Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Return of the mud! Striders guide to the 2016-17 Cross Country season

Cross country season is nearly upon us again and what better way is there to spend your Autumn/Winter weekends than running through the mud with your fellow Striders?!
There has been a great uptake in cross country running in the club over recent years with more and more of you discovering the joys of racing offroad.
Below is a fixture list of the forthcoming races we are competing in, so please put the dates in your diaries as we would love to see as many of you there as possible.
Join your fellow Striders at cross country events this Autumn and Winter
If you are completely new to the club and/or to cross country running, scroll down for further information on the various leagues we compete in and how you can get involved (it's all completely free for club members).
Cross country captains Graham Smith and Wendy Walsh will email and post on Facebook with the full details on each race the week before they take place.
Saturday, 15 October, Chiltern League, Oxford
Saturday, 22 October, Southern Cross Country Relay, Wormwood Scrubs
Sunday, 23 October, Sunday League, Cheshunt
Saturday, 5 November, National Cross Country Relays, Mansfield
Saturday, 12 November, Chiltern League, Milton Keynes (Teardrop Lakes)
Sunday, 13 November, Sunday League, Grovelands
Saturday, 3 December, Chiltern League, Luton
Saturday, 10 December, Cross Country Masters & Inter Counties Championships, Oxford
Sunday, 18 December, Sunday League, TBC (Willian or Stevenage)
The cross country season runs from October till March
Sunday, 8 January, Herts Champs, TBC
Saturday, 14 January, Chiltern League, Keysoe
Sunday, 15 January, Sunday League, Watford
Saturday, 28 January, Southern Champs, Parliament Hill
Saturday, 11 February, Chiltern League, Milton Keynes (Campbell Park)
Sunday, 12 February, Sunday League, Royston
Saturday, 25 February, National Champs, Wollaton Park, Nottingham
Inter-counties Champs – date and venue TBC (usually on a Saturday at the start of the month in Birmingham)
Herts Vets Champs – date and venue TBC (usually on a Sunday in the middle of the month)

The men's start at a Chiltern League fixture last year


Comprises clubs from Herts, Beds and Bucks, open to all abilities. Men and women race separately - approx 6k for women and 8k for men. There’s also junior races earlier in the day where St Albans AC athletes compete for Striders. The juniors, men and women’s scores are all combined to reach our league position.

Where & when:
Women’s race starts approx 1.15pm, men’s approx 2pm

Saturday 15 October, Oxford
Saturday 12 November, Milton Keynes (Teardrop Lakes)
Saturday 3 December, Luton
Saturday 14 January, Keysoe
Saturday 11 February, Milton Keynes (Campbell Park)

What to do: We need to declare with the organisers who will be running the night before each race. We’ll send an email and post on the message board the week before each race so please let us know then if you intend to run. On the day, collect a number from captains (Graham Smith for the men and Wendy Walsh for the women). As with the Midweek Road Race League, you must keep this number for the whole league.

NB: This season the number of female scorers for the team has increased from four to six so we need we more women than ever to take part!

More info:

Hills and mud don't stop Striders!


Slightly lower key league so a good introduction if you have never done cross country before. It’s suitable for all abilities and just like the MWRRL but on offroad courses. Clubs from the local area take part with men and women competing in the same race which is approx 5-6 miles. If you take part in four or more races you will be in with a chance of winning an individual age group prize at the end of the league. Individual trophies are awarded as follows: Senior Men, M40, and M50 - first five places. M60 - first three, M70 - winner. Senior Women, W35, and W45 - first five places. W55 – first three, W65 – winner.

Where & when: All races start at 10.30am

Sunday, 23 October, Cheshunt
Sunday, 13 November, Grovelands
Sunday, 18 December, TBC (Willian or Stevenage)
Sunday, 15 January, Watford
Sunday, 12 February, Royston

What to do: We’ll advertise further details on each race in advance. You don’t need to wear a number so just turn up and race. At the finish, you’ll be given a ticket with your finishing position on which should be handed to the captains so they can record the results.

More info:
There’s no official website for the league but results and pictures will be posted on www.runherts.com.
Spikes and trail shoes at the ready!


Herts County XC: Sunday 8 January TBC

Individual and county medals up for grabs here and the chance to qualify to represent Herts in future races. Approx 8k for women and 12k for men.

The men weaving round the Herts County Champs course in Stevenage
What to do: You must have been born in Herts or have been a resident in the county for at least nine months prior to the race to compete. Captains have to enter teams in advance so look out for details on the message board or via email in order to sign up. On the day, collect your number from captains.

More info: http://www.hertscaaa.org.uk

Southern Champs: Saturday 28 January, Parliament Hill, London

Regional event made up of clubs from the south of England. Approx 8k for women and 15k for men.

What to do: Open to all club members of all abilities but you must be EA registered pre-entered by captains. Look out for posts/emails to sign up nearer the time. The event is chip-timed so you must collect your chip and number from captains on the day.

More info: www.seaa.org.uk

The National Champs: Saturday 25 February, Wollaton Park, Nottingham

Prestigious and historic event which clubs across England take part in. Approx 8k for women and 12k for men.

What to do: Open to all club members of all abilities but you must be EA registered pre-entered by captains. The event is chip-timed so you must collect your chip and number from captains on the day.

More info: www.englishcrosscountry.co.uk

Vet Champs: There are also a couple of Vets only championship races (age 35/40 and over for women depending on the event and age 40 and over for men) across the season including the Southern Masters Champs on Saturday 10 December in Oxford, and Herts County Vet Champs in March, date and venue TBC. You must be pre-entered so look out for email/Facebook posts nearer the time.

The Herts County Champs women's race in 2016


Southern XC Relay: Saturday, 22 October, Wormwood Scrubs

Team event involving clubs from the South which is a low key, fun start to the cross country season.

Women, 3 x 3k, Men, 4 x 5k

What to do:
Open to all club members of all abilities but you must be EA registered and pre-entered by captains. Look out for emails/posts from the captains in the near future.
All runners contribute to the team effort/spirit in cross country races

National XC Relay:  Saturday 5 November, Berry Hill Park, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
Well-supported national event where clubs from around England compete in teams around a course that’s not challenging and is great for spectating.

Teams: Women, 3 x 3k, men, 4 x 5k

What to do: Open to all club members of all abilities but you must be EA registered and pre-entered by captains. Look out for emails/Facebook posts in the near future.

Further questions? 

Check out last year's Guide to Cross Country on the blog which has reasons why you should take part and a list of essential items. 

If you want tips on how to run well over cross country, check out this blog post.

If you need to know anything else, contact XC captains Graham Smith at men @stalbansstriders.com and Wendy Walsh at ladies @stalbansstriders.com 

Now go and get those spikes out!

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