Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I haven't missed the Mescherbergloop cross race in the three years I've been stationed in the Netherlands.  After all, why would anyone miss it.  Cross country, trails, hills, mud (or in last year's race - snow), stairs, and good competition.

After about a half mile of running on the road, the only flat portion of the course, we turned left into a pasture (picture above) and the runners began to establish their positions.  I was somewhere around 10th place at this point. 

Climbing the first steady hill my British colleague Charlie (white and blue) and I caught a couple of runners, including the Dutch guy wearing blue and red to the right of the picture. At about 1.5 miles we crested the hill and began a descent of about 600 meters. The blue/red runner caught back up to us on the downhill, but Charlie and I would eventually lose him for good on the second climb. 

We had already passed another Dutch runner and approaching the stairs which this race is well known for.  I should mention that at this point I already knew that I wouldn't be able to get away from Charlie or vice versa, even though I would put a 10 meter gap on him on the hills or stairs.  Up ahead about 200 meters there was a Belgian runner who at one point I thought we could catch. That thought and the Belgian eventually faded away.

Charlie and I climbing yet another hill.  Not at all planned, we were glad to accompany and push each other, especially in the latter part of the race.  I remember with about 2K left in the race, Charlie was trailing me and could sense that I started to let up on the pace.  He encouraged me to push on, and we both motored our way side by side to the finish in a joint 6th place.  Here are the results and Dutch news coverage of the race.

I had a blast for the third year in a row at the Mescherbergloop and I'm sure going to miss it next year.  Here is a comparison of my three Mescherbergloop races.

muddy course
snowy course
racing flats on xc/trails

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