by Stephan de Vries

Sunday the 23rd was the day for the Leinster Novice Cross Country championships in
Carlingford. At the start of October there was a scramble to get a team together, we got a team, then there wouldn’t be a team but thanks to Paul and Trevor we got a Sportsworld team at the start line. Unfortunately there was no Sportsworld women’s team in the race before us.

Trevor kindly drove Brian, Anthony and myself to Carlingford, all the time we chased the rain that was moving North too. Upon arrival there was some debating how we could do our warm-up and number collection without getting every piece of clothing and pair of shoes covered in mud. (We had to save something post-race so we would not ruin Trevor’s car).

Soon after arrival the weather cleared up and the sun appeared. The course was in a gorgeous location with a country house, rolling hills and lots of green around us. When we saw the grimace on runner’s faces we knew we would be in for a tough one. After warming up and meeting Paul the 5 of us lined up at the start line at 14.30. Paul and Trevor were out of sight within no time but because the course looped back on itself a few times you could always spot a Sportsworld runner. At this stage the sun was looking down on us and although the ground was slippery and hard to run in, it was very enjoyable. It is a weird sense of satisfaction of getting stuck in and getting yourself covered in mud. They had a great PA system so you could hear updates on the top 5 of the field all the way through your lap.

Everyone ran a great race with Paul scooping up a silver medal with the Dublin team. This was only my second cross country -the first one was on a very dry Tymon Park last October – but I have to say it is really nice not to focus on time as much as you would do with a road race since the conditions will have a huge effect on your time. You can just go out, run and enjoy yourself.

Lace up and give cross country a go!