Saturday, 4 February 2017

Southern XC 2017 at Parliament Hill

After the freezing conditions in southern England we've had for the past week, it was very mild on Hampstead Heath today and underfoot was the dryest I've ever known. Following Kona ironman, it's taken a while to recover properly but, after county champs, I felt in good shape to do Southern Cross some justice.

As always, the mad dash up from the Lido was rapid, and I found myself well back in 50th ish place going into the first corner. I realised I needed to work through early on in order not to get boxed in at all. Up ahead, I could already see Rich Goodman a clear distance ahead from a group of Andy Maud, Paul Martelletti and Chris Smith, with a bunch of runners separating them from me.

As the frantic initial pace settled, I was running with Steve Naylor, who I landed up racing pretty much the whole distance with. Underfoot there were a few slippery parts but, on the whole, the course was fast (for Hampstead Heath at least). At the end of the first lap I must've been in about 18th place, but felt good and the Sunday marathon paced runs certainly put me in a good place to look to work through the field.

The second and third laps I seemed to find myself surrounded by Bedford vests, or Cottage runners, and as a result could hear a very excited Phil O'Dell looking on. With only a kilometre to go, I moved in to 9th and pushed for home. Given its downhill all the way from here, so did everyone else, which made a very hard finish to the race. Coming into the last corner, I was still in 9th, but the Greenleaf sprint failed to materialise and I finished in 12th. Still, well within the top 15 I was aiming for and a great race throughout.

Andy Maud took the win from Rich Goodman, and a top result for Chris Smith to finish 3rd.

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