CHARLTON Park in Malmesbury was the fascinating location for the second race in the Gloucestershire Cross Country League and ten Bromsgrove & Redditch Athletic Club runners made the journey to Wiltshire to compete.
This was a new venue for the league and the first time anybody from B&R had been there and having the registration in their private hangar and being told to keep off the airstrip was certainly a unique experience!
The recent rain had ensured there would not be a footstep in the entire race that would not be in strength-sapping mud.
First up was the ladies with star runner Sally Hogan hoping to improve on her fifth place from the previous race. Despite falling over in the treacherous conditions and being helped up by a fellow competitor, Hogan dug deep over the two-lap course and finished in fourth position behind race winner Katrine Svane from Team Bath AC.
Dagmar Prinzing was the only other B&R runner who ran well to finish 113th out of 184 finishers.
Next up were the men for the three-lap, six-mile race which by this point had churned up nicely, meaning keeping upright was going to be a challenge which a considerable number of athletes did not manage.
The race was a slog from start to finish and was won by Ben Price of Cheltenham Harriers. B&R’s improving Mark Appleton finished in an impressive in 20th position, backed up by Kevin Fisher 59th, Dean Hartshorne 70th, Steve Brooks 73rd, Ian Keyte 89th and Matt Henney 125th which gave a team placing of ninth out of 19 teams.
Other B&R runners were Phil Richardson 130th, Ian Nutter 163rd, Phil Anderson 165th as 202 runners finished.
Redditch-based Kingfisher Harriers also had three athletes running, with Clare Grennan 173rd in the ladies’ race and James Lay and Scot Beverley finishing 143rd and 170th respectively in the men’s race.
Local athlete Heidi Earles from Alvechurch, running as an individual, finished 155th in the ladies’ event.
Special mention to B&R member Mike Hoxbigge who, despite still suffering from a groin injury, drove down to support his team-mates. The next race is on Sunday, December 10 at Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire.