In a stark contrast to the National at Parliament Hill, the Intercounties XC was held on course with minimal mud and in conditions suggesting that spring may just have arrived. The senior men’s race was run over 1 large lap followed by 3 smaller laps, where the large lap contained pretty much the only significant climb in the race. For anyone that does know, the intercounties XC is where the top runners from each county are brought together to compete against one another and the race is normally used as a selection for the World Cross. Due to funding issues, it may well be that Great Britain sends an incomplete team to China for the 2015 World Cross and so quite the depth that the selectors may look to in the results is to be awaited, but that is something else altogether.
Anyway, back to the race. The start was ridiculously quick as everyone took off at an insane pace in order to get a decent position. After the first mile, I must have been in about 110th and that was despite running a hilly 5:13 minute mile! Once the race settled down, I started to work my way through the field gradually picking off those that went off too quick. The positions were still quite tightly packed even after the first couple of laps. At start of the 3rd lap, my nemesis Chris Greenwood came past and I tried my hardest to stick with him. I couldn’t quite keep up with his pace as he continued to overtake others, however I landed up in a group with Kevin Quinn (Surrey) and Carl Avery (North East) and gradually pushed into the low 40’s. There was little movement in positions over the last lap however it was necessary to maintain a decent pace to avoid slipping back and I finished in 43rd.
Up at the front there was a competition between the individual winners of the Scottish, Welsh and English National XC and they finished in that order respectively with Andrew Butchart taking overall honours. So the spikes are now being hung up until later in the year and the focus for the coming weeks will be on building towards the London Marathon.