Coming into 2017 I was pretty excited. For the first time in my Senior running ‘career’ I was training consistently and putting in a decent number of miles most weeks. I could feel my body was getting stronger and able to withstand more stress than previously. This gave me a cause of optimism of what 2017 could hold in store.
In January I ran the South of England Cross Country Championships, Surrey League Cross Country as well as the Chichester 10km in a pb of 34:11. In February I competed at the National Cross Country Championships. For any runner no matter what event you run, however old you are this is the one race you have to ensure you do at some point in your life. 2,000 odd competitive club-runners all dashing off at the start line to tear round a very challenging and muddy course really is a site to see and the competitive side of the race is ferocious. In 2017 the event was held in Woolaton Park, Nottingham. I knew the course would play to my strengths as the hills were minimal. Being more of a track runner I knew that I could take advantage of the flats more so than on other courses (say Parli Hill in London). I took out the race pretty hard from the beginning and managed to maintain a decent pace picking off a couple of runners I know along the way. Finishing in 304th position against most of the UK’s best I was pretty chuffed.
March was another busy racing month. I headed out to Poland to compete in the Warsaw 10km Grand Prix. The event is a series of 10km races across the calendar year where all the running clubs in the city compete for the overall league titles on offer. It’s Warsaw’s answer to the Surrey Cross Country League. Over the last couple of years as I was getting fitter I’d been keen to travel to Warsaw to compete at the event. In 2012 as a resident of Warsaw I managed my best ever result in the competition of 10th but was a good 4+ minutes off the podium. Hoping to measure myself against Warsaw’s best I was also very keen to get my hands on one of the shiny trophies that get presented at the end of each race. To my delight I finished 2nd against some sterling opposition. The next day I travelled to Krakow to take part in another 10km race with my friend Eduardo. This race formed part of the Tour de Malopolska. The following week I ran the Reading Half Marathon and knocked nearly 4 minutes off my personal best with 76:11. The hard work of the winter was paying off.
The final race of March was the South of England 12-Stage Road Relay Championships at Gravesend where I formed part of the Herne Hill Harriers team that finished in 8th place which wasn’t too bad a result at all.