27th January 2081 SEAA C.C. Championships. Stanmer Park. Brighton.
Author: Bill Laws
Rain, rain and more rain. In Paris the Seine was bursting its banks and in West Sussex the South Downs were resisting nature’s efforts to wash them into the English Channel. Not conditions that the Lion of Uganda relishes. In the Belgrave tent, as the Belles returned bedraggled from their efforts, gloom descended as a tempest, predicted to arrive at 2.45pm, hit precisely as the men’s race started. Only the hardiest of supporters ventured on to the course. Fortunately, Charlie had located the Belgrave tent close to the action about 800m from the start. Occupants had an excellent view as events unfolded.
And, as the leaders swept past, eyes searched for Belgrave vests. First 10, then 30 and then 40 runners slipped by but no Paskar. Then he appeared, struggling to cope with the conditions closely followed by Nick Buckle, and Alex Miller who was once again relishing this toughest of courses. Closely following was Nick Bundle, then Ross Finlay showing what a great addition he has been to the squad this year. Patrick McDougall closed in the scoring six. Once again we tempted lady luck with no backup runner. After a wait of 15 minutes, the runners entered lap 2 of 3 and it became apparent that wholesale capitulation was taking place. Runners were dropping out in unprecedented numbers and it would be a miracle if our valiant six could battle through to the end. But battle they did and finish they did. A moment of delirium, as at the start of the third lap Nick Buckle had moved to within 2 places of Paskar Owor who had been steadily going backwards. Entering the muddiest part of the course Nick surged past Paskar opening up a 60m gap. Surely Paskar would succumb this time. But no, as the finishing line approached Paskar sprinted on the firmer grass and Nick was denied a notable scalp. But boy, did he try. Another day!
This must go down as one of the gutsiest performances from the smallest of Belgrave teams. Sparta would have been proud of them. Well done team!
Individual. 1. John Gilbert (Kent AC) 51.07, 2. Adam Hickey (Southend) 51.11, 3.Max Nicholls (Tonbridge) 51.40.
Belgrave. 54. Paskar Owor 55.53, 56. Nick Buckle 55.59, 99. Alex Miller 57.42, 105.Nick Bundle 58.00, 179. Ross Fiyanlay 1.01.44, 274 Patrick McDougall 1.03.55. 740 Finished
Teams. 1. Bedford and County 185, Highgate H 209 3. Serpentine 210, 4, Kent AC 325,… 9, Belgrave H 767. 55 complete teams finished
Course stats. (Courtesy of Patrick’s Garmin). Distance 14.70 km, Elevation gained 420m