Cross country … what is it all about?

So you might hear in the next few weeks people asking you to sign up for cross country (XC)…. so whats it all about?

Well, cross country is off road running over a 5-6 mile course for men and 4 miles for women. It normally is multiples of a 2 m loop.  The north east harrier league is the jewel in the crown of XC running, oft quoted as the best league in England. It involves getting often silly dirty / covered in mud or snow. Nobody asks about PB’s but everyone will laugh if and when you get very muddy!

It’s a series of 7 races over the winter and they are handicapped according to where you finish in the previous races. New runners start in the slow pack. The handicap is 2.5 mins per pack and consists of the basic slow,  the medium and fast pack. So fast folk can get handicapped and slower runners can score points for their clubs. So even the slowest club runner can make a difference in the points tally.

How does the point system work .. first six home count for the club for the chaps and the first 4 for the ladies… So a group 5 /6 runner could be our last counter depended on handicapping..

Cramlington XC 2014

PACKING…. Its the main reason we ask everyone to run, fast or slow. the green and white wall has out packed other clubs numerous times in the past. So what does that mean… well everyone one who crosses the line gets a position in the race and those positions generate a position total for a club, So if we have a lot of runners out in between our last counters and a rival club.. they get pushed back. Really its a quite esoteric team sport and a bit like chess or cards for the team captains, trying not to play too many cards too early in the season.

It is not like school cross country as it’s not compulsory and cake is the bribe for afters, followed by post race hydration of your choice.

FOOTWEAR: trail shoes or fell shoes are fine. The start fitness Cheviot 2 shoe is about 25 quid from the shop.. mention your from Heaton Harriers and there for XC you get a discount. Spikes are lightweight shoes with metal pins that cut through the clarts, ideal for grassy courses and prices are around 30 quid. you can run all courses in cheviots btw.

Best bit is free for all Heaton runners and all you have to do is sign up when Lisa and Scott ask you to do.

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