The CSAA Cross Country Championships were once again held on what some runners would say is the spiritual home of British Cross Country running – Parliament Hill Fields, which has seen a number of great English National Cross Country Championships over the years. I personally remember 1981 when the ground was over ankle deep with mud and the course was 9 miles. That was when Julian Goater floated over the ground to win by minutes from a chasing Dave Moorcroft who missed the start and had to work his way through the entire field.
This year the contrast could not have been different with the ground rock-hard and crumbling in places, with the potential to turn an ankle if an unlucky runner misplaced their foot. As for mud, it was certainly hard to find despite the best efforts of the course markers.
The entry of 135 athletes was positively encouraging and with 120 finishers numbers are holding up well. It was really good to see a number of new Departments taking part and even winning medals. Once the race commenced the Women had two laps to compete and the Men three; and very soon a few were making their intentions known.
In the Women’s race, ultra-distance runner Jo Meek was pulling clear of English Fell International, Nichola Jackson to complete an MoD 1 – 2 with last year’s winner, Emily Antcliffe (DWP) in 3rd place. In the Men’s race Patrick Vis, making his debut gradually pulled away to finish 1st ahead of another debutant, Sam Allin of DWP with previous winner Mike Cummings in 3rd.
In the team competition MoD took the Women’s title with HMRC the Men’s. MINERVA won the Women’s Masters title whilst the Men’s 35 – 49 title went to the Welsh Government with DWP taking the Masters 50+ award.
The Master’s individual awards saw a number of very good athletes taking their respective categories and it was a pleasure to welcome the CSAA President, Marian Holmes, to undertake the awards ceremony.
Thanks go to all those who assisted with the organisation of the event and to the runners who supported the race which makes it all worthwhile. If you receive a post-race survey, please complete and return as it assists us in ironing out any flaws in the organisation. Finally, if you wish to become involved with the CSAA Committee please contact Nick Hume.