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ECCA Championships, Parliament Hill Fields, Saturday 25th February, 2012.

ECCA Championships, Parliament Hill Fields, Saturday 25th February, 2012.

What better way of spending a bright, sunny Saturday in February could there be than running over Hampstead Heath? Hillingdon were represented by 13 athletes in the National, one Junior (U20) and 12 Seniors and Vets. Both races were held over two laps, with the course extending into the northern reaches by Kenwood. A tough, hilly course with mainly firm ground plus some very gloopy patches reports Doug Milsom.

James Laing finished 104th out of 196 in 37:10 in a high standard Junior Men’s race over 10Km.

The 125th running of the Senior Men’s race was over 12Km (actually only 7.1 miles) with one of the largest fields ever of around 1700. Robert Thompson (U23) was a very creditable 165th in 40:56 to lead our Seniors home, ahead of his brother Daniel, 253rd in 42:21. Daniel reversed the usual order by beating Martin Bateman, 283rd in 42:45. Scott Farley (V40) 741st in 48:19, Paul Leppard, 935th in 50:43 and Michael Ingram (V45), 1154th in 53:28 completed our 6-to-score team, 50th of 125 teams. John Bignell (V55), 1309th in 55:54, Robert Burton (V50), 1468th in 59:22 and Martin Searle (V50), 1554th in 61:55 completed our 9-to-score team, 44th of 62. John Luscombe (V35), 1599th in 64:24, Alan Wells (V45), 1649th in 69:33 and Doug Milsom (2nd V70), 1654th in 70:32 completed our finishers. 1688 finished the course.

Every finisher was promised a 125th Anniversary Finishers Pin Badge. These ran out long before the end, but you can still get one by emailing Ian Byett at admin@englishcrosscountry.co.uk .

On a personal note, this was an exciting experience. The last time that I ran the National was in 1969, also at PHF, with a field of around 1000. To see over 1600 runners streaming up the hill ahead of me at the start was a magnificent sight. To finish that course not coated in mud, and with 34 more runners behind me, was an extra treat!

Full results here. Video of the races here.