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Teens compete in Southwest Cross Country Championships

Two of our Teens' group competed in the SW Cross-Country (XC) Championships at Blaise Castle, Bristol, following performing well in the more local XC schools events: Ben Conway and Joe Stickney. You may remember that both of the boys placed well at the Gloucester AAA XC championships in early January, but this event was through their schools. NB Pictures are from the Glos XC Championships in January.

Rather than hear their story secondhand, I asked them to write their own stories. Here they are:

Ben's story :

"I was selected to represent Gloucestershire in the SW regional cross-country championships for under 12s. This was going to be my biggest race yet and in preparation for it I followed a weekly training plan. This included 2 different sets of stretches and exercises, a 5km run and a large variety of tempo runs including Wednesday training. Overall, I think that this helped me get stronger and faster. I ran in a few Gloucestershire league races and was doing quite well, so my confidence grew. All this time the big race was drawing ever closer.

Then it was the day. From the minute I woke up I could feel the nerves in me. I had a large breakfast, always helpful, and got in the car for the drive to Bristol. There was an extremely large crowd there as it was all ages boys and girls from across the Southwest and we watched some fast older runners racing which was inspiring. My course was only 2.4km around a field for two laps and not very hilly, not to my benefit. Then the race began. There were over 60 participants all jostling for positions. There was a fair amount of pushing and elbowing each other as we were extremely tightly packed and running flat out on the flat course. Over the course of the race, I overtook quite a lot of people, was overtaken by quite a lot of people and maintained a strong pace all-round. This helped me to finish 28th in the whole of the SW. I was exhausted but happy. My next big run will be the national championships in Loughborough in March."

Joe's Story :

"Having been pleasantly surprised to qualify at Newent back in December, I was motivated to focus on my training in the build up to the Southwest Championships. Dorian kindly helped by writing training plans for Ben and me and we chatted about how it was going in our weekly Wednesday sessions. The structured training plan improved my fitness and I was rewarded by a 5k pb (19:40). I really enjoyed that my dad could join me in my training runs. The training block went really well until I was unwell and off school the 3 days just before the race. On the day the conditions were good and we arrived in plenty of time to walk the course ,which I found very useful. Although still very washed out and anxious on the day it was a valuable experience for me in such a big event. I really enjoy running, my next big event is in Loughborough, where I hope my recent experience and training will make a difference."

More news on our younger members XC events to come - watch this space.

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