In­cludes Area Cross-Coun­try Re­lays and TCS Am­s­ter­dam Marathon

Athletics Weekly - - News -

LAST week­end I at­tended the South of Eng­land cross­coun­try re­lays in glo­ri­ous sun­shine on Worm­wood Scrubs.

It was a much more pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence than the road re­lays and apart from a low-key fin­ish, there was lit­tle of note to query.

It was a plea­sure to ac­tu­ally see run­ners hand over in re­lays by touch­ing hands rather than the modern way of of­fi­cials set­ting them off from a dif­fer­ent area. That might have been a prob­lem had the num­bers been the same as in the road re­lays as the event, while im­prov­ing in stature, is still seen by some as miss­able.

One as­pect that puz­zled me was the way younger run­ners set out. Nearly all sprinted as fast as they could on a slight up­hill. In­stead of be­ing warned by par­ents or coaches, most were ac­tu­ally en­cour­aged to go faster.

The ma­jor­ity of them were suf­fer­ing ter­ri­bly by midrace.

Apart from be­ing an in­ef­fi­cient way to start a race as it is im­pos­si­ble to keep up, it also makes the rest of the race painful and an un­pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence and I won­der how many are put off run­ning by the mem­o­ries of such dis­com­fort and slow­ing.

It was no­table that some of the bet­ter coached ath­letes paced it bet­ter and fin­ished stronger.

Steve Smythe,re­sults ed­i­tor

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