runmaggiecooper

The life of a runner, mother, radiopharmacist and vicar's wife – that's me!

Northern Cross Country Champs – Knowsley Safari Park

Today we ran in the Northern Cross Country Championships at Knowsley Safari Park. I felt more like a sloth than a cheetah but the course was more suited to hippos. It was one of the muddiest cross country courses I have ever run on, right up there with the Alton Towers course for the Nationals which was cut short because too many people had to be taken to hospital or Parliament Hill when it’s just an endless river of mud.

This is us before the start, we look apprehensive but optimistic

The start wasn’t too bad as it happens, slightly uphill but you could actually run on it, it was after that when I really began to question my sanity. Why oh why was I out slogging through mud when I could have been at home with the kids? Or I could have been out looking at animals in the Safari Park. Almost anything short of having my toenails pulled out had to be better than running in a cross country race through thick mud on a damp Saturday afternoon – but at least the sun did come out for a bit.

Anne coped with the mud much better than I did. She beat me – again. At least she didn’t feed me to the lions, which she might have if I’d beaten her.

I kept thinking that it was going to get better, that there would be some of the course that you could actually run on without your foot being stuck to the ground by glue-like mud or without slipping from side to side as you tried to get a foothold.

People kept drifting from one side of the course to the other in a desperate attempt to find some solid ground – there was none. And so, we plodded (not ran) through the quagmire of mud. I can’t say that I exactly raced today, I just tried to get round. I also tried to get round without falling over. People kept  disappearing into the mud to my left and to my right and I really didn’t want to join them.

Relentless mud.

There was an extended bit to the lap towards the end of each circuit and, compared with the rest of the course, this was relatively less muddy. It went up hill a bit and then down the other side and I did actually start to run properly on that bit. The only problem was that so did everybody else, so I didn’t make up much ground.

At least going round the second lap I knew what to expect and I started to feel slightly less negative about the whole experience. Because I hadn’t actually run all that hard on the first lap, I managed to overtake a few people and move up the field a little. However, I was still in a pretty rubbish position and I didn’t improve all that much. I’m not sure that I have ever run such a slow cross country race in my life.

Everything I took with me is covered in mud. I’m almost tempted just to throw away the spikes so that I don’t have to wash them or run another cross country race.

It really was pretty horrible, but it was so horrible that it was funny. I mean, what on earth were we doing running round a muddy Safari Park in the middle of winter supposedly for fun?! Surely this is not the sort of thing sane people do.

After our race we watched the men running. That was slightly more fun – seeing others suffer is at least slightly more pleasant than suffering yourself!

I can’t say that I enjoyed it but I did endure it and I survived. The cake and flapjack afterwards was also pretty good, even eaten with muddy hands. I had to clean the bath after I’d had a wash and everything that I took with me is covered in mud. I’m not entirely sure that I can be bothered to wash the spikes.

Well done to my team mates, if we hadn’t been a team then I don’t think I would even have got to the start line. Well done to Sarah (62nd), Anne (83rd), Fiona (115th) and Paula (348th). I was a rather disappointing 106th. Our team was 13th out of 44 teams – Go Wirral!!

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This entry was posted on January 28, 2017 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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