For many runners, the National cross country Championships is the pinnacle of their cross country season. This year, these championships failed to disappoint with there being vast numbers of entries as always.
This years event was held in Leicester, at Donnington Park, the home of the famous motorsport race track. This venue has been used on occasions in the past, most recently for English Schools a few years ago.
Atmosphere and Event
The whole event was brilliant. All the tents gathered together made the place feel like a small festival; clubs from all over the country coming and congregations together in the cold.
Everything was brilliantly organised. Getting there by coach was extremely easy, parking and then walking only less than 5 minutes to the large crowd of tents. Here, the tents were situated right on the start line and finish, giving the perfect position to go and watch the competitors.
The day was certainly as cold one. There was a strong breeze on and off which could be felt around much of the course, meaning many leads were needed. However, luckily there was no rain all day which made it a very pleasant day as a whole.
Going into the race having not run there before, I, along with many others, were expecting a quite flat course.
The course however turner out to be one of many undulations which gave very little rest bite from the hard terrain. Probably one of the toughest things about the course was the ground underfoot. It was very soft in places with some mud in others, making it far from easy to get a good footing and get into a rhythm when running.
Inevitably, the course was not going to be easy, given that it was the national championships. The distances were also a bit longer with the junior mens course being well over 10km.
With all of this being the case, the course actually was a very good one for spectating. There were many turns which came back on themselves, allowing spectators typo run across from one side to the others, seeing lots of the action.
In the main senior races of the day, all of the favourites were right in contention throughout the most part of both races. In the men’s race, last years winner Charlie Hulson was in a chasing pack of Adam Hickey and Jonathan Taylor. However, it was Jonny Hay – now in full training for the London Marathon – who got an early lead which he managed to hold onto over the closing stages as Hickey regained ground. Hay would go onto win in 42:09 over the 12km race.
In the women’s race, a similar pattern was seen with last years winner Lily Partridge managing to win the title for the second year in a row. One stand out performance in this race was that of Jess Judd who once more really showed her strength she has gained over the winter in longer races, something which could show to be invaluable come the rack season.
Full Results can be found here.