Hoddesdon Tri held their inaugural cross country run event at Haileybury College on Sunday morning. The weather was fine and sunny with a bit of wind that would provide some resistance as the kids headed back to the finish. Although the weather was dry on the day there had been a fair amount of rain in the week before leaving the ground soft and wet.
For Florence Crowley this was her first cross country outside of school so she was excited and a little nervous – not sure how big or formal the event would be, and also unsure if she would be the only competitor from Tri-Force Juniors. We were pleased though to find a very friendly and organised welcome, meaning Florence quickly got her bearings and settled in for the race.
After being helpfully routed to a parking space we met another Tri-Force Junior, Robbie Laird who also had little experience of cross country running, arriving at the same time. Feeling a bit more confident we ventured over to the registration desk – sheltered from the chilly wind inside a sports hall. After registration we put on our wellies and headed out again to walk round the course to find out how difficult the conditions would be.
The course was well marked at the start clearly routing the kids from the start into the woods where they’d follow a clear path. This was where the fun was going to be. The path was very muddy, and our wellies were slipping easily as we walked along. It wasn’t going to be easy to run round the edge of the softest bits – probably being quicker just to head straight through it and accept wet feet! Once out of the woods the mud finished, and the rest of the course was on grass and a gravel track. A bit wet and soggy in a few places, although here it was easy to find ways round the worst bits.
The races started on time, with about 20 competitors in each race. Florence, Robbie and a friend of his were in the second race (Tristar 1’s and 2’s) running over a distance of 1500m – two laps of the marked course. In the mad rush following the starter’s whistle
Florence started strongly and disappeared into the woods near the front of the pack with Robbie on her shoulder and running well.
After the first lap, Florence was in a good 3rd place overall, with two boys a bit ahead, and two more boys following closely behind. Florence’s orange Tri-Force T-shirt really helped to pick her out in the distance – standing out against a mass of blue Hoddesdon Tri shirts.
As she appeared again 2/3rds of the way round the second lap there was a race on for 3rd place overall with the two boys that had been behind closing fast and coming past as they approached along the gravel track before the last corner . As she crossed the line Florence finished in 4th overall, and was the first girl so won the Tristar 1 girls category. Hurray!
Robbie also finished well coming 5th in his boy’s category.
Whilst recovering from the race they briefly met Christy Durbin a third Tri-Force Junior competitor who was one of the youngest runners competing in the next race.
Christy, a much more experienced cross country runner, put on her spikes and set off on the 3km Tristar 3 & Youth + 1 year course. She tracked another experienced runner from Walden Tri and looked strong until she twisted her ankle in a rabbit hole which meant she couldn’t put in her usual final sprint. Christy came in 2nd T3 just a few seconds behind the Walden runner but both girls ran really well as they both beat all the T3 boys, and were only beaten by 2 Youth boys, meaning Christy was 4th overall.
Once the races were finished we all moved back into the sports hall to recover with a cup of tea and homemade cakes and to watch some judo before a short ceremony to give the awards to the winners. Florence’s dad felt he deserved a huge piece of millionaire shortbread having charged around the course trying to take pictures for the website and shout support for Florence and the other Tri-Force Juniors!!!!!!
Overall it was a great event, well organised and a really enjoyable day and the kids hope to take part again next year. Florence’s achievements were mentioned in the Hertfordshire Mercury newspaper.
Hoddesdon have advised that will be hosting their first Junior Triathlon at Haileybury on Saturday 30th July and are keen to do a mini series of cross country runs with Walden Tri and Tri-Force Juniors next winter. The Triathlon on 30th July is likely to be a great event for younger children and novice triathletes as the grass field they plan to use is all in clear sight and flat. Given how close Haileybury is just outside Hertford we would encourage all members to support this event if you are free.