A story I will be adding to my travel book when finished?
On this, in particular, day though I was asked to join up with the clubs junior cross country team at Berry Hill Park in Mansfield. The race was the Nottinghamshire AAA Cross Country Championships and with a bit of luck it was also my first ever cross country race, yes I had done these types of racing before at school, but nothing like this race. The course was set in and around the park of the Berry Hill Athletics Track to which it consisted of some hills and some very nice woodland, I do remember that on that morning it was very cold at the start of the 6000 meter race, the field seemed small with just 20 runners and as a young lad I thought at the time that I was in for a chance of a win!
So I ignored all the advice that was given me by the more seasoned runners and knowledgeable coaches which were just to take my time and finish the race, you see I went off with the leaders from the start, which I found easy enough, that was until I came upon the first hill on the course? This is when all the runners around me seemed to be in fast forward where I was stuck in slow motion with the odd pause button being pressed, this carried on throughout the race. After halfway around the now muddy course, I told the team managers that I just wanted to pull out of the race, but with some persuasion and a little encouragement, I plodded on!
There I was, dead last with just 200 meters to go to the end and faced with an uphill finish, with my lungs some 400 meters behind me (that’s what it felt like). I could see the finish line and hear the crowd urging me on and cheering loudly, this then led to a rush of blood and one of my famous sprint finishes, I still finished dead last though (after all that effort) but I later found out that from the 20 starters only 16 runners finished, so in truth I finished 16th out of 20 which made me feel a little better but still cold.
I suppose the icing on the cake would be when I was told that because I had actually finished the race, our junior team made up of 3 Newark Athletic Clubs finest junior runners and me, had finished the team event joint first in the Championship, but because of me bringing up the rear the team had to settle for the silver medal, which was my very first athletics medal.
So you can probably take the moral of this story has been, that when you are faced with uncertain doom and gloom from hardships that would sink a ship, you need to pluck up the courage to carry on regardless how you feel at the time, you just never know what lays up ahead of you in the race for life.