In muddy, cold and breezy conditions our girls did us proud in the prestigious Midlands ISA Cross Country conditions at Bedstone College, South Shropshire. Read below the report of all the action by Mr Farmer.
“We pride ourselves on encouraging well behaved polite young people, so it did feel a little strange telling the girls to forget all that and get their sharp elbows out – it’s cross country!
We walked the course and quickly realised that it was going to be a mud bath – and a slippery one at that. Each age group had a slightly different course but all three had a similar theme – fast first third, muddy steep middle and fast but narrow last section.
Three age groups were represented, U10, U12 and U13. First Adcote girl up was Bea, Y3. All the other teams lined up with at least six runners each, so there must have been 80 runners in total.
But brave Bea took her place on the start line (after a quick footwear change into Poppy’s spikes). As a team lined up next to her, another girl stepped in front of her. She looked back at me, with tears almost welling up. “ELBOWS” I gestured, and she did! She was now back on the start line with clear sight of the first corner.
“Silence and the whistle went. They were off! Bea was told to get some space around her before the muddy section and off she went. And soon the green and blue top was lost in the mass of runners.
At the half way point Bea had indeed made some space. She was up there with the leaders! The look of determination and focus on her face was inspiring.
Down to the finish and she was still there – steady and confident. A slip at the last 20m, but she was home. 6th place – amazing!
She came out of the finish funnel and collapsed. “I’m so tired” she declared. The girl had the heart of a lion (or should it be lioness). The rest of the girls scooped her up and got her back to the minibus and wrapped her up. Fantastic job.
Next it was the U12’s race with Poppy, Saskia and Maddie taking part. They had seen what had happened with Bea, so had a better understanding of the tactics. Final warm up and they were on the start line, holding their own in the jostle for the best position.
Silence and the whistle went. At the end of the first section Poppy was up there strong and steady. Saskia and Maddie are in the middle of the field of over 100, still a lot of jostling going up.
It was now very slippy and their trainers were just not cutting it as they were full on mud. Maddie lost a shoe in the wood, recovered it and then it was off again!
To the finish Poppy was up there with the leaders. She put in a strong finish and took third place. Saskia achieved 41st and Maddie 62nd. Great stuff. All put in 100%.
Then it was the turn of the U13s. Camren and Millie took their places, next to spikes and football booted teams. The field was again 100 plus.
Off they went. I could see that they were trying to get some space at the front of the field but the competition was very strong. They were in the middle of the pack by the end of the first stage and the course was even slippier.
But they dug deep and tried to make their way up the field. At the two-thirds point I could see they were tired but still going. Millie had settled into a steady rhythm and Camren was working through the pack.
“Keep going”, I shouted. A nod and they got back to the job in hand. At the finish they were both exhausted. A great race in a strong field, they had made it – Millie 67th and Camren 83rd. I was exhausted just watching! Such resilience!”