Once again, the Civil Service were privileged to be able to hold their Annual Cross Country Championships at London’s Parliament Hill, widely regarded as the “home of cross country running”. Indeed the 2018 National Championships will be held there on 24 February and hopefully there will be more mud around than there was on Wednesday.
This was the 8th time since 2009 that the Championships had been held here and it has proved to be a popular venue for athletes and officials as it is not far from the London mainline stations and easily reached by London Overground services to Gospel Oak.
Whilst the entry was slightly lower than usual and the number of competitors was less than 100, it did nothing to deter from the competition and the enjoyment, if that is the word, of the athletes. The Women raced over two circuits for a distance of approximately 4 miles whilst the Men ran three laps for approximately 6 miles. The going was firm to hard underfoot with only the smallest patch of mud anywhere to be seen!
In the Women’s race latest year’s winner, Jo Meek (MoD) retained her title from Victoria Carter, 2014 Champion, (Minerva) followed home by Sue Francis (Minerva). Jo (The Running Squirrel) is a GB Ultra Marathon runner and if you are interested has a very interesting blog.
In the Men’s Race Tom Adams (DEFRA) was a clear winner ahead of Kimon Doulis (Minerva) and Douglas Nicholls (Welsh Government). Tom is a GB World Mountain Running representative having also represent England on the Fells. In fact, in both races there are a number of excellent athletes who have excelled in Open and now Masters events and it is a privilege to have them compete in our Championships. It is interesting to note that the majority of runners were in the Master’s Categories which is a reflection of running in general but we do need to encourage our younger colleagues to participate.
However, without all the athletes who turned out there would be no competition at all and it is important that we retain events like this within the Civil Service as part of maintaining the Work Life Balance. Therefore, thank you to all who competed and especially to the CSAA Officials and CSSC HQ staff, along with CSAA President Marian Holmes, who ensured that the event was organised, the course marked out and marshalled.
We hope to return to Parliament Hill at the same time next year to welcome you all back and hopefully those who could not attend this year.