Another “guest” appearance for Oxford City AC, although this was more planned than the last one. I’ve even been trying to join the club and buy a club vest, but that has proved more difficult than I’d have thought – I’ve been down to the Horspath track a couple of times but the chap who deals with membership and so on is either busy coaching juniors or not there. No problem, I’m sure I’ll get there eventually!
The race was three laps over some fields and waste ground around the back of the Harwell research area, and I’d been advised to wear studded shoes as the ground was a bit rough in places. The course turned out to have some gravel and even a few yards of tarmac path and nowhere near as much mud as Milton Keynes, so they proved the best choice. I borrowed a club vest off John Exley, and did a bit of a warm up. I’ve not had the best week’s training – after last Saturday’s 20-miler I had a sore tendon under a big toe and a bit of a “dead leg” in my quads. So I’ve only done a bit of jogging and quite a lot of intense cross-training to keep things ticking along for London.
After the last cross-country, where I started much too quickly and paid the price later on, I was much more cautious off the start this time. Apart from a few narrow bits around the back of a man-made hill, there were plenty of places to make up time if I got stuck behind people. The charge off the start (photos by John Harvey, Abingdon AC):
After the end of the first lap of three I was feeling pretty OK and running well, only losing places on the downhills, not so confident in the grip from my studs. I had a bit of a battle with a couple of other OCAC runners around the next two laps, and ended up tracking Roy Treadwell, who always seems to be just in front of me in the summer Mota-vation races. I was beating him up the hills but he was a bit quicker down the other side. Leading a group on lap one:
I was cruising along OK, despite the strong wind across the top of the big hill on this course, and tried to sprint at the end to reel Roy in, but was caught on the line myself by a runner from Alcester AC. A much better result than last time, but still more work to be done before my next races. Once the results were up I was happy to find I’d finished just a bit more than halfway down the field.