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Cross Country 2010-2011

Sunday Cross Country League - Final Standings - 20th February 2011

NameTimeCombined PosIndiv PosAggregate
Derek WrightSenior Men26,25,36,32,38.119pts13th SM
Mick WilsonM 5026,25,26,22.99pts17th M50
Doug MansellM 5027,20,28,30.105pts18th M50
John AtkinsonM 6012,10,13,16.51pts7th M60
End of season results shows Derek as the only member to contest every race.He
finished 13th in the Senior Men Category. Mick of course is the new boy to the
category and just pipped Doug for 17th place in the Category. Well
done to John who finished 7th in the M60 Category. The three of them completed
the 4 out of 5 races needed.

Sunday Cross Country League - Royston - 13th February 2011

Pictures available in Photo Gallery
NameTimeCombined PosIndiv PosAggregate
Andrew Baxter39:5149
Derek Wright42:5389
Mick Wilson45:02109
Doug Mansell49:10144
Paul Thompson49:23145
Jimmy Hartwell52:00163
John Atkinson57:37181

282 finishers, winner 32:02

The area around the location of this race is mainly flat and lashed by strong
winds. Thus with chattering teeth did our team line up at the start of the
last fixture of this season's Sunday league, the hill-fest that is Royston. As
in previous years, the course consisted of a lap of a hilly field followed by
two larger laps of an adjacent circuit. Around 5.5 miles long, the course
seemed a little extended compared to last year, due to the start and finish
being further along the flat and due to a section at the far corner of the
course being more winding. On the main lap, there were seven steep hills.
Underfoot, the ground was hard, with short grass and never muddy.

There were seven male runners, but no ladies. First home for ELR and in flying
form was Andrew, no doubt using the race as a break from marathon training. He
was well ahead of Derek, who was followed a couple of minutes behind by Mick,
enjoying a burst of fitness since the start of the year. Doug overtook Paul
during the race and they finished close to each other, Paul making the most of
his new specialist shoes. Bringing up the rear for ELR were Jimmy and John,
both no doubt considering Royston merely "small fry" after the serious business
of a 20-mile training run the previous day. Logistics were made simple owing
to the new minimalist groundsheet donated by Jaime. The race was typically
hard but an enjoyable conclusion to the league by a fit team of ELR runners.

Sunday Cross Country League - Watford - 16th January 2011

Pictures available in Photo Gallery
NameTimeCombined PosIndiv PosAggregate
Derek Wright40:148877
Mick Wilson44:16139114
Doug Mansell44:44148120
Edward Barnard49:43199153
John Atkinson51:40220165
265 finishers, winner 32:07

The course is well known to ELR cross country runners and represented a
moderate session in between the courses at Digswell and Royston. It differed
from last year by containing a much abbreviated first and last bit without the
long stretch at the end to the top of the park and back down again. As usual
the course crossed the bridge into two laps of the forest which contained ups
and downs and ultimately led to the strenuous hill out of the forest again.
Runners took heart from the knowledge that the end of the first lap in the
forest was exactly half of the overall course. Conditions underfoot were soft
and leafy without being prohibitively muddy.

Five ELR men turned up on a clear and rain-free day and were assisted as ever
by Jaime Towns and Jim Bird.

Essex Cross Country Championships - Hadleigh, Essex - 8th January 2011

Pictures available in Photo Gallery
NameTimeCombined PosIndiv PosAggregate
Ladies' Team - 8km
Sharon Springfield48:5143
Men's Team - 12km
James Wilson1:08:00102
Derek Wright1:10:23109
Paul Thompson1:19:00143
Ladies: 81 finishers, winner 36:36

Men: 161 finishers, winner 49:00

A die-hard contingent of runners lined up at Hadleigh on a Saturday afternoon
for this year's Essex Cross Country Championships. The senior races came
after the various junior races, with the ladies starting at 1:30pm and the men
at 2:00pm. The course consisted of multiple laps of 4km each. The ladies' race
was 8km over two laps, while the men endured another lap to make it 12km over
three laps.

