Druridge Bay XC
I take back what I said about a cross-country event only ever occurring during bad weather. This weekend's fixture at the Druridge Bay Country Park took place under a bluebird sky and dry fields. The sun shimmered amid the kayakers and sailors on the lake. A light breeze tugged at the changing leaves. Five hundred sweaty men plodded up a hill, and then back down the other side.
Before the second lap was through, I could tell that I'd set off too quickly. I hadn't eaten enough—and certainly hadn't eaten the right stuff—beforehand, and only realised that I'd packed too little water, too late. At the end of the second lap, trudging through the soft—yet dry!—track, I was already flagging irreparably.
The last lap was a litany of overtakes. Young, old; slender, strapping; pale, tanned; bushy-headed, prematurely-balding: men of all stripes and backgrounds came flying past me. Supporters on the sideline, chanting the names of the men chasing me down, cheered and whooped as their friends, family, parents, and children overtook me. The last was the worst, overhauled on the final straight by a bloke with the self-determination of a freight train. It was all I could do at the finish line not to crumple.
Never bet against Striders for support, though: on the finish line, well-dones and fist bumps all round.
I gotta get better at the 10k.