Kent Cross Country League – Saturday 11th November 2017

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Foots Cray Meadows (Sidcup)
Senior men’s race (10km), 2pm

The third (and penultimate) race in the Kent Cross Country League took place at Foots Cray Meadows in Sidcup. This race was in fact the final race of last year’s season and took place in February of this year, however, a change in course due to the distance being short in the 2016/17 season meant that I was unable to go in with a time to beat. However, having run at this venue once before it did provide me with a good understanding of what to expect on the day.

Following the heavy rain that morning I knew that cross country spikes would be on the agenda for the first time this season. I decided to go with 12mm spikes as although the ground was still quite firm, there were quite a few muddy sections as well as the memorable moll hills to contend with that I remember from last time!

In the early stages of the race & on my way to posting a new 10k personal best (race #944) – photo courtesy of Mark Hookway

I set off at a comfortable pace for the first mile or so as I found my position in the field. The course has some undulations but is otherwise relatively flat with no hills to speak of. I was pleased with my pacing and was able to pick off runners as I went along although I was pipped at the line by one guy who crept up on me! Despite this, I was pleased to have finished in a respectable 66th position – just one position down on the race two weeks ago.

I was able to make a comparison to the race that I ran on this course in February of this year, which had a total distance of 5.35 miles (compared with 6.26 miles this year) and it is encouraging to see that my average pace had improved from 6:21 to 6:12 per mile – getting ever closer to those 6 minute miles.

I was delighted to finish in a time of 38:48 and it wasn’t until I returned home that I realised that this was in fact a new 10k personal best for me – beating my previous best (from the Staplehurst 10k road race in June of this year) by 3 seconds.

My position after 3 races in the individual table is 37 with a points tally of 213 and a total aggregate time of 1:57.03. The fourth and final race is not until 10th February 2018, where the venue will be Sparrow’s Den (hosted by Blackheath & Bromley AC). Between now and that final race, I have a 5 mile XC race in a fortnight’s time, a 7.5 mile XC race mid-December, a 10 mile road race at the end of December and the Kent XC Championships, 12km (Brands Hatch) & Southern XC championships, 15km (Stanmer Park, Brighton) both in January 2018.

Thank you for reading and please check back in a couple of weeks for my next blog post.

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