Harrow Athletics Club have been daft / kind enough to let me run some cross country for them this season.
The first race was the MIddlesex Championship at Hillingdon, Uxbridge. 8k for the ladies with one short sharp uphill, some wood, some bog and some fields. It was my first ever XC race as we didn't do it at school. I loved it. It's flipping hard though. I've not felt that wiped out after a run for a LONG time. As someone who does a 1s positive split in a marathon, the idea of the all-guts-out start and variable terrain means that pacing is.....a mystery! My proudest achievement is that I managed to out-sprint someone at the finish. Miracle!
12th out of 90 which is something to work up from! Our team came 7th.
Second race was the Chiltern league at Keysoe Equestrian Centre in Bedfordshire. So yes, they use a horse riding cross country course. There was not horse poo though thankfully! This race was shorter - 6k and much flatter, but it had this great feature (click for video):
The inflatable shark was particularly fun and there was ice in the corner of the water. Having said that, it was actually really fun and not nearly as hardcore and the boggy, sleety conditions experienced by those running Southern or Met League races. I managed 18th out of 180 and three of us crossed the line at the same time.
This weekend I will be taking on the Parliament Hill course for the South of England championships. I'm told it's an 8k suffer fest. It's 15k for the guys, which makes me glad for non-equality!