English National XC Championships

Busy weekend for all, slow but steady trip up to Loughborough on the Friday night, an excellent choice in team hotel led to a few bevvies being consumed by the spectators whilst watching Rugby in the bar. A good nights sleep, a full English breakfast and a quick trip across the M1 to a very well organised Castle Donnington site. The U17 men’s course comprising of two 3k laps, some long and steep hills, a very long and wide starting straight, which triggered a few concerns about disproportionate distances to the first bend, and to add to the interest a few hundred meters of course running over turnips, which generated a delightful (not) smell. Robbie’s personal target for the day was to finish top 50, with a top target of top 40, personally I thought this was a little conservative, and still believe that he should have been targeting minimum top 40 with a top end aim of top 30. On the day the AFD team started way right in the pen layout, and immediately started voicing concerns, the right hand side pens seamed to have a longer distance to the first bend, and also started with a slight uphill requirement, where as most of the other pens were dead flat straight to bend 1, this may explain why some of the fastest runners in the field hit the first bend right back in the 50/60 positions, with Jack and Robbie coming round first for AFD in the early 60’s. A steady race ensued with Jack pushing through the numbers quickly to sit just of the leading 20 runners waiting for a chance to pick them off. Robbie on Mick’s advice took a steadier approach to ticking off the numbers, picking off runners on the uphill elements through out the race it looked like he may well break in to the top 30, right up until he started to cramp up, with about 1500m to go Robbie developed a severe stitch which lost him a good 7 ot 8 places as his breathing became harder and his speed dropped. Not willing to give up Robbie through everything he had left in to the finishing straight, managing to pick a few places back and fight off Dominic Willmore of Poole Runners, James Heneghan of Winchester and Oscar Subuh-Symonds of Dorking in a last 10m pitch battle. Robbie taking the line in 21:09, the other three in 21:10 so a very close finish. AFD’s third runner across the line was Ollie Percival who had a great run finishing in 48th place but only 5 seconds behind Robbie, a very close race with a lot of runners lends to large numbers with small gaps.

Robbie in the Mad Downhill Dash at Donnington Park

Robbie in the Mad Downhill Dash at Donnington Park

Well done to AFD on the day, especially the Individual and Team medalist;

Under 13 Boys – Team Gold
Under 15 Boys – Team Bronze
Under 17 Women – Team Gold
– Niamh Brown – Ind. Gold
– Lucy Pygott – Ind. Bronze
Junior Men – Team Gold
– Ellis Cross – Ind. Gold
– Gus Cockle – Ind. Silver
Junior Women – Team Silver
Senior Men
– Johnny Hay – Ind. Gold
Senior Women – Team Gold
– Lilly Partridge – Ind. Gold

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply