In the first proper mud fest of the 2018/2019 Chiltern League, 28 Queen’s Park Harriers sloshed around the fields, hills and even steps at Stopsley Common in Luton, battling against a field of 375 men and 226 women, and taking first place overall in the third match of the Division Two season..
The win propelled the Hoopsters to third in the overall league standings, and fourth place for both the men’s and women’s competitions.
Rain soaked the fields early then mostly let up during the men’s and women’s races. However, the sloppy terrain didn’t slow the strong field of Hoopsters as the women battled it out on a 5.85km course while the men tackled an 8.9km course.
Jennifer Armson finished in 22:41, and Nathan Barnard finished first for the QPH for the women and men, respectively.
The course was punctuated by a long, gradual decline followed abruptly by a brutal, hamstring-crushing ascent with some stairs that brought even the strongest runners down to slow motion before the final, flat push around the field to the finish.
The big topic of the day was choice of spikes, with many choosing 12mm and some opting for a mix of 15s, 12s, and 9s in various patterns. Other key topics of conversation before the run were the traffic on the M1 to Luton, should you wear gloves or anything under the QPH vest?, and, of course, the weather.
Post-race conversations mostly centred on performance, the mini battles each runner faced overtaking or succumbing to their rivals, the impact of heavy drinking the night before, the perceived impact of spike choice, pre-race nutrition, post-race nutrition, nutritional benefits of burgers including McDonalds, Brexit, pacing strategies, marathon training, marathon training with the Hansons' method, benefits of the long run, the hill, the mud, Strava, kudos, WhatsApp, and what to wear to the Christmas Party.
Take a look at the full results here.