Women’s cross-country league – race 4

Linda Howell and Laura Leslie report on a successful final race of the season and an overall placing of 14th out of 28 teams.

Linda Howell:
Race four of the cross country league was upon us, and on our home turf of Cofton Park. I wasn’t entirely sure that knowing what we were letting ourselves in for would be particularly advantageous, but I was confident that the extra support afforded by having so many club members and their friends and families would definitely give us a boost.

After a thorough warm up and some mutual pep talking, we made our way to the start. As the start time grew imminent, a large group of teal clad ladies moved towards the front.

Mark gave a brief description of the course, which started “run straight up the hill”, thanks Mark, and then the shortest 2 minute warning ever known gave way to a whistle blow and we were off. Two laps of undulations and hills on mainly firm ground lay ahead of us.

I got a reasonably good start and focused on catching people up so as to take my focus off the discomfort associated with trying to make your legs go faster and further than they’d really like to. By the second lap I was having a good tussle with a girl from Black Country Tri and thanks to Marks encouraging words of “You know who you’ve got to beat”, was gaining ground on Becky from Northbrook.

I passed Becky as we went round the penultimate corner, ably marshalled by Leigh and instantly thought I’d got it wrong as my legs went even more jelly like. I managed to hold her off, just, and despite someone flying past me on the down hill finish managed to keep going to the line.

I was shortly followed by Caroline Harlan-Marks and Sara Roberts, I’m not sure of the rest of the order as teal vests were coming thick and fast, all embroiled in their own battles to the line and all looking fantastically strong. Everyone ran really well, our newest member, Susanne, put in a great first performance for the team while our youngest member, Sarah Vince, showed a strength and speed which will serve her (and us as a team) very well. Strong performances from all gave us a very impressive 7th place team result on the day.

It was a great day and fantastic atmosphere. We warmed down whilst shouting the men on around various stages of the course, with the top of the worst hill being a favourite vantage point.

Thanks to everyone who gave their time and commitment to putting on this race and especially to Sarah Rock for keeping us all enthusiastic and motivated throughout the season. We will be back in action at the National Cross Country next weekend (19th) at Alton Towers.

Laura Leslie: Well, what can I say about the last league race of the season that hasn’t already been voiced – superb organisation, planning, marshalling, refreshments, cakes, support, more cakes and sunshine (not sure who arranged that but thanks).
To me this was a great example of what Bournville Harriers is all about.

What a friendly, motivating club to be a member of. I can only imagine the work that went into organising Saturday and I think everyone who raced, from BvH and elsewhere, was extremely grateful for the enormous amount of effort that had obviously gone into making this race a success.

Oh yes, the race itself! Well it was a tough but manageable course with a bit of everything. Cofton is a great place for running, it has its fair share of hills and mud (though thankfully not much on Saturday) and is an excellent surface for running on in terms of its short grass and an even surface.

The ladies had two laps of the park to contend with, as well as a straight to start and finish on. There was a significant amount of elbowing in the first few hundred metres as runners jostled for position, but I was soon too tired for that once we hit the first steady incline near the Rover factory. It was worrying to get back to the tent area having done a third of a lap thinking how on earth am I going to finish this! However, I soon got into my stride and started to feel strong. At the end of the first lap fatigue was setting in but I knew if I could do it once then I could do it again and just grit my teeth.

Everyone seemed to have a great run, maybe the added pressure of a ‘home crowd’ spurred us on. Fantastic to see Linda back and recovered to lead us home, and brilliant running by Caroline and Sara to complete the scoring team. Not far behind was Susanne in what I believe was her xc debut with the club, and what a debut! Marianne and Nicola were next home, both looking strong and back to fitness.

I then graciously let Becky pass me for her fantastic sprint home in the last quarter mile because I’m kind like that…. And then Cat was hot on my heels and was followed in by Julie, Sarah V (improving every race!), Sarah R, Emily, Tamara, Ania, Rachel (sprint finish), Kat & Lesley. Phew, what a list! The team finished 7th out of 32 teams on the day, well done to all!

Brilliant support all round the course and amazing to see so many teal vests in the field. This was a great end to a great league season for the ladies BvH xc team so well done to Sarah Rock for her top notch organisation and the ever present lure of goodie bags.


Pos Name
27 Linda Howell 29:47:00
34 Caroline Harlan-Marks 30:26:00
39 Sara Roberts 30:46:00
41 Susanne Korburger 30:49:00
54 Marianne Hensman 31:21:00
60 Nicola Cluley 32:01:00
72 Becky Hampson 32:32:00
77 Laura Leslie 33:12:00
83 Cat Ricketts 33:29:00
92 Julie Delahaye-Slater 34:11:00
99 Sarah Vince 34:33:00
117 Sarah Rock 36:08:00
122 Emily Holden 36:36:00
125 Tamara Kennedy 36:52:00
127 Ania Gallagher 37:03:00
145 Rachel Ward 38:51:00
155 Kathryn Gibbons 40:19:00
195 Lesley Pymm N.T.T.

Full results. (PDF)

Photos – various links from

Steve Hopkins

Dave Harte

Paul Gorman