Tuesday 9 January 2018

Kent Fitness League 2017/18: Fowlmead

The fourth race of the 2017/18 Kent Fitness League (my venue info page) was held at Betteshanger Park. The park was formerly called Fowlmead and, for now at least, the cross country race has retained this name. This venue is the furthest drive of the XC season for me, and it took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to travel there from Dartford.

In fact I almost didn't make it to the race at all - The day before I had an unexplained sharp pain on the inside of my left shin and thought I would have to sit this one out. Fortunately it wasn't too bad on the day and I made the last minute decision to go ahead.

The race is run on a two-and-a-bit lap clockwise course around the country park. Underfoot is mostly hard surfaces, but can be quite uneven at times. I can't imagine there would ever be any need to wear spikes on this course, but trail shoes are quite handy.

dartford harriers [photos: eden / dani]

Every time I have run this race the course has been slightly different. In previous years I remember running a short off-road section that begins with quite a steep, uneven downhill. This section was missing from the course - I'm not entirely sure why, but I would imagine that it was for safety reasons.

The big story from this year's race was the wind. The forecast predicted 45mph winds and I can confirm that it was spot on. It was blowing from the East which meant that there was a headwind along the straight at the end of each lap and it was pretty brutal.

I found that I felt ok on the first lap, but that headwind at the end of lap 1 knocked the steam out of me and I really struggled on lap 2 resulting in a positive split of almost a minute. But that was fine because cross-country can quite often work out like that. On lap two I would have preferred to have been chasing and overtaking, but instead I was the one being overtaken.

dartford harriers [photos: funkdooby]

In the end the wind took its toll and gave me an earache as I reached the final kilometre. Then it was a case of pushing into the 45mph gusts all the way to the finish line. Totally shattered, I wandered over to the cafe to get out of the wind. Yes, I was cold, but it was the earache that most bothered me. Once out of the wind it eased off and I felt fine.

Upon crossing the finish line I had been handed finishing position token 68, which was my highest finishing position of the season so far. The full results were processed and available online a few days later.

Official Results: KFL Fowlmead January 2018

My race stats:
Overall position: 68 / 341
Gender position: 65 / 230
Official time: 34:57
Rating: 72.17

Data etc:
My GPS course data: KFL Fowlmead January 2018
My Relive course fly-by video: KFL Fowlmead January 2018

Additional link: My Kent Fitness League venue information page

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