Sat 22 Feb 2020, Nottingham
In the week leading up to the hugely anticipated National Cross Country championships at Wollaton Park, in Nottingham, the organisers were issuing repeated warnings about the conditions for car parking and for how muddy and wet the ground was for competition. They were proved right; the courses were amongst the most testing seen in years and as bad underfoot as the 2011 national event Alton Towers, although there was no sleet or snow at Nottingham! There were many standing pools of water, some of which were very deep. In the wooded sections, there were long lying logs across the width of the course and the ground around them rapidly deteriorated into cloying mud. Several runners lost shoes, including Adam Hickey of Southend AC who amazingly finished 4th.
The senior mens race was the biggest field. Almost 1,800 runners and a charge from the gun, directly across a huge flooded area from the line, with the watching crowd roaring in appreciation of the spectacle. The leading Harrier over the gruelling 12k course was Simon Collins in a fine 273rd in 51.18. Wes Wilkinson dug in to finish 457th in 54.10 and Chris Wales finished in 63.07. The winner, Calum Johnson of Gateshead Harriers also won at the Northern championships and was the first Gateshead club winner since Brendan Foster in 1977. The ladies ran 8k and there were some tired, but happy faces at the end! Emma Essex-Crosby was 414th in 47.06, and Vicki Sherrington finished in 57.09. The team was completed by Julie Tyrer, Sue Wickham and Adela Nuttall. The only junior who ran, was Ben Tyrer in the under 13 boys race and he posted a time of 22.27 for the 3k race.