National XC Championships 2022
The National XC Championships is probably the most iconic cross country race going, especially when it is held at the famous Parliament Hill, London. With the cancelled race in 2021, there was a genuine excitement amongst club runners up and down the country. BRAT had just about managed to scrape a team, which sadly got thwarted by Covid-19 the week before. The women were sadly missing Eloise Lee, who is no stranger to the joys of racing at Parliament Hill, so they decided they had to make the most of it for her and just enjoy the muddy course.
Arriving at the National is genuinely like no other race, tents littering the hillside. With this year’s mud, there was an air of ‘Glastonbury’ about the place to add to the excitement. After watching several junior races, and concluding that it was probably going to be the muddiest race of their lives, the women went to inspect the course. Reporting back that if they stayed upright, it would be a success. They were buzzing, and soon it was off to the start.
There is something quite special about standing on a start line with over 1000 other women, waiting for the gun and staring up at THE Parliament Hill hill … with everyone telling themselves not to go to fast. Soon they were off and it was approximately 2 meters before the mud was flying everywhere and they were charging up the hill.
Anne Kenchington, who was back in action after missing the rest of the season due to injury, showed that her recent trail racing escapades had given her the magic touch where mud was concerned. Gliding across mud that was stealing others shoes, she had the most outstanding run to finish 15th at the National Cross Country Championships!!! Absolutely amazing, and genuinely a joy to witness after injury woes. Molly Browne was next home, having moved through the field on the second lap after finding a groove on the mud and hills, she finished 37th place and was pretty chuffed to end a busy XC season on a high and manage an actual sprint finish! Third and final BRAT was Flora Johnson, finishing a brilliant 129th after a super first cross country season for BRAT, and also absolutely loved the muddy course.
To have 3 BRAT women in the top 130 (out of 1011) is a seriously impressive achievement and the post-race buzz from these three was something else. A huge thank you to Richard Carney for coming to support and for managing to keep track of positions as we went, and to the BRAT men, family and friends who cheered the team round.
Molly Browne February 2022