On the first weekend in November I ran for English in the Senior Home International match between all the home nations. I’d run this twice as a junior (and won both times!) but never as senior. Scotland had won the team prize overall for a few years in a row, so it was time for us to return the trophy to its rightful home.
It was almost on home terrain for me, with the relays being just by Basingstoke and the individuals in the New Forest, but I hadn’t run on either area before. I was running second leg in the England 3rd team. Being really honest, I had hoped to be in a higher team based on the season’s results, but I know from past experience not to get too worried over England team selections. Alice Butt ran first leg and didn’t have the best of times, so I went out a long way behind the leaders. I was hoping to run through a load of teams but it was a bit lonely in the forest. I was quite pleased with my run. I attacked hard because the running was very easy. The controls weren’t always the easiest to find, partly as they were a little hidden on random features and partly because the map and I weren’t always in agreement. My garmin seems to agree that I might have had problems at number 9. I ran about 35 mins for my leg (the 4th fastest time of the day). The fastest were 32-33, so I was a bit off the pace, though I think more faffing than running wise. Karen Poole went out and ran a strong last leg to pull us back in a very respectable team position.
The individual day was not as good. It started pretty badly as I did a nice 180 out of the start. Ran for 1 min wondering why things weren’t matching even though my compass was lined up before I realised I was upside down. I then ran well until control number 5 where I had counted off lots of bits of vegetation thinking I had understood the liberal mapping style, but lost all nerve at the last minute. Result was a large amount of muppetry before actually finding the flag. I ran the next lot ok, no major problems and stretching the legs out on the running sections. I went for the head-up tactic on the open areas as you were bound to see someone go into the control. 11 and 12 were more tricky in the actual location of the flag not necessarily the control site. At 16 I got a bit sloppy with the compass. At 18 I forgot that I was going into woodland and so needed to take the speed down a bit and I crashed on, wasting a bit of time, but eventually finding the control. At 19 I’ve no idea what happened, but I similar 180 ish error happened. Lost a lot of time there. From there it was just about getting home safely and that I managed though I saw Hollie Orr not far behind me. I wasn’t very happy with my run and expected to be thoroughly whipped but I surprised to be “only” 5 minutes down given my outing - and 5th! But I think everyone had problems in one or other place finding some the more hidden controls.
Great news was that England took back the overall trophy. It was a nice weekend, but a shame that we weren’t using some better areas given it’s a high level competition. It was also a shame that the relays weren’t attached to another event to give more atmosphere and spectators. Though I should thank the organisers, particularly on the relay day, as it seemed very few people put a lot of work in to make the event happen.