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Posts Tagged ‘cross country’

murky depths

In a good way.

Last Saturday’s cross country race (16 Jan, Birmingham League, Division 1, Meeting 3, Coundon Park, Coventry) brought it home for me yet again. The depth of high quality competitive club runners in just one region of the UK, on a cold January afternoon, is truly something to behold.

Our club’s top marathon runner, we’ll call him Martin, ran a pair of 2:29 marathons last year and a 2:30 on top for good measure. On Saturday he could only manage 79th. Our top cross country runner, who incidentally won the U17 Intercounties championships, last year, didn’t break the top 50 on Saturday. Granted he had a bad day out, but even so…

This is a high quality field.

It makes me ponder (again), on what happens just beyond the very sharp end of these fields. I assume the other district cross country leagues are of similar levels and depths. Certainly at the intercounties championships our divisions don’t clean up the medal table. So it would appear as though the standard of our league, whilst it may be above the county average is not head and shoulders above it.  

There’s a lot a top quality runners just bubbling beneath the national level and sooner or later a group has to burst through and make the leap to national class and beyond.  

The chap who won on Saturday incidentally, did so by a comfortable margin (somewhere around 20 seconds from memory) and is still a junior. By all accounts he was a class apart and made that clear pretty early on. Personally I was engrossed in a battle of trying to finish in the top half of the field – I failed – and so only have the word of some educated spectators as to this youngster’s class. There is a chance that he will bridge the gap to the next level – lets hope so, achieve national success and then perhaps onto international competitiveness in the years that follow. 

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