Gail Duckworth (EMAC) has taken the trouble to provide us with an insight to the Womens’ (and older chaps) Cross Country :
“To gain selection to represent England is truly an honour. I was especially happy this year to receive my selection letter as I wasn’t confident that I had posted enough good races. Having run well in the Counties in January I thought 2017 might be a good year however injuries and timing of races meant things didn’t quite go to plan.
I travelled to Derry on the Friday before the race taking a lot of waterproof kit, which as it turned out was not needed. On race day the weather was good, dry and not too cold. However, walking the course before you could see it was very boggy in places from the previous week’s rainfall.
As usual at this event they have laps to make the race spectator friendly and it is great having support from people you don’t know but cheering you on as an English runner. All women run 6K with the over 65 men which this year included Nick Rose however I don’t think the start affected him like it did me! Despite standing on the line in a positive mood GO seemed to happen too quickly and suddenly I found myself about 8th W60. Although the start was quite firm you hit the mud on the bend for the first time soon after. Somehow I had to get my footing and run faster which luckily I did and I started to work my way through the field. This is when you appreciate numbers on backs, the team medal is always tight between us and the Irish, even your team mates give you encouragement as you go pass them, knowing that every point matters.
On the final lap I could see the last two W60’s in front, both Irish, by now it is hard to pick any pace up and I started to settle for 3rd individual position. However turning the last corner you then see the finish and have about 150 metres to go, like most I started to ‘sprint’ (I do use this term loosely) for home hoping I would catch 2nd place and passing her I suddenly realise I am actually catching 1st place and couldn’t believe it as we crossed the line together.
Following the after race Team Managers meeting, the gold was awarded to the Irish runner although our chip timing showed exactly the same time.
Despite this I am still proud to have another silver individual medal and lead the English W60’s to team gold.
And Nick Rose, no problems for him easily 1st M65 and team gold!
England 13 points
Ireland 14 points
Scotland 27 points