The 2017 EAMA Cross Country Inter Area Challenge was hosted by South West Veterans AC at Kings Park Bournemouth on Saturday 25th November.
The race was run over a testing and undulating 4.5 mile course under blue skies and bright sunshine. It was well well-marshalled with no risk of getting lost because the ground-staff had marked the course with a continuous white line.
The 56 runners had to battle with a chilly northerly wind on each of the three 1.5 mile laps around the playing fields and nearby woodland surrounding Kings Park Sports arena.
The scoring was done by age graded performances rather than absolute times, in order to allow teams of 10 men and 10 women to score, no matter what age they were. The event was open to all club members and everyone had the opportunity to score for their club – teams did not have to be selected in advance. Team points were awarded according to the positions of the scoring runners.
The first man over the finishing line was Aaron Brown (V35) of VAC in an impressive time of 25.26, the first woman across the finishing line was Maria Kowal (W35) of SCVAC in an equally impressive time of 28.09.
After age grading, the leading man was Peter Giles (M70) of VAC with an age graded percentage of 90.5% and the leading woman was Penny Forse (W65) of SCVAC with an age graded percentage of 93.5% – world class!
SWVAC won the EAMA Inter Area team trophy beating teams from VAC, SCVAC, MMAC and NMAC. The members of the winning team were awarded a framed certificate of their performance.
This was only the 2nd year of this competition but everyone who was there enjoyed it and appreciated the new method of scoring. Next year the venue is likely to be in the North of England and with good transport connections to the whole of the country, then the numbers can be expected to increase, particularly as EAMA are considering whether to hold it at the end of September in future in order to make it part of the selection process for the English team for the British & Irish Cross Country International.
Des White/Peter Kennedy