Saturday, January 3

Surrey Cross Country Championships

 We sit around the kitchen listening to the rain on a dark Saturday morning. The kids running a cross country race. Even Rusty hesitates in these conditions. I have become that parent who talks about walking six miles in the snow to get to school. Well .. my and Katie's swimming galas went from the crack of dawn to late evening or night. Madeleine rolls her eyes.

We arrive at Lloyds Park in the Borough of Croydon (awful, Kate Moss is from here) to find the various clubs doing their pre race preparations and I think: Military. I take the dog for a tour of the course and it is unrunnable in the mud without spikes.

Madeleine's race, 3K, off first - bang! - and the many legged beast heads for the first turn, lost from site over the hill and into the common.  There is a strange loll while the spectators seek a new vantage point (I head towards the finish line) then there they are - at least the front runner, covered in mud grimacing, in effort - racing down the final incline towards the finishing shoot. Madeleine is in hot pursuit, maybe 30 yards outside. She finishes, clutching her inhaler, in 12:25, good enough for a top place.

Final leg
Eitan sits around for 1.5 hours before his starting gun. He competes with the U15s which get an extra kilometre for the 4k race. Cross country new to both kids and Eitan surveys the course beforehand.

Eitan off like a rocket, settles in and finishes in the middle of the pack.

Both kids satisfied/ relieved when it is over. In the car Madeleine devours a 'bacon buddy' and Eitan a muffin and bag of crisps. Bravo.

Me (kids dive into pizza): "Say something about the race."
Sonnet: "Everybody has to have a piece of broccoli!"
Madeleine: "It was very tough."
Eitan: "The puddles made it fun."