Sunday, 30 September 2012

Cross Country & Poetry

It's that wonderful time of year again, when of all of the rain, wind, hail and snow we've had throughout the summer can be enjoyed in all of their glory in the wonder that is the Cross Country season.  As a wee bit of a XC taster I reworked (butchered) a christmas favourite to give you this poetic masterpiece:

Twas the night before XC-mas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The spikes were hung in the spike bag with care,
In hopes that rain and the mud would soon be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of races ran round in their heads.
And lasses in shorts, and lads in club vests,
Stocked up on Tiger Balm, Vaseline and Elastoplasts .

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed, stubbed my toe on a trainer.
Away to the window I ran like Mo Farah,
Tore open the curtains t’see what was the marra’.

The moon on the glimmer of the newly made mud
The rain was hoying it down, as hard as it could.
When, what to my wondering eyes appears,
But a bunch of officials, marshals & timekeepers.

With a smile and a wave they all looked up,
I knew in a moment it must be the Sherman Cup.
More races they said, "we’ve the Davison Shield too",
"Get ya spikes on, it’s race time, we’re talking to you!"

"Now Strollers! now, Striders! now, Birtley and Alnwick!
On, Tynebridge! On, Tynedale! on Jarrow and Elswick!
To the bottom of the dell! to the top of the hill!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

I'm the ladies secretary for the North East Harrier league.  This involves a lot of emailing back & forward to clubs, sorting out race numbers for seniors, vets and juniors, vast Excel spreadsheets, me cursing at the computer, various people, and a fair bit of hair pulling.  I was still sorting out race numbers & team sheets the night before the big day when all the wee xc runners were tucked up in bed, but not quite as late as the men's secretary Simon who apparently had a 3am finish :s  So all you folks out there who do any kind of race - please spare a thought for the officials, timekeepers, marshals and race-results fairies who make the day possible!

Back on with the running:
Being that I was injured for pretty much the whole of last year's cross country season, I hadn't had my spikes or fell shoes out of the bag since this time in 2011.  They were of course still in the state I left them in after the Davison Shield last year, so after a quick dusting off (for which read bashing against the garage wall 'till the caked on mud cracked enough to pry it off) I was set to go.
The Jarrow & Hebburn team have somehow managed to triple in size from last year, but the senior lasses have an important race next weekend, so it was down to us veteran ladies to fly the yellow & blue colours.  So Elaine, Anne-Marie and I lined up at the start on the Temple Park course in South Shields, bedecked in our team vests, and I have to say Anne-Marie's trail shoes where a damn sight less manky than my fell shoes.
Elaine - 6th overall

me & Anne-Marie (many thanks to George Routledge for piccies
It was windy as hell, but the skies were blue.  There was a fair bit of mud in parts, after all the rain we had earlier in the week, but it was otherwise very passable.  After slogging it round the two lap course, me and Anne-Marie finished in a pretty respectable 61st & 63rd place, but Elaine managed a fantastic 6th!
This meant we finished 5th vets team out of 12 - pretty bloomin' good.
I'm hoping that I'll be able to complete all but one of this years races (I can't normally do the Prudhoe fixture because the results for the teams need to be worked out on the day), and after feeling okay all the way round yesterday it's looking pretty good.  
An enjoyable run, lugging myself up & down hills, who'da thought it.  Well done to everyone who turned out :D
Happy running folks!

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