10 Things I Think About The World Cross Country in Aarhus
1. Yes The Same Race
I think this has to be my best bit of blagging ever, much better than airport lounges. I’d seen on LetsRun.com that they were letting “normal” people run in the World Cross Country so long as they had run sub 33:00 for 10k and had €100 so I chanced my arm. I’m not sub 33 so I sent them my Barcelona Half Marathon time by email which they accepted, it’s no where near sub 33 but I didn’t ask any questions when I got an email back saying that I was in.
2. Lets Run Guy
I think that I felt a little more reassured when I met the guy that Lets Run had entered in a cafe, he was just like me just with more talent. It’s almost like no one else knew about it, that or they didn’t want to know about it. Who wouldn’t want to run the World Cross Country like?
3. I Really Shouldn’t Be Here
I think I realized that I shouldn’t have been there when I met the Irish Team manager. I told her I was running in the race too. “Yes the same race” She looked at me like I had orange sunglasses on my head. I don’t think she was happy.
4. No Kenyans Were Harmed
I think my favorite part of the whole thing was the warm up, it was like being in the dressing room before a match. I warmed up with the other “sub elites”. The organizers had prepared a lovely little loop around the gardens of an old house. I had to be very careful not to awkwardly injure a Kenyan or Ethiopian when they were passing. We all escaped injury free.
5. Call Room
I think my favorite part of the whole thing was the call room. I’ve never been in a call room before. A call room is a big tent where you go before the race to put on your spikes and be checked for suitability, everyone has to go in there even the best guys. I was a bit worried that they would have some sort of iPhone fatometer that they would measure me with and tell me to go away. Thankfully fatometers haven’t been invented yet.
6. Can’t See The Top
I think the start line was very scary. They had fire spurting from the top of the gantry which made the air warm sort of like the opposite of the World Championships in Doha. When you looked up from the start line you couldn’t see the top of the hill. It was so so steep and long, I haven’t seen a hill that long and steep since I was on a bicycle. I’m not very good at starting uphill so I was very worried. I was right.
I think that course was the most fun course that I have ever run on. It was insanely hard, but great fun. It would have been ridiculous even without the water pit, mud pit and sandy bits, they were almost normal when compared to the ridiculous hills. The hill up to the museum was fantastically awful. I’ve never used my arms so much for balance on the downhills. The only thing I would change is that I would make myself talented so that it would have been faster and more fun.
I think that I’m going to have to move to Lebanon if I want to make a repeat appearance at world level. I spent most of the race changing places with a Lebanese guy. I could definitely be a cross country champion in Lebanon. We had a great battle, we caught and passed a Chinese and Indian singlet, I thought I was doing great, Frank and the East Cork Mafia were providing great support.
9. Your Position has been Eliminated
I think I was almost happy that they eliminated me from the race. The rule for us sub elite guys was that if we got anymore than 4 minutes or 85% behind the leader then we were going to be eliminated. I almost made it on to the last lap, I got to the top of the hill on the 4th lap. Then just like in the race walking a nasty official in a blue jacket came out and ushered me off the course. I didn’t really object. My Lebanese compatriot was allowed to continue on, I definitely would have beaten him, definitely.
10. Worst in the World.
I think that I’m glad that I finished the race in the end. I got eliminated at the same time as a German guy. Once the leaders had gone by on their last lap, I said to him “sure we can just jump back in here and run through the finish, be grand”. The German guy was having none of it, “It’s against the rules”. I hoped back in and ran the last bit of the race, no one suspected anything because I’d the numbers on, I got lots of sympathetic cheers. It does however mean that I came last, very last, the worst in the world.