Report from our XC supremo, Sean O’Halloran: On Saturday I travelled over to Witton Park Outdoor Leisure Centre in Blackburn to keep my run of cross country races going and to take part in the Northern XC Championship race.
During my warmup the heavens opened to a torrent of hail and snow, accompanied with a head in artic gale and I managed to develop brain freeze. At this point I did question myself with “what the hell are you doing, it’s not as if you are going to win!!” I soon dismissed these negative thoughts and took up my position at the back of the gathering pack. There were over 700 senior men on the start line; the line was approx. 30m long and 10 runners deep. The starter’s gun went off and the race got underway with what can only be described as a medieval battle charge down the field to the first bend.
The senior men’s race was 12K race, a 4 lap affair with each lap being approx. 2km. Each lap contained two large climbs, one steep decent and one gradual decent with a few switch backs, total elevation gain was 865ft. The course had treacle like mud nearly all the way round and was calf deep in places. I wore my 12mm XC spikes and wished I had 15mm as grip and traction was rare. But I have learnt how to control sliding while running and remain upright, only slipped over once. Weather conditions made the going even tougher, with horizontal hail/snow that hurt at times and with the arctic gales that caused further brain freeze but I was not going to stop until the end – I loved it!!!
I appreciate XC running is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a great experience to take part in such an event and I hope more OAC runners will take the plunge next season. Today I witnessed first-hand some awesome running in tough conditions. The front runners are machines and it’s amazing how effortlessly they glide around the course.
I am not the fastest person in the world and my mission in any of these top level races is not to come last. On Saturday I think there were 6 people behind me so I am pleased with that result as I could not have given it anymore and had jelly legs on the last 400m. Senior results are as follows:
|Senior Mens Race 12k|
|1st||Charlie Hulson||Sale Harriers Manchester||00:43:16|
|2nd||Peter Huck||Barrow & Furness Striders AC||00:43:24|
|3rd||Jack Morris||Stockport Harriers & AC||00:42:32|
|713th||Sean O’Halloran||Otley AC||01:36:18|
|Senior Ladies Race 7.7K|
|1st||Claire Duck||Leeds City||00:30:21|
|2nd||Sarah Tunstall||Kendal Amateur AC||00:30:41|
|3rd||Rosie Smith||Durham City Harriers & AC||00:30:44|
Full results can be found here www.northernathletics.org.uk/2016-results-index/