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A day in MK: Chiltern League race report

Will Harrison takes us through a successful weekend meet at Milton Keynes for the Hoops, as well as his thoughts on his first ever cross country race since school.

Will Harrison making his cross country debut for the Hoops.

The sun is shining as we arrive at Teardrop Lakes for the second fixture of the 2018/19 Chiltern League. Dozens of gazebos are already set up, housing the many running clubs taking part in this year’s race, which also incorporates the UKA Cross Challenge and RAF v Oxford University.

The junior races are already well under way as we are setting up our base, with Eadi Solanki-Jackson representing the Hoops in the under-13 girls race. She finished a very respectable 56th out of a field of 90.

This is my first cross-country race since school around 20 years ago. I turn up without spikes thinking I should just about to get away with normal running shoes, but seeing the steepness of some of the hills we have to scale makes me think otherwise. Fortunately, being such a big fixture, there is a kit shop on site and I'm lucky to buy the last pair of spikes on sale in my size.

Just before the senior women’s race starts, heavy clouds replace the blue sky and the rain starts to pour. The field of 363 set off for their near-6km run, which includes three short, very steep climbs and descents. Anna Larkins is first over the line, finishing in an incredible 16:41.

Congratulations to the following Harriers who finished:

Michelle Maddick (23:29)

Joanna Braine (26:26)

Laura Fairbanks (27:20)

Daniela Nolan (27:23)

Emma Jones (28:10)

Susan Kennedy (29:25)

By the time of the senior men’s race, the weather has improved. The 539 participants set off on the now very muddy course, which incorporates four steep climbs and covers a total distance of almost 9km. Mahamed Mahamed finishes first in a rapid time of 27:22.

Congratulations to the following Harriers who finished:

Nathan Pask (33:35)

Neil Hutchison (34:19)

Sam Sutherland (34:42)

Will Harrison (37:54)

Andrew Jackson (38:26)

Jasper Llewellyn (39:24)

Gildas Braine (39:39)

Richard Byrne (39:57)

Maurice Quirke (40:15)

Tom Alexander (40:45)

Matt Peffers (40:45)

Victor Tsui (44:33)

Patrick Brennan (44:56)

Tim Lewin (44:57)

Charles Tatham (48:57)

Bill O’Connor (1:00:50)

My first cross-country race as an adult is done, and I hope to be back for more soon. The different terrain really helps to make the running more interesting than the usual park, road or pavement runs I usually do. The range of abilities who turn up to race in the league is wide, from top level elite runners to everyday club runners. So you can test yourself against the best if you want to, or just turn up to enjoy a nice day out. Thank goodness the shop had one pair of spikes left!

Fancy running in the next cross country event? Check out our upcoming fixtures for more information.

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