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Hoops of steel:  Liddiard Trophy Run Report

The location of the Liddiard Trophy turned out to be the rather convenient and quite lovely Fryent Country Park. Arriving at the nearby race HQ runners were greeted by Alban and Bill. ​Bill dished out the numbers, while Alban ‘encouraged’ further participation in this year’s XC season (that’s right people, season. So there’s lots more opportunities to take part). Heading across to the starting area we could see the familiar site of the QPH flag surrounded by a cluster of red hoodies. Everyone was in high spirits (as always). Maybe this came from the morning mizzle making for excellent conditions, or the giddy anticipation as we wondered if Neil would be making an appearance with ‘Mr. Bear’ again, or maybe the Harriers are just always like this, but I personally suspect the feel-good factor came from those snug new hoodies we were sporting. Much milling around as we waited for races followed. Legs were stretched, energy drinks consumed, frogs were caught. What? Yep, in amongst all of this we were visited by frogs. Jittery in nature - probably after seeing Alban eyeing them up in a “here’s supper” way – they were hopping all over the place. Some scrambled over rucksacks, others (with a little help) sought refuge in a familiar environment, the warm humid insides of Sam Sutherland’s trainers. Sensing the combination of soft frog and running spikes was not to have a happy ending, the Hoops resident animal lover Emma was on hand, and the frogs were helped to the safety of the nearby bushes. I say safety, not long after said bushes became popular as the men entered their “pre-race routines”, so it’s all relative. And then, group by group we lined up and were off!

And so for the results bit……..Shaftsbury Barnet Harriers and Eton Manor took the top three spots in the senior ladies race. First across the line for the Hoops was Emily Godwin (14th), followed by Jojo (25th - finishing with a sprint, bagging a couple of extra positions in the process), and Louise Hinshelwood (45th). Shaftsbury Barnet Harriers made a clean sweep of the men’s senior race; the first Harrier across the line was Johnny Suttle (17th), followed by Kerr Millar (33rd - a highly credible performance considering that a few hours earlier Kerr came 1st at Gladstone Parkrun, setting a new PB and the 3rd fastest course time in the process) and Sam Sutherland (42nd). There was also a notable performance from Franco Genovese, coming in 138th, in what was his second of three (!) races last weekend. Full individual results are available on the QPH website. There’s also lots of team scoring stuff, but frankly it baffles me, so if someone can explain this system to me it’d be much appreciated. Once the senior men were finished Bill did his best Windsor Davis impression (ask your parents) and marshalled the troops for marker collection. ​Johnny, Matt and Richard set off in reverse course direction and manged a whole extra circuit of the course with their efforts. On the plus side, our extended nature walk did give us time to discuss important philosophical questions, like “is it just me, or do you get a massive beer thirst after a big run” (turns out we all do). Johnny may be an English teacher, but his maths was spot on too as he observed on our return to the hall, “we collected way more flags than they did”. We headed inside the church hall, the inside of which, packed with sweaty runners had taken on an atmosphere like…..well, Sam’s shoes. Except no frogs were seen. Tea was drunk, the Braine brood were cutesy, results were announced and awards presented. A fine bit of Hoops team work later and the hall was cleared, so we headed off into the mild Saturday afternoon for our post-Liddiard warm-down routines. That’s right folks, all this happened in just a few short hours on a Saturday afternoon. We all had a cracking time, and will be back next year. So should you……

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