The early morning rain showers gave way to winter sun as colourful tents and flags appeared on London’s Parliament Hill Fields. Members of running clubs from all over the south of England mingled with the usual Saturday morning dog walkers, joggers and boot campers of Hampstead Heath as they prepared for the South Of England Athletic Association Cross Country Championships. A fantastic turn out of Pacer Juniors; giving representation in all the junior races were joined by Angela Joiner-Handy running in the Seniors.
The courses of varying distances all began with an impressive start with the backdrop of London’s City skyline. Observed by spectators and supporters that lined the long steep hill, Juniors were reduced from their starting sprint to a tough climb as they came past. The Juniors strived on through woods with uneven ground, hazardous tree roots and ‘more hills’.
Our Juniors all ran strongly and returned from their challenges smiling and thankful Martyn had ensured spikes were taped on although maybe a little disappointed that the mud was ‘not as deep as last year’. Individual results are available at http://www.seaa.org.uk/index.php/events/cross-country
Later in the day Angie joined the Senior Women on the same hill start – Angie ran an amazingly strong 34min43sec 8k race.
The SEAA XC Championships provide the chance for Pacers to run with the elite in our country. In the past junior winners have included Paula Radcliffe (Gold 1992) and for seniors Brendan Foster (1977)( with Steve Ovett 13th the same year). All abilities are welcome the only requirement to participation to this ‘epic event’ (as described by our Juniors) is that you are a running club member. Pacers pay for your entry (and organise the coach trip) so why not give it a go next year?
All wish to extend thanks to Martyn for organising the day and to him and Ian for supporting the runners and providing the Pacers tent as a welcome base.