Cross Country - Emergency Services Games 2015

The Victorian Police and Emergency Services Games is back on. As has become my usual I've entered both the 10km cross country and the Half Marathon. These events are a week apart. First up was the cross country.

My expectations weren't as high this year. I haven't been able to get in the type of training that has helped me achieve some pretty good results in previous years. I still didn't want to miss it. Some good rivalries has developed over time, and I might be lucky and pull out a break through performance.

The course is two laps that are each billed as 5km, but being the same as previous years the consensus is its long. My GPS gave my 10.7km for the full race, but I will accept its about 500-600m long. Not an issue being cross country, but it helps knowing this when comparing times. I like the setup. Starting with an uphill grassed section, then some downhill, with a couple of turn going from grass, to dirt road and finally onto a paved bike track. The ground then flattens out and the paved path gives way to gravel, but still flat before hitting a turnaround. Tracing back on the flat, there is a eventually a turn off that goes up a reasonably steep dirt and slightly uneven track before smoothing down to the finish. Repeat for lap two.

marks....... Go!

Up over the grass, around the top curve and back down. I think the front is more crowded than previous years. I put down an effort I know I cannot sustain, but is needed to keep all the front runners in sight. Hoping I have the level right I let the race unfold.

On the flat the spread is obvious and there's three way out front that already have a full minute on me through the turnaround. There's more competition this year. I like that.

That competition puts more time in for the remainder. I hold a reasonable, but not blistering pace through the first lap. I'm hurting but am holding form. On the second lap the downhill is my familiar friend and I make some gains. Once back on the flat I feel the tightening and burn in my legs. Somewhere around 7km that burn plays havoc with my running. While not having specific lactate tolerance at this point in my year is probably good for the big picture, it doesn't help me in this race.

My speed falls by 20-30 sec/km and it is massively difficult to hold that. As per usual, good form is what maintains my best pace. Unfortunately I find I'm in a constant battle against an onslaught of slackness from many parts of my body. My lower decide they don't want to contribute to absorbing each foot strike and prefer my hips and back to do most of that. Of course my back knows this in it's interest and tries to slouch. My shoulders then realise they are being forced to hold my arms if I'm slouching and try to offload that into my neck. None of it is pretty. At least my hip flexors are behaving, which is a first over the last year.

Without any extra head space I find I'm totally absorbed in myself. My nemesis in these events passes me and there isn't any room for tactics here. The elastic band was already pre stretched today and it has no pull on me. Back through the turnaround and I keep on grinding. It might be tough holding my current position, but despite my attempts my legs do not go any faster. On the final climb and I find the uphill to be okay. It actually feels better than on the flat. Over the crest and I'm forced into a final sprint as I'm charged from behind. I hold on by maybe half a step.


This was my slowest outing on this course by over a minute and definitely my worst placing. But I'm still pretty damn happy about it all. My fitness has improved a lot over the last couple of months, and in the way I have intended. More importantly none of the injury issues of the last year showed up in anyway. Hopefully that leads to better longer term running. The half marathon next Sunday will probably suit my current style of fitness better. I can't wait to find out.


  1. Well done Jason. Another gutsy effort.

    1. Thanks Jeremy. Hopefully my roster lets me get to more of the Coburg Harriers fun runs this year.


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