“Would you please write a report on the NZ Cross Country Champs? You were there all day, ran and got a good feeling for the event. You are allowed to blow your own trumpet too.”
A chance to blow my own trumpet eh? How could one refuse such a request? The problem is that after my “old man’s” event I went and sat on this very comfortable and colourful chair that some thoughtful person brought along and soaked up the warm sun letting the body recover outside the Sumner “office”. People came and went, announcements made over the speakers in the distance, start guns went off and kids pestered their parent for cash for sausages at the sizzle. There was some racing out there too but with most wearing Canterbury uniforms rather than the Sumner one and me being relatively new to the club and often having “senior moments”, it was not that easy to put names to runners. (our gallery page on the web site helps but it is quite out of date – perhaps I should volunteer to update it!)
The Canterbury event at the same venue was so wet and muddy that I was not going to be caught again slip sliding away. I broke out the wallet and bought some flash multi-coloured spikes- each shoe being a different colour. Turns out that it was a top fashion thing as I see the young ones wearing the same thing. One point to me. Despite the rain overnight the course was relatively dry but still the spikes were great.
And despite the forecast of snow and bitter cold conditions – it was calm, windless and warm. Just perfect for the event. The vet men were off the mark first giving them a clean field which was just great. Each age group had a different colour tag pinned to their singlet – a great idea so that you actually knew who you were racing. Mine was yellow and it wasn’t long before I spotted another ahead and making steady progress away from me. I wasn’t surprised about that as you don’t travel all the way from the North Island if you aren’t good. Then at the half way point there was some heavy breathing on my shoulder for a while and it finally passed – I hoped that the tag would be green, blue, red anything but yellow. It was yellow. Damn. Could I up my game without blowing up? Ah no apparently not my body was telling me. How many more yellows were ahead? I had no idea. I hoped not too many as my “coach”, Oliver, had promised to kick my bum if I got fourth. Luckily I was spared of that joy as a little later some kind guy turned up with a bronze ( MM65+) for me to take home as evidence.
I did not see our only other men’s vet runner, David Fitch (MM35+) who was running in the Canterbury Team as he was far ahead. Well about 9 minutes in fact, but at least I was not lapped. What a fine effort he did coming away with the silver and in the winning team for the 35 to 49 group.
The next success for Sumner running for Canterbury team was Karen Muller in the 45 – 49 6k event with a great result of a silver medal.
Jess Fahey running for the Canterbury team in the 4 k under 18 race was the 2nd fastest Canterbury woman and gained 9th place with the team winning the event.
It was great to see our younger members out there giving it a shot in the tougher competition than the usual local events: Beth Hunter (13th girls u13 2k) , Jack Forrest, John Wells, Familio Kennedy (9th, 16, 17 boys u13 2k), Sofia Kennedy, Marisol Hunter (13, 15 girls u15 3k) , Maxwell McLachlan (20th Boys u18 4k) and Ed Corey Wright (39th men u18 6k)
Then came the big event – the senior men who had to contend with the churned up course. It was long, fast and mean. A huge bunch came around for the first lap with a bit of pushing and jostling in the narrower parts of the course. The bunch thinned a little with each lap with a few more being dropped off the back. Then came a big break with our leading Canterbury runner leading out with a kilometre to go finishing the 12k in about the same time as I did the 8k! Oh well youth has its advantages. Our very own runner , Tane Cambridge ran strongly to finished in 42:55minutes.
Finally it is those people behind the scenes that make these events happen and we all thank Chris, Sue, Paul, Katherine, Jo, Cate, Simon, Marty, Al, Ian, and Ann, for volunteering.
Now all that is left to do is to get those dirty, wet new spikes out of the back of the truck and give them a wash so that I can see the orange and blue again and put them away for next season.
Thank you Karen for the photos.