By the time of the senior races, the course was well churned up. Each lap was
punctuated by three hills of the heartbreaking variety, the first leading to a
stretch back downhill in a cascade of mud, the second culminating in stunning
views over the Thames Estuary and the third being enough to bring runners to
their knees. As for the rest, it was hard work all the way, as runners
struggled to lift their feet in the sticky conditions or rinsed their shoes in
muddy puddles. Towards the end of the lap, there was a particularly hard bit
up a slope leading to a stile and then an open section marking the start of the
next lap or eventually the race finish.

In the men's race, two runners slipped and fell in the initial stampede, making
it clear that this would be a matter of getting round in one piece rather than
breaking any records. Even the top runners were slowed down - the winning lady
went round in about 7:20/mile pace, the winning man in about 6:30/mile pace.

The ladies were represented single-leggedly by Sharon, the men by James, Derek
and Paul. Not enough to form a team, but hopefully the Olympic Year will see
ELR at the championships again.

Sunday Cross Country League - Digswell - 12th December 2010

Pictures available in Photo Gallery
NameTimeCombined PosIndiv PosAggregate
Andrew Baxter40.466358
Derek Wright42.479282
Robert Heppell44.47116101
Jimmy Hartwell46.07136117
Doug Mansell47.09155126
Edward Barnard49.58179145
Dave Knight51.06192152
Don Bennett60.10246181
260 finishers (187 men, 73 ladies)

For the third race of this season's Sunday league, the club returned to
Digswell, missing from the fixture list last year, but visited in 2008. Billed
as 6.4 miles, but more like 5.7, the course consisted of two laps through
farmland, generally flat for the first half of the lap, before the climb
lovingly known as "Heartbreak Hill" which introduced a second half that was
mainly downhill or flat. The lap was punctuated by three kissing gates that
brought runners to a halt. While on the day there were no complaints about the
weather, the snow a week earlier meant that it was hard work on the stretches
on either side of the first kissing gate and before Heartbreak Hill -
competitors ran to the side of and then across a field on a muddy surface and
on a slope. Even those with studs struggled in these sticky conditions, while
anyone still in road shoes was destined to be labelled reckless. Towards the
end of the first lap, the field was long and slippery, while at the end of the
second the race to the line was a welcome downhill on a country lane.

The men were out in force, fielding a full team of eight, and supported by
chairman Frank, beverage technician Jaime and, at the top of the last downhill,
Jim Bird. Our last runner was brought home by the ELR men's voice choir who
gave a rousing rendition of "One Don Bennett". With ladies completely absent,
the men joked that the number of ladies next month would be minus one. Or is
that the expected temperature at Watford? Only time will tell.

Essex Vets Cross Country Championships - Chigwell Row - 4th December 2010

Pictures available in Photo Gallery
NameTimeCombined PosIndiv PosAggregate
Ladies' V35 Team
Kirsty Weston51:0636
Caroline Meaby51:4538
Rachel Coombs52:0839
Jayne Browne58:2253
Men's V50 Team
Mick Wilson45:5253
Doug Mansell47:5563
Frank Brownlie50:3374
John Atkinson51:5077
Don Bennett61:1687
Men's V40-50 Team
Derek Wright40:0340
Richard Mainwaring44:5561
Grant Conway45:3963
Jimmy Hartwell47:0267
Paul Thompson48:0369
Edward Barnard48:4670
George Georgiou49:4271
Ladies V35: 59 finishers, winner 35:32

Men's V50: 87 finishers, winner 33:35

Men's V40-50: 75 finishers, winner 33:11

A mist hung over the start of this year's Essex Vets Cross Country
Championships at Chigwell Row, well known to club members as the start of the
Newman Hilly 5 and many a Sunday run. The event was divided into three
categories: the ladies' V35, the men's V50 and the men's V40, the first two
taking place in the same race at 11am, the last in a separate race at noon.

The course was over a different section of Hainault Forest from the Hilly 5.
Totalling about 5.5 miles, it consisted of two laps starting off
with half a lap round a field followed by an uphill section into the forest, a
long downhill section and then a return journey uphill again. This was all
familiar territory to Sunday runners. The sight of Jim Bird towards the end of
the lap marked the end of the uphill stretch, at least until the next lap!

