Parliament as difficult as ever for Garden City Runners despite better conditions than the usual swamp

PUBLISHED: 13:01 28 January 2019

Garden City Runners' team of eight that tackled the Southern Seniors Cross Country Championship at Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath.

Garden City Runners' team of eight that tackled the Southern Seniors Cross Country Championship at Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath.

Archant

Garden City Runners made their traditional trek to Hampstead Heath for the Southern Senior Cross Country Championships – and the feared Parliament Hill course and high-quality field made it as difficult as ever.

Dave Heal of Garden City Runners completed the Waterway 30 in Nottinghamshire.Dave Heal of Garden City Runners completed the Waterway 30 in Nottinghamshire.

In total eight battled round the eight-and-a-half mile course and even better than normal conditions didn’t soften the challenge.

Club captain Sean Bowen said: “The course has never been so dry and so mild as it was this year. It was a picnic compared to the swamp it usually is.

“But that said, it’s still the toughest, longest, hilliest, most uneven and strength-sapping course in the season and the standard of runners is outstanding.”

Markus Allen was the first GCR home, finishing 543rd of the 1,154 finishers, just aheadof Chris Eland in 561st.

Those two, as well as Rob Casserley, Russell Casey, Richard Somerset and Bowen meant the club battled to 67th in the team competition.

Richard Willcox and Brad Smith completed the octet.

Dave Heal ran his fourth ultra trail event at the Waterway 30 from South Wheatley in Nottinghamshire.

He said: “Some of the circuit was beside the banks of the River Trent in some very exposed remote areas, with strong head and cross winds which would have tested any runner’s resilience.

“Race organisers Hobo Events put a great circuit together with lots of friendly marshals and four well-stocked check points on the way round.

“I was glad to finish before darkness fell.”

He came home in seven hours one minute nine seconds, good enough for 121st out of the 176 who finished.

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