It was the Hampshire Cross Country Champs at Memorial Park in Basingstoke today. As usual, my pre-race preparation was pretty dire. Spent the morning trying to buy some new shoes having written off my last pair of fell shoes at the OMM. Failed miserably (couldn’t justify a pair of XC spikes to myself) and ended up running in my orienteering shoes. Christine had declined to spectate in the pouring rain so I had to navigate my own way to the race. Finding the park was simple enough but finding somewhere to park was somewhat harder. One lap of Basingstoke later I eventually located the official car park only to be told that, even if I did get in, I probably wouldn’t get out again due to the mud! Consequently I ended up in a city centre multi-storey and ran back to the park.
Made it to the event with about twenty minutes to spare in which to warm-up. The area was pretty small and the twelve kilometre course involved four pretty convoluted laps. My legs felt very tired for the first couple and it was only entering the third that I finally started to relax in to the run. It was at this point that an old guy from Portsmouth Joggers started coaching me around. The encouragement was quite welcome although I could have done without hearing his life story (apparently he had won the Vets category in previous years). It felt to be good to be overtaking and, as the incessant rain turned the course in to a mud bath I seemed to be coping much better than some others.
No idea where I finished (other than just in front of the Pompey Jogger) or even how long I took (50ish minutes) but it was more fun than I expected from a city park.
Update: The results show I was 61st or, if you exclude all the oldies (which is a bit dubious) 43rd, in just over 52 minutes. Shame I wasn’t half a minute faster as then I would have counted for the Southampton team. The Senior Men were third which I’m not sure is something to shout about given Aldershot, Farnham and District were so far ahead and Guernsey Island were second! My impromptu coach turns out to be one Reg Ball who, true to his word, was first Vet 50 back in 2004.