop, but my how she laughed when she realised the women didn’t run that part of the course; it was saved only for the ‘main event’, that is the senior men’s race.

Oh and I need to say round about here… Stephanie beat me up and took my sweets from me!!!

I have to say, I have run that course before when just a pup, but I don’t remember it being so brutally, aggressively, torturously, beastly …horribly, difficult. Starting off all the age groups ran a short loop, probably 600 metres (655.8 yards), the first bit was grassy, then in places a foot deep of claggy mud. Awful, then each age group set off doing their own individual route.

The men had to run up that first hill and I am ashamed to admit I walked up it…along with at least two thirds of the field. When you got to the top, it was turn and straight back down just as steep. That was just as bad, cos my 12mm. (1/2 inch) spikes didn’t grip at all, the next bit was flat but not for long, then another horrendous hill to walk up, and same again, once at the top, straight back down. I really don’t know how the side of a hill can be so muddy, you would expect it all to drain to the bottom but somehow on the side of the hill was just as bad as the bottom. It was almost like they had shipped the mud in specially, then when I got to ‘that’ gate crikey it was worse, how could it be???

Anyway, it was running down there my second time, that Adrian passed me, on his third lap. Grrrr how disrespectful of him. Then, it was flat round the field but through geet deep mud, and for me three more laps. I have to say, I used to enjoy tough courses, but at my current stage of fitness (fAtness) it was awful. Didnt enjoy it at all.

There were as ever some great junior performances that athletes and parents should be proud of, let me tell any parent who was there to support their young athletes, that course looked hard, but believe me it was harder than it looked and all competitors on the day for me were winners…except me cos I was hopeless!!

I am sure Val will post a link to the results because I have deliberately not mentioned individuals in case I missed one…and everyone was great. (Results here.

However, as a footnote……Kate Waugh did win the u/17 girlies race……GOLD and Sophie Burnett did get an individual BRONZE……guessing that was u/20 girls, and along with Amber and Danielle, got team GOLD FB_IMG_1454367426433


Don’t know much about journey back, sulking and sleeping. :(

Birtley are proud of our athletes……well done!

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