Marianne Hensman reports: Having had an earlyish night after the Friday awards do – Saturday 5th March dawned cloudy but dry.
My sparkly new 12mm spikes were ready for the occasion and by the time I arrived Cofton Park was buzzing with people – and the dreaded Sky Sports tv cameras ready to capture us in high definition. I soon found Sara and we made our way to the Warwickshire tent, where, after being mistaken for under 13’s we were given our vests and chips (the timing sort, not McCain oven chips) and headed off to warm up.
We had a look at the course and were reassured that we definitely wouldn’t have to do ‘the big hill’. The course looked reasonably dry although there were two of the junior races that went off before us. After a long quick warm up where we met up with Linda, and some welcome good luck shouts from Bournville Harriers, we were soon in our pen, and off. The course consisted of a short lap and two long laps and I just focused on following the ones in front.
The race did seem to go on and on, and for poor Linda who was suffering with her IT band it probably seemed much further than 8km. I came into the finishing straight just as I was hearing over the loudspeaker “Sky sports are now cutting to a commercial break” so realised there was no chance of a slow motion shot of me crossing the line – oh well never mind. Sara, Linda and I all finished quite close together and there was a crowd of BVHers waiting for us by the finishing area.
The best thing about taking part was definitely the support. I haven’t ever know anything like it –there were shouts from Bournville Harriers and friends on every corner, which was hugely encouraging to all of us, and very touching that so many people were there to offer their support. There are too many to name everyone, but a special mention goes to Laura for her shout of “Get that mantra in your head” which kept me smiling for much of the last lap, and to Steve James for managing to be in about 4 places at once as usual!
Some of the other Warwickshire ladies commented on our very strong and vocal support team. We were all very proud to call ourselves Bournville Harriers and I am very grateful to everyone who was there on the day, and others who have helped us with training and advice throughout the season. I was also very lucky to be watched by my parents, sister, brother in law and husband Paul, all of whom I think I have finally convinced that cross country is great, particularly for the spectators. I’m a bit sorry now that it’s the end of the season.