Southern Cross Country Championships 2008
By Liam Richardson
After flirting with Norfolk last year, the Southern Cross Country Championships returned to their spiritual home of Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath on the 26th Jan. With its notorious reputation for bearing a strong resemblance to a Flanders battlefield circa 1917, the London course was certain to provide a stern test for the Hareys who ventured south to tackle it. Although you could find old-timers confidently asserting that they had seen it far worse, the course certainly lived up to its reputation this year. First to attempt to tame the beast were Jane Mackey and Polly Keen in the Junior Women race. Jane finished a highly creditable 30th, while Polly finished 35th, a meritorious performance considering she was dogged by ankle problems during the race. Women's Captain Harriet Owles was the sole Cantab runner in the senior women's race, and will have no cause to be displeased with 89th place. In the Senior Men, Jamie Brunning and Rich Mathie lead the Harey charge, and in keeping with their recent behaviour, finished close together, Jamie in 131st, Rich in 156th, both not far ahead of snooker 'wild boy' Ronnie O'Sullivan. Phil Scard, having earlier complained about missing the start the last time he ran at Parliament Hill, promptly managed to miss it again. However, he managed to rapidly make up the lost ground, and finally finished 264th, narrowly missing out on breaking the hour. Liam Richardson brought home the CUH&H contingent in 351st place, and had the consolation of picking up some silverware (the rather exclusive Hampshire Cup). A complication presented itself at the finish for all runners, as they had to locate their timing chip under a thick layer of mud. This challenge passed, Team CUH&H could look back on another solid presence in the Southerns.