I had the pleasure of marshalling at the UK National Cross Country Championships at Harewood House the other weekend.

The level of talent on display, across all age groups and genders was a pleasure to witness. The course was good too, not too many laps and a challenging, undulating route. Weather conditions were fantastic both for competitors and spectators/marshals.

The event is quite inclusive in that there was a wide range of abilities running. I have no real objection to this, but if it is a National Championship shouldn’t it have a qualifying time to restrict entries to, let’s say, the fastest 1000 runners? 2000 runners (as in the men’s race) setting off in a long line reminiscent of a Braveheart battle scene resulted in quite a bit of congestion on the first lap. It would also make it better for the organisers not having to wait around for the runners at the back of the field to finish. This is,after all, the National Championship!

Now for my main gripe…… and this applies to any race!

Why do some runners feel they have to talk to the runner next to them during a race? Runners at the front of the pack probably haven’t experienced this…… I have never seen Mo Farah having a chat with his competitors, asking ‘have you ran this event before?’

…..’hang on a minute, have you ran this race before mate?

However, further back in the race it is quite common.

Please, please, please, if I am breathing heavily do not try and talk to me! If you are not working hard enough to be suffering the same as me then speed up and push your self harder! It is a race after all!

So I was surprised to see this at the National Cross Country Championship! Over one thousand runners had passed my marshal point, about 3k into the race and all were pushing hard and clearly out of breath. Then a couple of runners came past chatting away! WTF!

I have never done this as I am far too polite, but if I was in that race, blowing out of my ass, and you tried to have a conversation with me I would tell you to ‘f@&k off to the front and bother Mo!’ And if I don’t actually say it, I am clearly thinking it!

Anyone else feel this way in a race?

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