We’re chuffed to bits that Team JMC’s very own Alex Lawton took the Senior title at the local cross country league.  Already an accomplished triathlete, Alex continues to claim the wins….

It’s cold, it’s Windy and it’s muddy, common statement that many of us can relate to during winter in the North of England. But it becomes all the more noticeable when you’re wearing shorts, a vest, and about to drag yourself up and down (and often up off the floor) the parks of Manchester.  The reason for this?  It is the final race of the Manchester XC league.

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Once a month from October, 300 cold and pale souls gather together to slog it out around 9.6km of X-country fun.

The races are annual event for the Manchester Tri club and a great chance for some competitive racing over the winter months. These races were my first X-Countries since school, and going into the last race I find myself with a 2 point lead in the overall standings over second place.

I know that as long as I stay within 2 places of the second placed racer, I would win the league. I try to spot him on the start line but there is no sign of him, maybe this would be easier than I thought? Then just before the gun I clock him at the opposite end of the line.

As the gun fires I managed to get a good start in the front pack of 4. The race meanders around lap 1 and I’m in 3rd place.  Another runner pulls alongside me and a quick glance tells me it’s my challenger, and I know that as long as I beat him, it will be enough.

For the remaining laps we run side by side, on some sections he pulls away, then we hit another section and the roles are reversed. I’m able to get in front on the final climb up the monster hill before the route levels off. With 500m to go I put in a kick to try to pull away, but he responds and gets in front of me. By now I know that barring catastrophe I’ll win the league, but after spending the race side by side we both want to win the sprint finish we knew was inevitable. Just before the right turn onto the finishing straight I’m able to find that bit extra and take the inside line. I know that he can’t respond and kick away to take 3rd place and confirm 1st place in the Manchester Senior Men’s 2012-2013 X-Country title.