Training was going exceptionally well in December with the aid of all the gear purchased with the grant. The big races were approaching and things could not look better. However, at the beginning of January I was set back by a cold meaning I had to miss the Yorkshire cross country championships and a whole week of training. I started to feel better the week after the Yorkshires and so decided to run in Cardiff in the UK cross challenge. The race was distinctly average. I came 2nd to Ben Dijkstra who was unbeaten for the best part of 3years, I only just held off a competitor that would usually be comfortably behind. Despite the performance this meant I would lead the cross challenge standings going into the UK cross challenge final race in Birmingham as I already had a 2nd place performance in Liverpool to back Cardiff up. Next up was the Northern championship in Pontefract. The cold was still lingering but I managed to come a comfortable 2nd. After the Northern the cold turned into a virus and forced another full week off training. This week off was followed by 2 decent weeks of training. Then came the National, I had hoped for a medal earlier on in the season but with the way training had gone my expectations were considerably lowered. The race was run in awful muddy conditions something which I am not well suited to. However, I exceeded my expectations and came 6th. My results up to this point had been good especially with all the missed training. I knew that with a couple more weeks of good training I could perform really well. The inter counties the finale of the UK cross challenge series was two weeks away. In the first I trained reasonably hard but well, in the second I backed off. My preseason target for the inter counties was 5th.
The race began at a ridiculous pace as it was downhill and I got boxed in and drifted down somewhere near 70th place. I didn’t panic and worked my way through. By the end of the first lap I was in the 5th but the leaders were long gone as they had clear running earlier on in the race. I just had to hold on, I did. This meant I won the UK cross challenge series.
So cross country season is nearly over, despite hampered training I achieved a northern silver medal and became the UK cross challenge champion, a successful season.
Thank you very much for the grant it has helped me in a number of ways and I’m sure my performances wouldn’t have been on the same level without it. It has also helped my mum with the expenses of travelling all over the country – again many many thanks for the very much appreciated support.