With the cancellation of last weeks cross country at Presteigne it was safe to say that everyone was more geared up for this race than normal and little did we know how the successful the Reds would be as individuals and as a team.
Suprise number 1, came in the form of Matt James, the second in the shape of Tim Clarke. It was just like old times! We were looking good for the team prize already and the way Mike Link is running at the moment would only strengthen our position.
On the frozen start line, we eyed up the competition, trying to anticipate our positions and comtemplating plans of attack. Matt and I, had already discussed this and knew exactly what to do..
Go! We were off and before the first hill the leading 4 consisted of 3 Reds and 1 Blue, Mike and I even discussed what a great feeling this was! We were soon joined by a fifth member, a guy who competed in the Hurtle. 5 soon became 4 as we began to climb up the fire trails as Mike had dropped off the pace.
We entered Bear Wood and began the new section of the course, the 4 of us were forced to walk and near the top, JP, who had lead us around the course untill this point made his move, Matt and I dug in and worked together to catch him. The frozen terrain made this quite difficult but soon I had latched back on to him but Matt was starting to tire. Without Matt I don’t think I would have done so.
It was now Red versus Blue with 2 miles to go. We climbed side by side up the fire road before taking a new path just off the hairpin, I took the initiative and stepped ahead on the single track. The gap was only metres but the thought of winning was entering my mind and it wouldn’t budge. I tried to focus on my stride and began to edge away, we descended down the track we had previously climbed up earlier and I knew I had to make the descent count.
The first time I looked back was when we descended with a mile to go, it must have been 10-15 metres. I still had the winning feeling going through my mind which distracted me from the pain and spurred me on till the last hill. I didn’t want to be caught here, ‘just make it to the top and its yours’.
I crossed the line (45mins) 17 seconds ahead of my good friend JP (45.17).
Matt (46.01) held onto 3rd, Tim Clarke (46.42) completed the first team in 5th and also 1st Vet 40 with Mike Link (47.22) behind and battling with Stuart Moore (47.36) for the duration of the course.
Max finished in a great 9th place (48.42) beating off 2 wye valley contenders. Russell James, 13th (49.52). Geoff placed 33rd, 1st Vet 55 in 54.26. Mark Worthing had a great run to place 37th in 55.10.
Richard Wall took 1st Vet over 50 in 55.42, 42nd place a great achievement considering Rich went wrong…again! Kevin Barnes finished in the top 60 in 59th place 58.17. Marathon runner Steve Nibbo, more to come on his marathon training, came 180th in 1hr 8mins 55s.
A great day for Couriers.
Thanks everyone in Red and good friends in Blue and other coloured vests for their support and congratulating me on my first win.