Cross Country can be a fickle affair, so many elements need to align on the day for things to work out. With a pretty much guaranteed top 15, and a good chance at top 8 and England selection, Robbie warmed up with confidence practically steaming out of his ears. Unfortunately that confidence was smashed away very quickly. The fairly flat course, with long straights, lent for a quick and aggressive running style, by the first corner Robbie is well back in about 35th place. His only thought as the pack starts to break up is “I need to be nearer the front”, and with that in mind he kicks only to find there was simply nothing in the legs to kick with, no strength, no power, no energy. The confidence smashed, the race already lost and all he can do is hang in and hope for the best. A final placing of 41st was testament to desire, but a highlighter that everything needs to be aligned. A very disappointing result, and a very disappointed runner as Robbie’s hopes of representing England Schools in Cross Country are ended for good.
Well done to the eight boys that did get those England vests, especially Lachlan Wellington (Hampshire), Josh Cowperthawaite (Cleveland) and Zac Mahamed (Hampshire) all three being bottom year runners, a stunning performance. ESAA XC Champion 2016 is Matt Willis with an amazing run, finishing the course in 17:58.
As for Robbie, the day was not completely lost, his 41st place helped Hampshire to a team gold and trophy position winning the Team Intermediate Boys event by a mere 5 points, so had Robbie given up, Hampshire wouldn’t have won. A celebration then for shear determination in the face of adversity.
Well done Hampshire.