Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC

National XC Relays – Mansfield 04/11/2023

We originally had two teams entered for this event but due to injuries, illness and withdrawals etc we were down to four athletes and one team.

This team assembled at Berry Hill Park Mansfield from various parts of the country – Dan Kennedy from the Forest of Dean, Jake Leng and Justin Strover from down the road at Sheffield Uni and me on the 5:15am coach driven up by the Pauls, Brash and Shaw with all the junior athletes, some parents, coaches and team managers. (Thanks so much to those guys who do so much for our junior athletes across the age groups and are so sacrificial with their time).

The senior mens race was the last one of the day, with legs a little short of the advertised 5k. An already very muddy and boggy course (including a section in the woods where you had no choice but to run through water), was even more cut up due to earlier races and the rain which had been pretty incessant throughout the day, though mercifully for us, it eased off somewhat by the time it came for us to race.

Dan Kennedy led us off (his first time on the first leg at Mansfield) with 18:24, a respectable time given the busy start and heavy traffic that invariably accompanies the start of a relay, after which we were in 113th place. Jake Leng took over from Dan and ran our second fastest leg of the day in 17:59, bringing us up to 91st place. Justin Strover was up next and ran 18:10, bringing us up to 77th, and doing well to handover to me just before the mass start went off for the final leg, which I was very thankful to him for! I had the pleasure of running the anchor leg in 17:39 bringing the team home in 60th place overall, a decent team effort given there were 177 teams competing, so a third of the way up the field.

Despite the very muddy conditions, the course was brilliant fun to run on, the support was great and it was a good run from our team, including Jake and Justin making their National XC Relays senior debut at Mansfield.

Thanks to all athletes for making the journey to Mansfield and look forward to entering at least two strong teams next year for what is a really great National event!
-Micah Evans

Blackheath & Bromley News Desk

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