After a snowy week, the temperature was above zero and the thaw in progress
meant the ground was either slushy or muddy all the way. Studs were de
and soon the backs of our legs were caked with mud. This was cross
country of the old school, involving negotiating narrow forest paths, leaping
over logs or ducking under branches.

In spite of the bleak weather halving the overall turnout, ELR were well
represented - Kirsty, Mick and Derek led their respective categories to the
finish. Jaime Towns was on hand once again to photograph the event.

Sunday Cross Country League - Chicksands - 21st November 2010

Pictures available in Photo Gallery
NameTimeCombined PosIndiv PosAggregate
Men's Team
Ian Horritt37:483938
Andrew Baxter38:124644
Ciaran Canavan38:355047
Derek Wright38:565953
Paul Thompson44:05132112
Mick Wilson44:53146121
Edward Barnard49:13203157
John Atkinson52:02208169
Dave Knight53:32236172
Ladies' Team
Anne Gombert56:3825579
275 finishers (181 men, 94 ladies)

Race two of the season took the club on a long but straightforward journey up
the A1 to Chicksands in Bedfordshire. The forest at Rowney Warren was the
setting for this event which saw the usual gathering of up to 300
runners and spectators on a cold and still morning.

The course was a little adjusted from last year, starting with a downhill run
to an extra section of around half a mile followed by the established three
larger laps of hilly terrain in a tree-filled setting. The total distance was
around 5.5 miles. While hills kept runners on their toes, none was long enough
to be crippling, though some of the sharp descents might have been more fitting
for a mountain bike competition. Underfoot, the ground was soft and leafy and
riven with tree roots, though rarely saturated with mud.

The men fielded a full team of nine (one over the required number) and were led
from the start by Ian, probably in his farewell race for ELR. He was followed
by a slightly injured Ciaran and then Andrew, the latter managing to
finish ahead of Ciaran by the end of the race. Derek had their backs vaguely
in his sights. Paul settled into his own race and could spot Mick behind him
when loops in the course touched each other. The team was completed by Edward,
John and Dave, the latter recently fortified by a bacon sandwich from the
nearby tea hut.

The ladies fielded a team of one, allowing Anne to come first for them in
spite of an injury. She was encouraged up the final hill to the funnel by
fellow ELR runners.

Race management and photography were undertaken impeccably again by Jaime. Jim
Bird was also on hand to offer support.

Sunday Cross Country League - Cheshunt - 24th October 2010

Pictures available in Photo Gallery
NameTimeCombined PosIndiv PosAggregate
Men's Team
Ian Horritt33:074340
Ciaran Canavan33:285045
Derek Wright34:286557
Russell Price35:108270
Richard Potter37:0510999
Mick Wilson38:23144115
Doug Mansell38:54161125
Jimmy Hartwell41:03209156
Dave Knight42:26221163
John Atkinson44:55256182
Ladies' Team
Sharon Springfield39:4817943
Louisa Tock44:5625775
300 finishers (195 men, 105 ladies)

The season kicked off at Cheshunt with perfect weather conditions, sunny and
not too cold. The course was shorter than a couple of years ago - no doubt a
field or two have been axed - and consisted of three laps with moderate ups and
downs. Underfoot was soft rather than boggy, though sometimes treacherous on
the wooden bridges. The course challenged runners with a long drag up the back,
while towards the end of each lap, a downhill section followed by a sharp turn
uphill again allowed runners to look back and admire their friends or confound
their enemies!

The men fielded a full team of 10 (two more than the minimum). They were
led home by our stalwart member Ian, followed closely behind by Ciaran, who was
making his debut in cross country. He was too quick for Derek, who finished
a minute behind and who was a target for Russell, who finished in the
top 100 overall.

Consisting of only two runners (three less than the minimum), the ladies' team
was economical, but no doubt tales of Sharon storming to the finish line or
Louisa battling with John Atkinson will filter through and inspire other ladies
to compete in the next event in November.

Gold stars to Jim Bird for offering support and in particular to Jaime Towns
for ferrying runners to and from the event, taking photographs and logging