Nene Valley Harriers pair Ruth Jones and James McCrae proved they’re no ‘stick in the muds’ with quality runs in the Midlands Cross-Country Championship held in Nottingham on Saturday.
The Wollaton Park course was a throwback to the days when it was obligatory for all cross-country races to take in every hill, swamp and quagmire in the neighbourhood.
Jones works on a farm, and it clearly stood her in good stead as she romped her way through the mud to a 51st place finish in a field containing the cream of the Midlands cross-country crop.
“It was a relentlessly hilly, boggy race,” said Jones. “A very different course to that of the North Midlands League held at the same venue, and all the tougher for it.
“We climbed the main hill three times on each of the three laps, as well as wading through a knee-deep muddy bog and hurdling over log obstacles on every lap! The nationals at Parliament Hill should be easy in comparison.”
McCrae had a fine run, finishing 31st in the senior men’s race.
The Birmingham University student who is coached by internationally renowned distance running guru Bud Baldaro. said “I lost so much time in the bog, my spikes were so close to coming off! I’m pretty happy with my performance though. Wollaton Park is normally muddy but I don’t think I’ve ever had anything as boggy as that before.”
Former Nene Valley youngster Alex Hampson, now running for Cambridge and Coleridge AC, enhanced his reputation with a sixth place finish in the Under 20 men’s race.