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Cross-Country at Aldridge Airfield - Saturday 14th January 2023

Over to our Coach extraordinaire and Cross Country Captain, Craig for this fantastic race report from race 3 of this seasons cross country league covering the ladies and men's races. As well as supporting the ladies and providing some much needed encouragement Craig also ran a great race himself! Well done Craig and thank you for the report!


I was met by Jenny who said they hadn’t put up the ladies’ tent because it was too windy. Up stepped the men who promptly put up the men’s tent (assisted a little by the ladies), so ensuring all had somewhere to go to get out of the wind and rain. Mind you it did stop raining before the races, but it was still windy and cold. But what a fabulous afternoon!

The races were held at the disused airfield. I was under the impression it had been used during the 2nd World War. It wasn’t. I’m not often wrong. However, Amy Johnson did crash a glider there in 1938.

Why wasn’t it used during the 2nd World War? I don’t know, but it might be because it is reported as having wet clay soil, making it unsuitable for larger aircraft. Now the wet clay soil is important because we ended up wading through it on a fair chunk of the course. I think we can all agree it was tough even though the course would be described by most as flat.

Ladies – Midland Women’s League Division 2

Let me say this now. I was really proud with how the ladies performed. Without exception they were fabulous.

The ladies team.

There was a field of 242 and the finishing places for the ladies were:

52nd Suzzy

85th Emma S

98th Meg

99th Jenny

110th Manisha

123rd Rebecca

Full results as follows:

I had the pleasure of seeing them all run and only had to mention use of arms on a few occasions.

Suzzy, off a fairly limited amount of training did so well and fought for places all the way to the line. Okay, I did mention Suzzy’s arms in the finishing straight.

This was Emma’s first cross-country race of the season and what a great run. Those Saturday training sessions taking on her dad are paying off.

The battle of the day was between Meg and Jenny. The problem here was that I was shouting arms to both of them and they both responded positively. They gave it everything to the line with Meg just coming out on top. Well done to you both.

I think this was the best I’ve seen Manisha run for some time. Manisha should be so chuffed coming 110th in a field of 242.

Like Emma, this was Rebecca’s first cross-country race of the season. And how well Rebecca did in very testing conditions. Such a commendable run coming 123rd.

And ladies not only did you all finish with 50% of the field still on the course but you stayed to cheer the men on. We all know how important the support is, especially when you’re dragging yourself through thick mud.

Men – Birmingham League Division 3

So, what happened with the men? Difficult to say when I was running (I did run all the way) myself. I do know one thing for certain and that is Andy W missed the start. Not by much he told me. I’ve praised the ladies, but I must add at this stage the men faced the worst conditions. The ladies had really churned the mud up for us. Deliberate some would say.

Our men's team.

All the men got in safely, which is good. And all were suitably covered in mud which is better. Out of a field of 263 the men’s finishing positions were:

81st Nick

139th Barry

157th Patrick

172nd Andy W

181st Andy M

187th Tahir

195th James

222nd Andy L

239th Craig

It was great to have 9 runners in the men’s race. Well done to you all.

Thank you to Gavin and Paul who turned up to support. Gavin was redundant on the day because there were no finishing discs for the men. I’m hoping this managed you to move round the course a little more, Gavin, so you could keep warm.

Also, thank you to Graham Heeley. Graham’s attendance at the league races on the official side means that we as a club do not need to provide officials on the day. This is a huge help.

One question to ponder. How did Andy W know which pub to go to after the race?

The next races are at Coombe Abbey, Coventry, on Saturday 11 February. Let’s aim for a great turn out. We’ll probably arrange a get together after the race.


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