Richard Goodman described his victory at the Inter-Counties Senior Cross County Championship as his best yet — and says there is more to come.
Punching the air and roaring in triumph, Goodman charged through the finish line to take the title at Cofton Park in Birmingham.
In winning his first fully open national senior title, Goodman turned the tables on Steve Vernon, the Stockport cross-country and mountain specialist who had narrowly beaten him in the English National Championships two weeks earlier.
Goodman said: "I prepared well in terms of my pre-race diet. I had got that badly wrong before the Nationals.
"Once the race started I immediately placed myself in the leading group. The pace was extremely fast, even though the four-lap course was quite hilly and included some stretches of deep mud.
"The pace settled down a bit on the second lap, by which time Steve Vernon and I had dropped the entire field, apart from Welsh champion Dewi Griffiths who was following a pace or two behind.
"Vernon and I continued to battle it out at the front and I was afraid that Griffiths would be the beneficiary. So on the last lap I made sure Vernon and I were never shoulder to shoulder forming a wind-break. I realised the two uphill stretches leading to the finish might favour Vernon because of his mountain running, so I needed to shake him off. I made a sustained effort over the final 2km, pushing as hard as I could, and built up a 50m lead he couldn’t close."
Goodman finished the 12km course in 33:54, nine seconds ahead of Vernon, with Griffiths a further eight seconds back.
"I gave the race everything I had, and I was physically and mentally exhausted. I suppose my roar as I crossed the line was a mixture of elation, relief, and the feeling: 'Yes, Vernon, I got you this time!'"