The runners set off at Smallbrook Stadium. Picture by Laura Holme.
CROSS COUNTRY A GRISLY combination of mud, sweat and blood was the souvenir for the hardy runners who took part in Ryde Harriers’ cross-country championship at Smallbrook on Sunday.
On a crisp and bright day, the 39 competitors took on a tough course which had been ravaged by the wet weather. And for many, it was a case of risk losing your trainers in the sticky bogs, or run through thick brambles.
As it was a race, many took the brambles route, while others got clothing caught on barbed wire fencing. Rather than compare times at the end, the runners compared battle wounds.
The women’s race covered a five-mile course, and they came home first, with Sarah Kavanagh leading the way in a time of 43.05, closely followed by Mary Norman, in 43.57 — a remarkable achievement given she had a chest infection. Third was Alison Smith in 45.01.
The men’s contingent tackled a seven-mile course, and winning by a distance was Les Cupis, in 52.16. Second was Rod Parker in 53.01, with Tom Blackwell third, in 53.44.
The only junior of the event, Dominic Jacobs, 15, lost the sole of one of his trainers on the way round but finished in a great time of 1.07.22.
The event was the first of three in a series, with the IW Championships — open to all runners — taking place on January 27 over the same course, and the Arthur Biggs handicap on February 10.