One of the reasons you run for a club. The cross country season. To pull on your club vest and race against the other clubs in an out and out battle over the various courses around South Yorkshire. To run with your club team mates, cheer them on and motivate each other around the course. To have a prep talk from Shaun Dimelow about the route, the competition, the team we’ve got out and on show today. To chat with members of other clubs, about various challenges and training. To complete the raw spirited running over a variety of terrains, lumps and bumps.
Due to the clash with other races and events for me, this is the first cross country for me this season. It will be my first time running the race at the mighty fine Cannon Hall as well. Typically I’m not the best off road, like I’ve mentioned before. But after Lathkil this weekend, I can only go into this feeling alright and partly confident. I’ve picked the mileage and pace up again the last couple of days, managing to get around Parkrun yesterday in 16:56, 12 seconds shy of PB. Parkrun as well, what a success the Team Barnsley takeover was yesterday too. Handing over £422 to the Friends of Locke Park from the sale of the Team Barnsley T Shirts, taking the total to £676.
Cracking. Probably the fact that I was barcode scanning after running, gave me a sense of urgency as well, possibly making me speed up. So I might have to do that more often? Unbelievable support from the people of Team Barnsley as well, raising a staggering total amount of money from the simple act of a £2 donation when buying a t shirt. Can you get any better than that?
Anyway, let’s keep it sweet. The morning of the Cross Country, with it being a 12:30 start. I didn’t plan to get up at a particular time. Making the most of a rare lie in. Despite me setting an alarm last night and not actually remembering doing it! I eventually got out of bed around 10, that’s early or late for some? Planned a lift to the race with Dad and Mum, so that then they could get something from the cafe afterwards, have a bit of a walk and I could run up home. With it being a local race. Got there around 11.30 ish. Straight away parking up and Richard Price parking near us, so a bit of a walk to wake my legs and turning it into a bit of a warm up, eventually. Running part of the Barnsley Boundary route before looping back into Cawthorne and towards the park. Seeing Mum and Dad across the grass to change into my Up and Running specials! Went through to Huddersfield yesterday and bought a pair of spikes for XC. Ordered some inov8’s off of eBay that I planned on wearing, but they haven’t been delivered, yet. In hindsight was probably better in the spikes anyway! Saw plenty of people with the same on today, so they must be a good pair!
Never run in spikes before, so it’ll be interesting. Closest I’ve ever got is a pair of football boots! Didn’t opt for the longer spikes, went for 9mm. Changed into the spikes now anyway and off I went for a run with Shaun and Scott who I spied. Running around and chatting about various things. Spikes felt alright and I felt confident in them, back to the tent. Speaking to Scott’s family and lots of other members of Penistone and Team Barnsley! Getting carried away, Scott shouts me to go to the start. Me forgetting that it starts at the other side of the tents. Now, toes behind the line. Looking around and seeing plenty of familiar faces. But I’d be right in saying, plenty of faces missing that have been at the other 2 cross countries from looking at the results. A speech from Keith Binney followed, he’d loaded his gun with a real bullet apparently today, just in case anyone couldn’t count to 4 for the amount of long laps that they had to do! Getting ourselves set and raring to go. Shoulder to shoulder with Scott. It’s great to see him back racing, and back on form, 16:25 at Parkrun yesterday, 5 seconds shy of PB, after his lay off since March. Gun fired and we was off, quickly out the blocks. Fairly flat start before sweeping left up a steep climb, those that have done Cannon Hall 10k will know the climb back up to the house.
Quickly setting a Penistone stall, with me and Scott out in front. Making a great photo of us both. Me, setting off and treating it like a road race. Knowing that I’d need to do that on all of the flats and climbs, so that I could relax on the down hills (these not being a particular strength).
Feeling like the pace we was setting was rather slow and steady. But taking it in my stride as we approached the first climb. Powering up there with Scott and breathing steady. Before we hit the top to swoop down and around, plenty of Harriers and Kingstone out as Marshall’s and plenty of other faces from everywhere else out and about, supporting or cooling down from their earlier races. Running alongside the scenic house now. Slightly up hill, before banking and flying again down the hill, dodging a couple of holes in the grass. Still setting the pace and leading, but this is cross country. It won’t be for long! A couple of runners in and around me, who possess some real quality. One of them being Scott. Getting to the bottom of the fly, to hairpin back everything we’ve just come down. Mentally, a drag. Looking up and striding out. Counting it down, all the way to the top, knowing that a long and flat fast section was approaching when we eventually got there. Taking it in and going for it. Still feeling strong and confident. Spikes felt light and grippy, just enough! Passing some of the women who was out on their race and catching the legendary David Needham from Penistone, eventually. Eventually getting to the top, with Simon Pike stood on the corner. Turning left again and flying down to count down lap 1. Through the trees. Seeing the tents. 1st lap down. 8:29. 3 more to go. Settling down and getting in to my steadier pace now. Getting ready to sit in and grind it out. Still leading the charge, but it didn’t last long.
With Scott, a lad from Totley and City of Sheffield passing me. Sitting in now and working through the course. Climbing and driving up the climb. Looking ahead and glancing over my shoulder at the top, seeing everyone else embarking up the climb. Flying! Sweeping around and catching the other lads now on their lap 1. 8:48. Second lap done. Feeling strong and more settled now, dashing around the course. A shout behind me for Kendal, knowing there was another runner close. Half of me thinking it was Joe Sweetnam-Powell behind me. It wasn’t long before the lad from Kendal passed me. Flying and looking strong. I was now settled in my rhythm though and running my own race. On the flat again, focussing on my strengths and ready to climb for the 3rd time. Sat in 5th Place, getting information from everyone around the course. As to how far behind everyone was. I’m on my own, apparently. Dragging myself around, grinding it out. Around the course. Something that I’m used to grinding out a performance, only in a marathon. With it being a lapped course of 4 laps, with some tough climbs. It wasn’t the most pleasant! 9:01 for my third lap. Onto the last now, just got to get through this. Get on with it and get it done. Still digging in, 5th place and making my way around. 2500m lap, not long to go! Quickly got told, I had plenty of distance in between the guy behind me. Comfortably in 5th, I did steady. Making the final long climb. Before flying around in front of the house again for the last time, sweeping around and down. 30 yards on the guy behind me, bloody hell. He’s closed that. Then Tom Halloway, said ‘Come on Joe.’ It was Joe again, back to haunt me like the Penistone Hill Race of recent. I wasn’t letting him have me this time. I kicked up the climb and reached Simon Pike, before sweeping to the finishing downhill. Kicking and going, knowing he’s a much faster sprinter than me. Hoping the distance would help me. Around the bend and sprinting up to the finish, small steps, not big strides. Took me a while to get going. But I held my 5th Place, to finish in 35:07 on my watch. For 10k over 650ft of climb. Far from the flat city centre streets of Leeds Abbey Dash! Scott managed a 3rd place, I was followed by Kai Sunman to get 3 Penistone athletes in the top 10. With some cracking performances from the rest of the Team and to quote Captain Shaun Dimelow:
Anyone who was at cannon hall today for the cross country, I’m sure will feel very proud to be part of the club. That must be the best all round performance in the clubs history . With kids , vet 65 s , women and men all scoring highly against top opposition. Well done everyone, let’s finish the job off at graves park and get our trophy 🏆.
Well done Penistone, well done to the rest of the Barnsley runners and South Yorkshire runners and well done to Barnsley Harriers and Kingstone for putting on a cracking event! Went for a steady jog home afterwards sharing a bit of it with Scott before climbing up Redbrook Killer Hill.
Barnsley 10k next weekend, ahhh go on then!
Just Keep Running!