Cross-Country – through the eyes of a lady veteran and now XC Cake Baker!
It started a VERY long time ago, back in the 80’s when road running was all the fashion, hence our club name. A running magazine ‘The Todays Runner’ dared to seek the interest in off-road running the result was the conception of the league.
Nationally clubs were grouped together, so in the east we joined with Springfield, Harwich, Tiptree, Witham and Colchester (Ipswich joined later as the league evolved).
In 2000 the league became ‘Harper Intersport’ after gaining sponsorship from the Colchester Sports shop, it’s reign was short after the shop sadly burnt down.
McNeil’s Intersport took over in 2001 until Sweatshop in Ipswich took on the league in November 2004. Then to bring us up to where we are now, in September 2005 Ed from 53-12 kindly offered sponsorship, and he must be applauded for his generosity.
Looking back over the years it’s incredible just how popular the XC races became. The league has grown, clubs have merged, reformed, rules and venues changed. We see the result as we now plan to start the next season with 13 clubs.
Health and Safety, permits, First Aid provision, indoor facilities, hot drinks and comments asking for less mud have all contributed to a challenge when race venues are sought.
Gone are the days when at Wilkins Jam Factory, Tiptree, a cold tap and an open barn for shelter were considered adequate. The depth of their drainage ditches were never questioned, we just ran in/through/over as best we could. Here I would like to take this opportunity to personally Thank Brian Hastings for being there in one such ditch (circa.1986), a convenient HRR to step on and out….”SORRY Brian!”, you probably still bear the spike marks!
If the venues have provided some interesting challenges, the weather conditions have exceeded many a runners sanity. The question often asked “why?”
Gale force winds prevented the race entering Broaks Wood in 2002, when a mobile phone call from Brian Brown confirmed it was too dangerous. A tree had fallen next to him as he spoke from his Marshalling Point. Those that recall this incident will remember Brian’s explicit expression of shock!
Blizzard conditions at Landseer Park, Ipswich were recorded on video (I believe the video still exists somewhere, perhaps someone will unearth it and a player to view it on – technology has moved on too).
Springfield Striders have always been renowned for Kevin’s liking of water, the deeper the better. Those of you who experienced the last race hosted by Kevin will probably never forget the ‘pond’!
Thankfully there have been few real accidents. Although Julia raised the stats with her impressive tumble at Hadleigh. Val Kerrison too may wish to forget her injury by chance also suffered at Hadleigh.
On a funnier level some may recall Andy Carter’s misfortune at a Championship XC held in Hylands Park, Chelmsford when a lone deer happened to cross his path and trod on his foot – readers may wish to be reassured no harm was caused to the deer! (Andy just a bruised foot)
This item is NOT intended to put possible XC competitors off, it is to try hopefully encourage EVERYONE, especially the ladies to have a go.
Come on fellow club members, join the XC Team and feel the ‘Spirit’. You might just enjoy it.