Parliament Hill Fields London 04.11.09



Autumn, early November, and so it’s time again to cross the North Sea and run as a standing tradition by now 'track & field' in London, this year in Parliament Hill Fields. An XC, again perfectly well organized by our good CSAA friends Nick Hume & Gerry Trainer!


This year there was again (for once?) a decent amount of Dutch civil servants present, 6 from Housing, Spatial Planning & Environment and 7 from the Treasury. With as 'standard values' Wim Kooij, Jan van Vliet and Niek Tetteroo, 'guests' like Jos Koot and Baldwin Poolman and not to forget Jan van Vliet’s daughter Linda  (lrft) as a right-out 'oncoming talent' (she ran the women’s race well within 30 minutes!). The Treasury brought along 'aces' like Robbert Tjoa, Peter Koedood, Olaf Simonse and Mark Bezemer, to name a few of them...


It turns out to be nice weather (are we entitled to have this during the yearly CSAA XC?) with ‘circus horse’ running: 2 laps (of 2 miles) for the women, and 3 for the men. It proves to be a somewhat 'uneasy' track, 'cakewalk' or 'roller coaster' with what seem to be ‘never ending ups and downs’... So this year not the well valued 'longer climbs & descents' on the gentle slopes of Richmond Park; not to mention (missing) the gorgeous (former) 'Bank of England'-pavilion... It doesn't matter that much: we are into ‘XC’ again!


The head-off is as usual: after 200m most of the runners have already disappeared out of sight: they go ‘for the running’, I more and more for ‘enjoying the full of it’. And then arises ‘horror’: up thát hill?, but ‘there’s a simple solution to that: by deciding to walk up the hill and wherever the track curves upwards and to take to running again where the inclination is downwards; running should be not too tiring, isn’t it? But meanwhile I enjoy what comes along: ‘beautiful skies and views’. Now and then I have to negotiate my ‘right-of-way’ with passers-by, with or without dogs...


I run 'regularly', with not too much time-loss: I clock 20mins after the first lap, 41mins after the second and finish in 1hr 03min 03secs. The last 3 à 400m I run down 'in style', I am photographed ‘as a winner' and I am not even the last finisher this year; until the end of the second lap I have a companion runner of Ordnance Survey, but the third lap I do all on my own, I carefully cross the downward track to the  brook in the route; it has become somewhat slippery because of the passage of many (also mine…) feet before me...


There was hope within  the Dutch ‘team’ that maybe this year a prize might be won because of the ‘fast men’ we have with us in different age categories, Robbert Tjoa  (left) and Jan van Vliet, but it doesn’t materialize, our British colleagues remain as before untangible in all age categories., But it was only just about… Jan van Vliet would have won in the age category of 60+ if existing, but who knows it might be there one year as a new entry…

And we keep of course our ‘hopes high’: next year in March a few more of our ‘cracks’ will try to give the then visiting British good competition again in the dunes or in the The Hague (royal) Wood(s). And we hope of course to bring more fast civil servants along for next year’s XC in Parliament Hill Fields or perhaps even again in Richmond Park… The British that ‘stayed on’ with us at the lavish buffet the CSAA offered us afterwards in the nearby Dartmouth Arms pub will, so we do hope, seriously consider to ‘come and show up’ in The Hague March 2010!

Many of the Dutch flew ‘back home’ the same (Wednesday) evening and missed so the conviviality later that evening with Gerry and ‘his people’. For me there was already the message on arrival by Eurostar that due to a planned strike of the Belgian Railways there would be no chance to return home on Thursday. With the ‘annoying consequence’ that I would have to stay on an extra day in London… Needless to say that I have used this unexpected ‘bonus’ to the full! Many, many thanks to our CSAA hosts, I will be, comes time& opportunity, present again at next year’s CSAA’s London venue!


Many regards, Niek Tetteroo

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