Barrie Roberts reports: Hundreds of runners braved the torrential downpours to take part in the 15th annual Cardiff Cross Challenge (incorporating The Welsh Masters Championship 2011) on Sunday 16th January 2011.
About 1,500 people descended on Blackweir Fields (adjacent to the beautiful Castle Grounds of Bute Park) for what is one of the most prestigious cross country events in the UK. European junior champion Charlotte Purdue won the Senior Ladies event and Frank Tickner won the Senior Men’s Race. Cardiff is the third fixture in the 2010 – 2011 McCain Cross Challenge Series which also includes races in Liverpool, Birmingham and Antrim in Northern Ireland.
I was competing in my third Welsh Masters Championship meeting within the space of fifteen days (I would have preferred them to be more spaced out!) .The Masters Race started promptly at 1510 and was the last of 14 races held during the day which had included a range of men’s, women’s and young persons’ races. The distance to be run was 6.8 km.
The Course was marked up to national standards and comprised of three laps described in the race publicity as being a mixture of flat fast running and interesting woodland and riverside sections – I may well have run 7+ km before finally crossing the finishing line. I prefer not to run in treacle and tried to avoid or run wide at some of the worst churned-up sections of the Course. I feel sure that it is probably a wonderful course to run in dry weather!. Without long spikes I would not have been able to get around and stay on my feet.
I have been told that I will get a Bronze Medal for my endeavours in the M65 age cat. Chip Time 00:39:23. I did as well as I could on the day but was just ‘off the pace’ and can only hope that improved fitness, health and preparation will make the 2011 Spring/Summer campaign more successful and fulfilling.
There were two other BvH runners present at the Cardiff Cross Challenge. My wife Katie, who is getting used to my ‘failed world record attempts in bad weather’, and Linda Howell who was having a post-injury (big toe) training run. Linda was running in the Senior Women’s Race and taking all things into consideration, completed the 6.8 km Course in a very respectable 00:31:42.
Full Results. (Excel spreadsheet)