Bovey Tracey Cross Country – 12 February 2012

Seven mud plodders from the Musketeers answered the call of their club and took part in the team cross country at Bovey Tracey

The race was part of the Westward League cross country series with the others in Devon and Cornwall.

As one of the less loyal cross country runners Guy managed a less than committed second race (following his first at Newquay), others more faithful to the cause were Neil, Dave, Nicole, Mark, Sarah Owen and Sarah Abrams.

The race was much more enjoyable than Newquay which was over school playing fields and adjacent rough grassy countryside.

Bovey was truly tough countryside with a very steep hill close to the start which got increasingly slippery as the runners churned it up as they completed three laps, equivalent to about six miles for the men and two for the women.

The hill proved a test for everyone, even those with special cross country spikes fitted and there was lots of back wheel spins as grip failed on the muddy leafy climb and sparks from spikes clashing on stones.

The wooded hill gave way to a gentle undulating path, but this was only to lull runners into a false sense of security because it then dived steeply down past tree stumps and brambles and roots all waiting to trap runners hurtling down out of control. In vain Guy grabbed a thin branch to slow his descent - the tree repaid this by whipping back and hitting him on the side of the head. This only served to knock sense into him. But there was little choice but to plunge onwards regardless.

The flat section on the edge of the wood followed, but needed extra concentration because it was coated in a layer of wet mud and caused runners to meander off their course. In some cases I suspect this meandering was runners deliberately obstructing opponents - but that is just being sceptical.

In the case of Sarah O she took things a step further a dived into the mud. The drama queen then visited the St John medics who strapped up her right ankle and sadly did not appear on the results. There must be less dramatic ways of going home early.

Nicole led Sarah A home and they came 53rd and 54th respectively. Sarah O was leading Nicole at the time of her prima donna plunge. The Musketeer men finishers were Guy in 60th in 44 min, Neil in a great 86th in 49 min, Dave closely behind in 89th in a fantastic 50 min and Mark in 91st in 51 minutes. A great team effort.

Extra thanks to Nicole and Sarah A and Sarah O for getting very cold after their race supporting the men. It was hugely appreciated.

By Guy