Sunday, 27 January 2019

Southern Cross Country Champs 2019

Conditions underfoot at Parliament Hill were as dry as I’ve ever seen them for the 125thrunning of the Southern Cross Country Champs. After a relatively quiet last quarter of 2018, the Hampshire Champs and Surrey league earlier this year had been a couple of good sharpeners to get me ready for the major Cross Country Championships of the season.

As normal, the pace up to the top of the first hill was fast, and I found myself in about 30th, but more importantly not at all boxed in. The speed at the very front must have slowed once it had all settled down, and a large group of 15 runners formed which I was desperately trying to hold on to. There were no run-away leaders at this point, unlike John Gilbert at Brighton last year, and it appeared from a distance that Max Nichols was comfortable sitting on the front for much of the first lap.

At the end of the first lap, both Ryan Driscol and Ed Shepherd cruised past me, looking as though they had paced it sensibly in the early stages and not being phased by what had been going on the front. There was no way I could hold on to either of them and, midway through the second lap, I had thought Ryan Driscol had dropped out, only to see that he’d moved through to the front so quickly.

By this point, larger gaps had started to form, and I was a running slightly isolated, trying to keep a group of Ben Cole, Chris Wright and Darren Deed in catching distance.

Despite the 2ndlap being hard work, I find the extra distance of the Southern Cross plays to my strengths and I could see a few runners ahead that I would try to target. Moving past 3 others on the final lap put me in 11th, which I would then hold to the end. 

Up at the front, Henry Pearce took the win, ahead of Adam Hickey and Ed Shepherd. Tonbridge won the team prize, only marginally ahead of Aldershot (who packed all 6 in 28), with Serpentine in 3rd.
Myself, Nick Torry, Will Green, Callan Moody, Chris Wright, JP

Looking back at last years’ results, only Adam Hickey finished in the top 10 at both, so quite a different line up towards the front. It also came as quite a surprise to me, that it was 10 years ago since I ran for Winchester when we won the Southern Cross at Hillingdon - its also good to see that all of that team are still running pretty well today!
Toby lambert, Tom Payn, Gav Smith, Chris Powner, myself, Phil Killingly

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