Race report – Minnis Bay Cross Country
Despite the January cold, wet and windy weather, we had a record number of 480 runners join us at Minnis Bay for the 4th race of the 2023-2024 Kent Fitness League (KFL) cross country competition. A brilliant turn-out considering the very unappealing running conditions. The previous day, a dedicated group of helpers walked the course to lay out signs and check its safety. Four hours later, we had agreed and implemented a course adjustment due to high water levels in the dykes, as the deepest would have required a swim/snorkel for anyone less than 6 foot tall. However we retained three dyke crossings to maintain the course’s unique water features and provide entertainment for marshals and supporters.
After further rainfall and a strong wind, the conditions on race day were tricky, particularly the first long track, parallel to the sea, heading west to Reculver, where the ground was characterised by deep mud, large puddles and slippery paths. With the wind behind us, the most intrepid of runners made good time, while many of us struggled to keep our shoes on and stay upright.
The easterly track “the long road” gave a little reprieve from the slippery conditions but involved a run into the strong head wind, while contemplating the field dykes ahead. Our lovely marshals gave everyone much encouragement along the way and particularly enjoyed encouraging runners into the muddy water. The water level varied from knee to waist height and many runners welcomed a helping hand from Ade Neaves, who selflessly stood in waders throughout the race. Ade even kept his smile in place after being pulled into the water and soaked by a runner he had just rescued (see our TRAC Facebook post for the video 😊).
After the dykes, we had another long stretch battling against the wind to return to the sea front and finish line.
Our team of 16 runners put in a great performance with the ladies team coming in 3rd place and the men’s coming in 8th, leaving us in 10th team position overall after the 4 races.
The men’s team were led home by Jude Wood (39th) in 41.21, closely followed by Kevin McQuaid (48th) in 41.52, making his debut KFL race with the club, and birthday boy Chris Brenchley (60th – that’s race position, not birthday) in 42.44.
The ladies were led home by Brittany Crombie (116th) in 47.29, Jo Kemp (132nd) in 48.09 and Claire Greenaway (156th) in 49.25. We warmly welcomed another new member and debutant to this season’s racing, Sam Hastie who had a great run finishing in 54.34.
Our full team results are below – well done all.
Ov Pos Runner Time
39 Jude Wood 41:21
48 Kevin McQuaid 41:52
60 Christopher Brenchley 42:44
63 Jamie Jordan 43:21
66 Phil Stevens 43:24
92 Chris Pascoe 45:14
107 Andy Jones 46:42
116 Brittany Crombie 47:29
132 Joanne Kemp 48:09
156 Claire Greenaway 49:25
167 Stephen Forshaw 49:54
226 Julie Williams 52:42
231 Joanne Holl 53:13
265 Samantha Hastie 54:34
299 Nicola Boyes 56:43
386 Tim Kerr 1:03:30
We ended the race with a hot drink and bacon/sausage or egg bap at the Waves café, which was warm, welcoming and tolerant of very muddy runners and our freezing marshals. Some great photos on Facebook.
A huge thanks to everyone who helped prepare for and support this event – it was very much a team effort. I’d particularly like to thank Andy Stevens who was a fantastically calm Race Director on the day, briefing teams, organising the start and finish so that I could run.
Our marshals and tail runner (Ade Smith) were superb giving everyone lively support despite standing in the cold and wind. Our spot prizes for marshals for this event went to Maryanne Aitken who organised our volunteers and managed many last minute changes and Ade Neaves who went beyond the call of duty, not only in all the preparation and clearing up, but keeping good humoured after his unexpected dip in the dyke!
Thank you all on behalf of the committee.
Next round is another local event at Betteshanger, Deal 14th January. Fingers crossed for drier weather.
Julie Williams, Club Secretary and debut Race Director.
We’ve uploaded an album of photos taken by Graham Ó Síodhacháin on our Facebook page. Do take a look!
On behalf of the club, we would like to extend a big thanks to Julie for taking over the Race Director role for this race. Everything went like clockwork and many runners were saying really positive things about the race afterwards.