So it’s officially winter which for me, my running club buddies and those from 14 other clubs around the Thames Valley IT’S CROSS COUNTRY SEASON!

Mud, Hills, Rain, Wind……. errrrrrr I think that covers it? OH I forgot – CAKE! there’s ALWAYS CAKE!

The Thames Valley Cross Country League is based around 8 races held from October to February each year.

Events are held on Sundays with an 11:00 AM start time – each course is usually a mixture of woodland trails and parkland and is normally about 5 miles in length – I’ll elaborate slightly on this and say all courses bar one are over 5 miles, with one being just over 6!

Originally sponsored by Today’s Runner magazine, the original idea was that racing in the league should encourage friendly competition and ensure that everyone is able to participate in and enjoy the events. Although no longer sponsored by the magazine, the original spirit of the league is still stands.

Men and women teams compete in the same race with the first 7 men and first 4 women from each club scoring points. All abilities take part and even non-scorers can affect the result by getting ahead of scorers from other clubs, as the points are calculated based on overall race position of the scoring runner. To promote club spirit, club colours must be worn by any runner to score, and there must be a given number of veterans in the team. See the rules page for full details.

Our club pays our entry fees for as many races as you want to enter each season 🙂 but anyone can come join us as a guest runner and pay £3 to join in the fun! The first race of the season was won by a Bracknell Forest Guest – the nephew of one of our club members who was down for the weekend and came along to run in the Mud! Let me tell you he was a Gazelle and a half!!!! Smashed the rest of the field by over a minute!!!

Once again I will tell you that this isn’t just for the the gazelles – our club and indeed the league’s spirit is to include ALL runners of ALL ages and of ALL abilities – as someone who is generally towards the rear of the field I see faster runners form other clubs who have completed the course running BACK (yes doing it again in reverse!!) to find their club mates who are still on the course to encourage them in round the remainder of course and indeed there are members of my club who regularly run back to me and the other runners at the rear of the pack and there is ALWAYS a great encouraging cheer for EVERY runner as they approach and cross the finish line.

So if you like CAKE and don’t mind running up and down a couple of hills in the wind rain and mud to earn it then YOU should come and join us on a Sunday this season – there’s five races left for you to choose from 🙂