Report submitted by Elizabeth Mitchell
|The Race||NEHL Cross Country – Aykley Heads, Saturday 22nd November, 2014|
|Please score the following categories out of 5|
|Value for Money||5|
|Club Support & Social||5|
|Tell us more…|
|In Short||A little bit tougher than the Blackhill Parkrun !|
|In FullSaturday 22nd November started like any other Saturday in the Mitchell household. A frantic dash to get everyone ready and everything organised so that we could make it out in time. Only this Saturday we were off to Aykley Heads Cross Country and not the usual Parkrun!We arrived at Aykley Heads in good time and observed the gathering of tribes setting up on the same field I had been watching with trepidation from the office window all week. The weather had been favourable, rain in the preceding days which seemed to be holding off for the event. This could only mean one thing…….. mud, and plenty of it!
There was enough time before the race for the nerves to set in and my stomach was beginning to feel like a washing machine on the spin cycle. I joined the other Bounder ladies at the start line for the obligatory photograph (not forgetting those jazz hands) and then took a few steps back to take my familiar place. One thing I noticed about this race was that the start line was wide and I didn’t need to step back quite so far!
The tension was mounting just as the gun sounded and the girls were off across the field before curving to the left. At this stage I began wondering why I had entered. The ground underfoot was very uneven and I was concentrating on staying upright whilst teetering along with a drunken swagger.
By chance, the ground seemed to even out, my nerves calmed and my breathing steadied. I began to enjoy the differing terrain. The route was varied and had a good smattering of hills, fortunately for me, not all of them up!
After a steady ascent to “the Hurdle”, I could see a sharp downhill. The ground appeared to soften and I saw the mud! I knew that if there was a place to fall, this was going to be it. I could hear Dave Mitchell telling me “be confident, don’t hold back.” So….. I went for it! I ran down the hill, managing to slow down enough at the bottom to get me around the tight right hand hairpin. Result!
I continued around the course with a smile on my face until I reached the last uphill. This was a short incline which seemed to get steeper the further up you went.
Throughout the race the support was amazing. There were bounders lined up all along the route cheering you on (especially where there was a chance of a spectacular tumble!). The marshalls were encouraging the athletes along their way and the event was extremely well organised.
Lap 2 began a little easier as the ground seemed to have been evened out by the stampede of 354 lady runners. The mud was a little muddier but this added to the fun (this was never going to be a quick race!)
As I began the incline from the railway line, I was starting to tire. I knew what was ahead of me and I was dreading that final hill. As I approached I was at the stage where I was thinking I was going to have to walk. Then I heard them…. The junior bounders were all lined up shouting support and encouragement. There was no way I was walking now. With a modicum of emotion I attacked the hill and battled my way to the top. Hill conquered, I fought my way to the finish line thinking of those supporters and proud to be a bounder!