This was our second race in our debut cross country league season. The first, held in Markfield, was a huge disappointment to some because there was a lack of mud. Turns out it was all in blinking Bagworth!
The morning of the race there was a few nervous smiles and some of us looked like we had a look of trepidation on our faces for what was about to come. This could of been due to how cold it was. It was freezing. Even Eskimos find these conditions nippy.
When at Bagworth, we all congregated around Mark Purvey’s fun bus (this is not a euphemism). We all had different variations of warm ups and some of the Pops gave me some stick for doing a bit of skipping. To be fair, if I’d have seen someone skipping, I’d have handed out some friendly banter too. Everyone was chatting and wondering how the Pops doing the Loughborough 10k had got on. Lee was his usual comedic self, that’s when we decided to head over to the start line!!
Before we set off there was a moment of silence for Kayleigh Haywood, a teenager who recently had her life taken away from her. She was local to the area and it felt like a fitting tribute. The silence was perfectly observed. The only sounds that could be heard were children playing nearby in a park. This made the moment all the more poignant as Kayleigh was still a child herself.
Onto the race itself. We set off and headed straight up a sufficiently steep hill. Running over the grass felt like running through marshland. You could instantly feel mud being sprayed over the backs of your legs as you hit the floor looking for a firm footing. It was very congested and it was hard during the opening mile to find a running rhythm.
After numerous hill climbs/descents and constant weaving around the course the first lap was over. It was just over 3 miles and we had to do it all over again. There was over 400 runners taking part and I had 200 runners in front of me on the start of the second lap. So you could picture what the course looked like now! It was a real battle to stay on your feet. I spent a lot of time looking like a surfer as I battled not fall on my backside, or worse, face plant the floor!
Towards the end of the second lap, I was cheered home by the Pops who had already finished. Including a very muddy Lee Dawson who had fallen over. I wish I had been quick enough to keep up with him and see it! (especially after he made fun of my skipping earlier)!!
Results were handed in. We all got changed at the side of the road. Then we headed to the Horse in Shepshed, where Lee Joynes had kindly put on chip cobs for us. Washed down with a pint, this was now my kind of Sunday.
Even if you think cross country is not for you, if you’re free one Sunday, come and give it a go. It makes a change from road running. It helps build leg strength but more importantly it builds character. The camaraderie and banter is what makes Pops, the Pops. Sometimes it’s just about being with your mates and getting s*** up!
Thank you, Darryl Hughes (men’s captain)