Race Report W/E 10 February
As Storm Erik blew headlong into the UK, it appears that Ful-on-Tri was handing out its own battering at this Saturday’s Cross Country races – both in terms of impressive results and in the sheer number of runners we managed to field. That wasn’t all either. In the Southern Hemisphere we also had a (rather longer) feat of endurance underway.
Corrections & Misdemeanours
Before I get carried away with this weekend’s results… it turns out that last week’s news was both incomplete, and… well… (mildly) fake:
First, to the incomplete, and I’m told that due to a husband error, Merilee’s race entry wasn’t tagged as Ful-on-Tri in the London Winter 10k. So, that makes 6 club runners last Sunday. And (perhaps because he was running away having admitted his error) Richard Bridger also got a 10k pb.
Secondly, the fake news: Chris Brown assures me he was nowhere near South Devon when the Endurance Life race took place. He did, however, put in a solid run at Lloyd Park to compensate.
Cross Country Races
So, on to the muddy, competitive world of cross country. On Saturday, we had the Men’s division 3 race being held in Lloyd Park (Croydon), and the Women’s division 2 race in Richmond Park. For the men this was the final race of the season. There is one last race left for the women.
The season has been mixed – perhaps more so for the men than the women. In particular, the second race in November was sparsely attended (only 11 for the men, and 15 for the women). Over the first two races, the men’s scorers struggled to break out of the bottom half of the division. In both races we were stuck in sixth, just ahead of Runnymede Runners, whilst the women (near the top of their division) continued to nip on the heels of (but not overtake) Stragglers.
2019 has proven to be a different story. Building from a turnout of 24, at Match 3 in Oxshott, the men turned up at Lloyd Park’s race no.4 with a whopping 26 (and one lame duck – sorry guys). Bringing not just numbers but extra pace, we placed a fantastic 3rd in this final race. This was despite the World War 1 terrain that Lloyd Park consistently provides. Overall, this should mean that the men’s team finishes solidly in the middle of Division 3 – a great outcome for the 2018/19 season.
For the women, racing in Richmond Park, a similar marketing miracle had occurred, with a crowd of 33 eager runners lining up at the start. As with the men’s race, it wasn’t just the numbers that were impressive. For the first time this season, the A team put clear distance between themselves and Stragglers, finishing second overall, with the B team only 2 places behind! Paula Rutherford bringing it home for the club in first place is only the icing on the incredible depth of talent competing for the club on Saturday (something true for the Men’s race as well).
The women have one more race to go – the delightful Lloyd Park!!! – and it’s literally all to play for. FoT is currently 3rd in the division within reasonable catching distance of 2nd place Woking AC, and not outside the realms of possibility of taking on the current leaders, Stragglers.
If any of us are free on 2nd March, I strongly suggest we go cheer the women’s teams on!
Before we move on from Cross Country, a few stats (as it does uniquely lend itself that way):
- 90 of our current club members have so far run a Cross Country race this season (and thereby an invite to the end of season curry) – 39 men (just over a fifth of the males in the club), and 51 women (well over a third!!). A sizeable number of runners this weekend were also new or newish members!
- 47 have raced in at least 2 matches, 13 in at least 3. However, the select group of club members that have run every race so far numbers 5 a piece for the men and women: Alexie Calvart-Ansari; Euan Lees; Mark Benton; Richard Bridger; Xavier Faux; Ceri Ruzzi; Christina Archer; Gina Siebler; Helen Fagan; and, Ursula Hankinson
- The shortest race was at Nonsuch Park (around 6.3k), whilst the longest was this weekend at Richmond Park (over 2k further – good to know the courses are consistent then!)
- Oxshott and Lloyd Park were typically 5% slower to run than Roundshaw and Epsom Downs
- Looking solely at B-team points earned, the latest women’s and final men’s positions would place Ful-on-Tri 1st and 3rd respectively – proving, if you still needed proof, that we have amazing depth of talent
- The incidence of crossing the line together is slightly higher in the women’s races than in the men’s. For the men’s team, this only happened once in each of the 3rd and 4th matches. In the women’s races, it happened three times in each of Wimbledon and Richmond Park. Not just that, but there were three groups of consecutive finishes over the 3 Women’s matches compared with only two for the Men’s 4 races
So, on from Cross Country, and over to late summer New Zealand, where one of our club members took part in the Tarawera 100 mile ultra-marathon… as you do when you run out of Netflix series.
Many of you probably do not know Katie Wright – mostly because she relocated to New Zealand last year. However, she has been a long standing member of the club and someone not averse to a challenge. Before her exile to the Souther Hemisphere she took on running the entire Welsh coastline.
The Tarawera Ultra is pitched as a prestigious part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour, with a spectacular course taking in seven lakes, forests, waterfalls and “the most stunning scenery imaginable”. Given the distance it also counts as a qualifying race for the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc (UTMB).
Katie not only took part and finished the whole 160km, but did so in under 24 hours landing a 2nd place on the podium!
We’re not sure how she’s going to top this… rowing back from New Zealand?
Well, that’s a wrap for this weekend!
Thanks to everyone that has started using and populating the Race Calendar. Some very positive feedback, and I hope it’s going to be both useful and inspirational. There does appear to be a niggle where events aren’t visible on the mobile site – we’ll try to fix this – but otherwise all good. I’ll try to give an update on how the race year looks within the next week.