UK Inter-Counties Championships & IAAF World Trials Senior Men 12km -7/3/2009
It's always a little bit different when an event is televised as you have a weird start time (2:38!), and they always hold you up for ages before the gun goes for the camera to pan along the field, though whether it saw me in the depths of the Hertfordshire pen I have no idea. Sky Sports 3 is a big deal though as this is pretty much the only domestic televised XC race.
The race is roughly 4 laps, with each loop going up a hill near the start, continuing on uneven ground until you open up to a flat straight where you charge down until you hit a very muddy corner and turn into the wind. Whereupon you loop back on yourself into a short wooded area, before returning more or less back to where you were and cutting back towards the finish. On most laps you then cut left again on a long loop over fairly solid ground, with only occasional sand put down for the roads, before going back up the hill - but on the final lap you continue onwards into a 200m finishing straight.
My race was slightly poor, in that I started quite far back and didn't really get involved. I was actually in last place very near the start! I quickly moved through the field though and made up a great deal of places. (Unlike some races like the national, where everyone can enter everyone in this race has been selected as part of their 9 man county team, and so the field is much smaller but a fairly high quality - one chap who was 30th from last is a UK Ultra Representative with a sub 2:40 marathon to his name!).
Whilst I don't think I ever really committed to this race, I certainly didn't slow down much on my 4 laps and was pretty rapidly moving up the field and gradually reeling athletes in. Unfortunately looking at the results afterwards, there are a lot of names that I would really like to have beaten only about 30 seconds ahead of me! Unfortunately by moving my way up I didn't realise who was ahead of me until I saw the results afterwards - especially with everyone in a different coloured vest to usual!
Not an amazing result but certainly a very solid one for my debut senior intercounties, finishing in the top 2/3rds of the field and hopefully quite promising for the future.