The National – What’s Brown and Sticky? Wollaton’s National XC Course

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The National. The single best foot race this country has to offer. Forget London Marathon, your Chair would take The National every day of the week. This year was extra superb with knee high mud, puddles the size of a 5-a-side pitch, beautiful Wollaton hall and yes, the return of the K&D Fun Bus (also including comedy stereotypical chain-smoking Eastern European driver).

Up first were K&D women.

It’s great to see more women at K&D tackling The National. Our 3 intrepid runners would have been joined by several more but for injuries. We’re pleased to see more runners taking on the challenge. Despite being dauntingly The National XC Champs – it’s the most open to all race going.

Our women took on the likes of Anna Moller, the first Danish runner to win the English Champs by lieu of residency. She’s also really bloomin’ fast. European U23 Champ, 2016 Olympian, 7th at the WORLD Cross Country Champs 2019 (not a typo!).

Holding her own was find of the winter – Izzy Davis – who rounded out her first Cross season with a superb 168th. Despite wiping out in the mud. It isn’t the national without a faller…With Rocket Rachel 143rd last yr, our ladies will be eyeing the 2021 champs at Parliament Hill with glee. Joining Izzy was Kerrie Ann Thompson who continued to show great progress over the last 12 months and finished 451st in the nation. Nicky Evans rounded out a great cross season as she preps for Manchester marathon in 729th. She was also the only woman on the K&D Fun bus and deserves all your support as she recuperates from that experience.

Then it was time for the K&D men.

A rag-tag bunch of ruffians and hedonists. They rolled off the tour bus like the Rolling Stones and then took an embarrasingly long time to get an erection up. The tent we brought just wouldn’t go up. Once we settled and bought new socks the men showed their support for our elite women. Then it began. The single greatest sight in running. The start of The National. Almost 2000 men charging across a field in shorts and vests. A roar going up as battle commences.

Our men were led round by Birmingham Uni Development Loanee Joe Read. Joe, on the K&D fun bus but in B’Ham Uni colours for the day finished a stunning 182nd on a 13k course among the most difficult in National history.

In the Green and Gold Gary Polhill ploughed through the mud to finish in 519th place. A sign of his incredible achievements recently. Nick Woolley clocked off a 655th, one to tell the impending sproglet about in a few years. Torsten ‘Der Kaiser’ Roesler tried to outdo Moller but had to conceed to his Danish neighbour as our German finished in 741. Dave Carbutt continued his excellent form on the turf with a 763rd and Rob Mundy showed his continued development with a 795th.

Danny Malone got Irish eyes smiling as he struck one for his ancestors against the feindish English in 813th. Greg Turner treated us to a erotic dance interpretation of Dances with Wolves on the Fun Bus, then finished 877th. Paul Baker and James Taylor went toe to toe over the distance finishing 915th and 928th. Darren John fell over, caused chaos, winded himself and dragged his sorry self round in 1023rd.

But had great fun none-the-less. And fared better than this poor chap…

Three P’s please Bob, Paul Bentley (1168th), Peter Austin (1271st) and Babbs Mill Phil Wood (1301) led round Stephen Ray. Stephen has thrown himself into all the cross country this winter with gusto and rounded out his season with a 1432nd. There were 300 men behind Stephen. A decent sized parkrun field!

K&D’s men finished a superb 57th in the super cometitive 6 to score champs, and in the traditional 9 to score, a test of a club’s strength in depth, they excelled. K&D finished an even more impressive 33rd – beating the likes of Tipton Harriers.

Next year the champs return to their spiritual home of Parliament Hill. Once the K&D Fun bus is decontaminated we’ll be heading south!