At Kent cross country events Dave Kitcher is usually to be found huddled over his computer in some little hut or tent providing us all with a first class results service. But for once he allowed himself a run out and in a strong M60 field produced a fine performance for 5th place. The three to score team was completed by Alan Black (9th) and Mick Ellsmore (22nd and 5th over 65). The winning team from Blackheath and Bromley included Alan Camp, who won the race by more than a minute, and Peter Hamilton, both of whom will be familiar to Tuesday night track regulars.
The "youngsters" did less well, we had an M50 team (just) but had to be content with 18th place out of 18. And in the M40 race we also had just three runners and with scoring in that category being for teams of four we failed to register.
As is often the case the talk post race focused on might-have-beens, and with Christian Poulton, Jerry Carnell and Ian Marshall all missing through injury we were arguably without our best runners in each of the M50, M60 and M70 categories. But the truth is that as you get older injuries become more common, and take longer to heal, and all of the other clubs probably had their own similar sob stories.
There were three separate races during the day, the over 60 and over 70 men ran in a combined 5k race with all of the women's age categories, this was preceded by the over 50s men's race and followed by the over 40s (both 9k). This format gives plenty of opportunity to spectate as well as to run. Whereas there can be something inspirational about watching an athlete in his or her prime gliding effortlessly over a cross country course there is something equally inspirational, and indeed life-affirming, about watching those that are getting on in years winning their own private battles to coax aging bodies over the terrain. Roger's stride pattern may have lost some of its former elegance, but it is still effective!