Rob Andrew reports: BvH got off to a poor start at the first Birmingham League race at Leamington on Saturday.
On what turned out to be a perfect day for cross country racing, on a hard and fast course the club’s A team finished 3rd, but failed to complete a B team.
This result was in part due to a spate of injuries, some incredibly bad luck with Jon Grix having his shoe ripped from behind on the first lap at a ditch, and a last minute withdrawl with Dean who gamely tried to see if he could shake off a calf injury during the pre race warm-up.
However despite these unfortunate circumstances it was deeply disappointing that for a club of our size, and with nearly 40 male runners turning out for the Birmingham half marathon the week before, and producing such encouraging results, we could only muster 11 runners who were able to finish the race on the day. The A team is still in position to gain promotion back to Division 1 (top 3 get promoted), but sadly we have now lost our chance of winning the B team title which should have been a realistic goal for the club.
Our values are Performance, Enjoyment, Particpation and Encouragement. I’ll comment on the Performance shortly, but it was hardly Enjoyable to see so few of our club members Participating – in fact it was deeply disappointing. It would be easy for me to get carried away and rant on about this, but maybe it’s worth me pausing to provide some Encouragement. If you are male, a BvH member and fancy a crack at cross country running get involved. It is far easier than half marathon or marathon running, it means you compete for the club in an competitive environment with the potential to feel part of a successful team.
There is no-one at the club who would be outclassed at these events (a number of runners were lapped on a 2 mile plus course), and even if you were – so what, you’re part of the event and representing the club. It will help you improve your running in general, and you never know – you will probably enjoy it. Here is a link to a recent article in Runners World that expands upon this further.
To maybe help those who have wondered about taking part, but are not sure about committing to it there is a relay event at Warwick University on November 13th with teams of 4 each running a 3.3 km leg. If interested, regardless of standard, please let me know by Monday night November 8th and we’ll get you involved. Encouragement section over now, so back to Performance and the race report.
In my first race as x-c manager I wanted to attempt to lead by example from the front, but knew that Dean has been in great form recently. However Dean had to withdraw at the last minute due to injury,and with Andy Halliday still suffering the effects of gastroenteritis (next time can it be a ‘cold’ as easier to spell) it hit me that this aspiration suddenly had become more of a reality, and even more important to the team result.
I was therefore pleased to run what I thought was my best cross country race to date for the club, and managed to stay ahead of the gastro boy Andy Halliday who ran a fine race in the circumstances. His was an example of a true club man (despite being a newcomer this year) who turned out even though less than 100% fit, and raced hard . Leading from the front next time may only last a few hundred metres!
Chris Collins showed real potential in finishing third finisher for the club, and the miles in his legs from some good training will surely pay off when racing on the tougher courses. Gareth and Sean packed well for 4th and 5th A team scorers, but star of the day must be Adrian Fowler who came in 6th and final counter for the A team. He ran a great race and should be delighted to have scored for the A team, beating a number of runners who were some distance ahead of him in the recent half marathon. If I gave out gold stickers he would get one, but I’ll be delighted if at the end of the season there are some league medals for the A team so that he can be the recipient of one.
Creditable runs also for Stuart Pearson, Danny Wilson, the ever-green Ed Hartley (wait for the comments from him!), Chris H-M and Bob Hockenhull. These guys should take real credit for turning up and racing, and it is a shame their efforts for the B team ultimately won’t count. Hopefully they’ll be back for more at Gloucester on December 4th along with many others.
Finally just a note of gratitude to Steve James and Barrie Roberts for helping me out with numbers and entries on the day, and the incredible support from the ladies team who stayed on to watch our race, and the get together in the pub afterwards. The ladies were a tremendous credit to our club, were loud and encouraging in their support and showed the type of team spirit we men should be envious of. Well done to Sarah and her team.
Results, and a link to probably a few grotesque photos shown below, and a final appeal to all the men at the club to get involved with cross country starting with the Warwick relays on November 13th. Maybe by the time I write the final race report in February we’ll have something to celebrate BUT ONLY IF WE GET OUT THERE AND RACE.
Also a selection of other club runners – some great ditch jumping action!