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
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