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Veterans Day: Middlesex Masters Race Report

The women's team at the Middlesex Masters Vets Cross Country Championships at Trent Park.

♪♪…Mud, mud, glorious mud, nothing quite like it for cooling the blood…. ♪♪

After several days of unseasonably warm weather, race day dawned overcast. The Hoops had a strong turnout, particularly of strong women, and also welcomed Chetan and Sarah to their first cross country experience for the team.

Huddled for warmth in the open sided gazebo, eating chocolate biscuits and with (some of us), querying our own sanity, we waited for the first race to end before approaching the start line.  The first group, (the youngsters), had muddied up the route for us so that we could slip, slide and squelch our way around the course thoroughly enjoying the sheer delight that only running in mud can bring. The intermittent raining and the beginnings of Storm Freya also added strong gusts of wind, particularly on the exposed finishing lap.

The veteran men's team for the Hoops

Wearing spikes for the first time I appreciated how useful they were, but also how much harder the legs had to work with each step. The marshals reminded everyone to take care and one in particular said it isn’t the falling but the indignity of it that is embarrassing. I thought I would complete retaining a clean kit but unfortunately at 6.4km an exposed tree root ensnared me and I landed on my side and slid along the mud.  I suddenly felt the business.  


The Hoops had a successful day with lots to shout about: 

- Jen, Laura and Georgey took team gold for the women’s V35

- Sophie, Karima and Michelle took team silver for the women’s V45

- Maurice, Andrew, Tom and Peter took team silver for the men’s V50

The women also earned individual medals, with Karima taking bronze V45 and Jen gold V35. No doubt both inspired by Laura Muir the night before.

So, no longer a cross-country newbie, would I do it again? It’s possible, but I think it would have to be when the skies are crystal blue, the planets are aligned and there is a month of Sundays.  

♪…Mud, mud, glorious mud, nothing quite like it for cooling the blood…. ♪♪


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