Birmingham League Men’s Cross-country 30th Oct 2010

bob cross countryRob 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.

Full results.

Photos here and a few more here.

Also a selection of other club runners – some great ditch jumping action!

Club summary:

Position Firstname Surname Club time
7 Rob Andrew Bournville 39.08
12 Andy Halliday Bournville 39.38
23 Chris Collins Bournville 40.52
29 Gareth Cadd Bournville 41.05
31 Sean Rose Bournville 41.31
90 Adrian Fowler Bournville 44.57
120 Stuart Pearson Bournville 46.31
122 Danny Wilson Bournville 46.44
147 Ed Hartley Bournville 49.02
158 Chris Harlan-Marks Bournville 49.47
173 Bob Hockenhull Bournville 51.55

9 Replies to “Birmingham League Men’s Cross-country 30th Oct 2010”

  1. I’m sold, Ed – clearly your powers of persuasion are second to none. It’s a shame that you never chose to reveal your Svengali-like abilities last year when we were battling to stay in the top-flight! Could have made all the difference…

  2. It’s nice to see a bit of positive anger on the website, things were getting a bit too touchy clappy for for me around these parts.

    Rob has written a well thought out, inclusive piece, and this has lead to some constructive feedback, I urge to you read his RW link.

    But for the less technically minded and those new to XC, here are some ill researched facts.

    XC is free,
    XC will give you a focus for your winter running,
    XC races are mainly local this season,
    XC is very high quality training in a convenient race format,
    XC is knackering, if your doing it correctly,
    XC spikes are nice to run in, quite cheap, but their are not,compulsory, at Leamington I was beaten by someone in treadbare road shoes, though he did have a zimmerframe,
    XC gets you mucky
    XC makes you better looking

    XC Is not; My wife’s ran of with my daddy,
    My son only texts to me in morse,
    My T,bird’s been repoed by the depot,
    and my buddy’s sleeping with my horse*
    [ peddle steel solo]

    Though It is a sort of cross country.

    So to sum up; XC will make you a better person, will make you rich, will make you popular, and you would be mad not to do it.

    *Copyright; Frank Williams and his Shifting Cowboys

  3. Agree with all that has been said as it was a real shame to see us not have 2 complete teams finish.

    I have another point of view for people to think about in wanting to race cross country and would encourage people to do so.

    The training benefits are known but people often forget to think about the benchmarking opportunity it gives you for your training. This year I have been fully expecting not to count for the A team as we have, on paper, strength in depth. So from one angle some may say why bother, however it is only by competing that I have any clue on how my training is really going.

    I take a progressive approach to my training by looking for the positives. “have a run more miles this week……was my steady pace faster…..did I complete a session better than last time”. So every year I compare my times over the course of the season against both my peers in the club but also those finishing in the top 5. If my training is going well I expect to see an improvement race on race as the effects of my training kick in. So it actually doesn’t matter where you come in the race and in fact you may not even improve your position but you can see how those gaps are evolving and hopefully closing. This approach I have found vital for understanding if the things I do differently each year are working and as a way of finding my weaknesses.

    You cant really get this type of information readily from the majority of road racing at this time of year. By nature the people around you are going to be different so its hard to tell whats really going on in your performance. “was my 10k slower because I’m not fit or did everyone show that trend because of the conditions”.

    There are of course road race series around but committing to run those regularly when going through a period of intensive training increases the risk of injury as you are racing flat out on hard surfaces all of the time.

    So use your road races judiciously such as establishing a benchmark in the autumn and then at the end of the winter and see that your training is on track by benchmarking your cross country.

    Easy stuff!


  4. BvH is a much stronger club,performance-wise, than its earlier formative years.There is a greater potential depth,in both the men and the women`s squads.But complacency,has possibly reared its `ugly head;`especially with the men`s squad.Whilst,every club has its `stars/elite` runners,the strength lies in the collective.The wonderful team spirit /esprite de corps in the ladies team has given us men an example to emulate.
    I do think that `we` were incredibly unlucky not to field a complete B Team,but we have to put that `behind us` and `pull out all the stops` for the other XC races.
    20 male runners,at the very least,should be running in future XC meets.
    XC is an excellent way of building up ones `general fitness`,it improves ones stamina/staying power and its enjoyable.
    Barrie Roberts

  5. Never mind, just found them in the Events and Race Diary section. I’ll try to organise my on call hours to fit these
    in if possible.

  6. Is there anywhere I can check the schedule of events in advance? I’d be quite happy to give XC a try but I’m on call on Saturdays quite a lot so I’d need to know quite a few weeks in advance to arrange my time off accordingly.

  7. I agree, it is such a shame a mens B team could not be represented. I took part in XC last year for the first time, and whilst I found myself at the back most races in a very competitive division 1, I was always given great support and enjoyed each event.

    I would strongly encourage people to get involved, sure you may not come first, you may not even come in the top 50 or 100, but by taking part you are helping your team by reducing the points tally of the opponents.
    For me, I haven’t been able to commit to the XC team this year due to knee surgery. My first return to running since surgery for me was the Birmingham half to show support for this event. Sadly, it was a bad idea as it has set back my injury rehabilitation.
    However as soon as I’m fit- I’ll be there definately!