Kent Fitness League (KFL) Race 2 @ Swanley Park

Front legs not too bad
Yesterday I took part in the second Kent Fitness League cross country (XC) race at Swanley Park. There are three things to say before I describe the race in a bit more detail.

The first is that this was my first XC race since school, where to be honest I hated XC, the second was that on Saturday night it absolutely heaved it down, which as a result meant that the course was very muddy, but apparently not as muddy as some of the cross country courses! The third and final point is that in the race briefing the organisers indicated that there was a large hummock that runners would need to climb over, but there would be some help from the marshals.

Before the start there was a very poignant moment as we were treated to a flyby from four spitfires, followed by a 2 minute silence to mark Remembrance Sunday.

Shortly after this 500 runners set off from the mass start line, this time I remember to start my Garmin, which I hadn't on my previous race running for Gravesend Road Runners. This was a three lap course and went a little bit like this.

Lap 1 - A slow start as everyone jostles for position and gets used to the soggy conditions. Some points of the course were very congested, no more so than the first hummock, where there were no marshals to help. After the hummock the course became a single track which led down into a woods, where there was definitely no overtaking, this was followed by a short hill (where I spotted a GRRAC supporter) into some more woods and then downhill into a very muddy part of the course next to the lake. Having turned around at the lake I spotted a couple more Road Runners and gave them some encouragement before a short sprint up a steep incline a right turn and the first complete lap.

Lap 2 - More of the same, but a bit quicker as the field spread out and runners began to find their race pace. I felt good during this lap and definitely gained some ground on other runners, helped by some more encouragement.

Back legs completely covered
Lap 3 - The final lap and feeling it a bit now, but trying to keep going and make up some more places (not really happening though) the final hill and no sprinting up it this time, but a sprint finish to ensure no one overtook me and DONE!

Final statistics for the race were 5.2 miles in 41:38 (8 minute miles) and a race position of 223rd out of 495 runners. Pretty happy with that, although I would have liked to have got closer to 40 minutes, but all things considered (especially the wet conditions) I'll take that and hope to improve at Race 3 which is Oxleas Wood in Eltham.

I always loved getting really muddy as the photos show, so if you're runner who enjoys getting muddy and you live in Kent then you should you get yourself affiliated with a club and get to the next XC race :-)

I hope you like the photos of my legs, you really don't want to see what my trainers look like!