Wow! What a fantastic month of cross country we’ve experienced – after three consecutive Saturdays, we rounded up November with a journey to North London. This Saturday a small, albeit brave, Queen's Park Harriers took on the Trent Park Cross Country race. It was a slightly different format in the form of Fraternity and Sorority Cups where the men and women race alongside one another.
It was a cold and clear afternoon, after a long warm journey on the tube I found myself heading out into the cold crisp air of Trent Park. I met Bill on the scene and began getting ready while the rest of Queen's Park's finest started to arrive. The nerves certainly began to stir but being in the presence of my fellow Harriers quashed all nerves. The banter bus was in full action and clouded the scary thoughts of what Trent Park was about to deliver! We left our jackets on till the last possible moment and after a quick warm up we found ourselves on the start line, men and women together, awaiting 7.7 km of muddy terrain.
The starting pistol went and there it was, my first cross country race in Queen's Park Harriers red had begun! We started on the flattish bit of the course where the start/finish was and it seemed fairly forgiving as we completed 1 ¾ laps of this section. We then dropped down the hill to run one lap of the Oakwood side of Trent Park before returning to the start/finish field where we did it all again (sigh!). The steeper section separating the two fields of the figure of eight-like route took its toll on the runners and together with the consistently muddy ground provided a tough challenge for the competitors. The last leg of the race was to run one further lap of the Oakwood side before returning to the finish.
We had five men and two women competing in total and all finishing strong – In the men’s team we had Edwin, Sam, Ayo, Nick and Rich Byrne in order of finishing and in the ladies team, we had Natalie followed by Anastasia to round up another excellent day out by the Harriers!
It's been a few years since my last cross country race and it's exactly how I remembered - always something unexpected and never just a walk in the park, which is part of the beauty and appeal of the challenge. I look forward to doing a few more this season and encourage everyone to come along and get dirty!
Thank you to Bill for organising everything and for supporting us in the cold!
Up the Park!
(Results to follow)