Herefordshire Cross Country Summer League – Race 1 Kinnersley 


Team Ludlow

A fellow runner recently described to me a less enlightened era.  A time – when men were men, erm….etc – and the ignominy of being beaten by a woman was even given a special name in some circles. Apparently, it was known as being ‘Dorised’ and whenever such a disaster occurred it would form the centre piece of more than a little finish line banter from those with a more Neanderthal tendency.

I represent the modern, deconstructed male – a new man, unafraid to get in touch with his feminine side and unashamed to admit when he’s beaten by the better woman. Which is lucky for me because I got comprehensively Dorised at Kinnersley last Wednesday.

If I’m honest, this is nothing new. I’m happy if I stagger home in front of the third lady, and many of my near rivals in the summer and winter leagues represent the opposite gender. The difference last week was that two of the seven in front of me were Ludlow newbies in their first race for the club – congratulations Amy Fulford and Kate Cutting! We are really starting to build some strength in depth now and no fewer than 25 runners (twelve men and thirteen women) turned out to compete in this first event of the 2015 summer series.There was a Ludlow ‘F’ team for goodness sake! This is truly heartwarming to those of us who have rocked up over the years, hoping we’ll have enough people just to score some points..

David Jamieson

A Welcome Return for David Jamieson

Kinnersley is probably the fastest course on the summer and winter calendars. It doesn’t really suit me, as I find I am able to gain places clawing my way up brutal hills, whereas my legs tend to take on a personality of their own on the flat – entirely removed from the rest of me. Not that the lap around Bulmers’ orchards, opposite Kinnersley Castle is a la Crepe Suzette you understand. But it includes steady grassy climbs rather than the type of thing you need an oxygen mask and crampons to tackle so there’s precious little opportunity for me to reel in the whippets. People like Matt Yapp (10th), Craig Collier (16th), Rhys Jones (38th) and Tom Powell (45th) seem to love it though, and all were busy either shaving minutes rather than seconds off their PBs or setting benchmarks I could never hope to equal.


Viv Dempsey

I’ve found this event is usually smiled upon by the weather, and this year was no exception. We set off, bathed in pleasantly warm sunshine, and headed for the first complex of turns after the usual downhill start. Last year, some helpful soul had taken a plough to the exact route of the course about a day before the race, and as we plunged into loose earth the field descended into chaos – finely tuned athletic style to drunken break dancing within one stride. There was no such inconvenience this year, although the ground was very dry, and the grass at this venue hides a multitude of sins – there to test your ankle and knee joints to the limit.

Dan & Amy

Dan Pavitt & Amy Fulford

I like to give everyone a mention in these reports, but that is becoming increasingly impractical as our membership expands like a puppy in it’s first year of life. Everyone put in fine performances, but I’ll have to single just a few people out I’m afraid. Matt occupied what is becoming his customary position as first Ludlow man home, and Craig – in terrific form of late, having recorded a sub 1.30 half marathon and a sub 40.00 10k already this year – was hot on his heels. Rhys, another new member, came in a heart beat under 39 minutes, and from the results sheet, Amy Fulford (our first lady home and third lady overall) might have been giving Paul Elliott a piggy back for all I know. Many fine performances followed further down the field, but I think in particular it’s worth mentioning David Jamieson, who doesn’t often take part in these events (preferring longer and hillier courses) and is slowly getting back to form after the horrible cycling accident he had last September. Not a man to let something as trivial as a lorry up the backside get in his way!


Rhys Jones is all smiles on his XC debut!

Two other people who deserve a mention weren’t even at the race.. Through their hard work, encouragement, and good advice, Colin Lancaster and AnneThorpe have grown the club beyond recognition over the past year and almost all of the new faces there last week were graduates of their Thursday evening training sessions.

So, after the first race, Ludlow Runners’ A team is in fifth place out of 39 and a veritable sea of blue and white crossed the line behind them. Personally I felt quite pleased with my race, having managed to reel in two of the Gilbert clan (any combination of them turn up for our races – in this case Eilish and Shannon). Eilish acknowledged that she’d got ‘a bit excited’ at the start and had run out of steam on the second lap. I got excited when I saw my time, and noted that it was two minutes quicker than last year. But then I looked at the winner’s time, and his was too. Must have been something to do with all that ploughing. So I’m doing a valiant job of standing still…but at least not going backwards.

Go Ludlow!


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