Surrey county cross country championships

With the county championships usually on the first weekend in January it often makes for a pretty sharp awakening after the Christmas break. The 7.5 mile course at Denbies Vineyard near Dorking instead of the drudging suburbanity of the more usual Lloyd Park venue made for a race that lived up to this billing.
Guildford and Godalming AC hadn’t completed a team in the County championships for nearly a decade, but with a good combination of new blood and stalwarts of the team for many years a solid finish looked on the cards.

This was certainly my first outing on the Denbies cross country course and it didn’t disappoint. We had the privilege of 3 laps today, meaning that we would all be much better acquainted by the end. The course  for the senior men started at the back of the visitor building rising steadily meant a rapid start for the whole field. I’m not sure whether was the mince pies or the sudden surprise of actually finding yourself vest donned staring into the abyss, but the early pace felt fast and I found myself a fair way down the field pretty quickly. 

Around the corner we were met with a stiff uphill march to the edge of Ranmore Common and a wide vista of the next part of the course. I always find it quite interesting seeing the majority of the field ahead of you. It makes me think it should by easy to catch them all up, after all that they’re not that far away. But then I remember that their actually running too, and obviously running faster; that’s why they’re ahead. Oh well I wont be winning this one then!

Anyway, next came a couple of pretty sharp descents down wide grassy banks giving plenty of opportunity for overtaking. Combining with a few twists and turns thinned the field out a bit meaning that the long flat and hard step to complete the first lap was done largely in isolation.

At the beginning of lap 2, a few familiar faces caught up with me including my team mate Paul Sanderson. Realisation was beginning to hit that my distinct lack of quality training during the tail end of November and the whole of December was going start to play a part in this one. This lap became a bit of a battle to maintain pace and keep motivated, particularly as I saw the emerald green flash that was Paul disappearing ahead of me. However as I closed on the start/finish line for the third lap sighting fellow GGACer Jonathan Monks gave me a motivational boost.

Jonathan had beaten me at both the previous 2XU Cross Country races so seeing him on my coattails gave me that little bit of extra determination to push on through over the bumpy early parts of the course. There were still a few hurdles to metaphorically jump on the push for the finish line with everyone keen to put in a strong finish on the flat path to the line.

Compared to the 2011 Surrey Counties, I was a few places behind finishing in 98th place. Probably not my most glittering performance, but if felt like a sure marker in the ground for the couples of months of cross countries ahead.

GGAC fininished as the 10th Senior Men’s team, which was a great results after the effort put in on the day. Full results of the County Championships can be found here. How did everyone else find the Surrey counties, any particular high or low points? I think I prefer this course to Lloyd Park but that might be because of the novelty factor, what do you think?

  1 comment for “Surrey county cross country championships

  1. January 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    It looks pretty nice from the picture. Not a fan of the Lloyd Park course – too much of an oil slick, and no-one likes those. I like your remarks about seeing the field and thinking you can catch them all up – epitomises what being a distance runner is all about for me.

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