On 10 November 2017 In Running News

Beginner's Guide to Cross Country - By Sarah Hinksman

Do you run? Come and run cross country for BRAT this season! It’s as simple as that.

 

Why on earth would I want to do that? Isn’t that used as punishment at school?

  • Races are free: BRAT covers the entry costs for all team members.
  • It’s genuinely fun to do something as a club and be part of a team.
  • It really doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow, old or young. No, really.
  • It’s great for your running, pretty much whatever speed, distance and surfaces comprise your normal territory.
  • You don’t have to commit to lots of events: even if you just take part in just one race over the whole season you’ll be welcome.
  • There’s usually cake.

Ok, the cake convinced me. What do I need to do?

  • Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Ladies team) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Men's team) to be added to the mailing list.
  • Check the 2017-18 dates and put any suitable ones in your calendar.
  • Make sure you have some shoes that won’t let you down in *whispers* mud (cross country spikes, fell or trail shoes). It can be muddy!
  • Make sure you have or can borrow a BRAT club vest. As these are club events, these are compulsory kit (but you can wear longer sleeves underneath it as needed).

How far do I have to slog through this maybe mud?

 

Mud levels vary: some courses can be disappointingly dry.

Anyway, the distances also vary and there’s usually a course map issued beforehand that says how far it will be, but changes on the day can happen (generally to shorten!).

Most of the women’s races are around 6km and the men’s 10km. For added excitement, there aren’t any mile or kilometre markers on the courses.

 

How the does it all work?

 

You don’t need to know this, you just need to turn up and run. However…

Women, men and juniors have separate races. Sometimes they are on the same day at the same location with different start times (which is nice because we get to support each other), sometimes they are apart.

 

The scoring for cross country works on runners’ finishing positions. If in a particular category the first four (women's) / six (men's) team members to finish “count”, their finishing positions will be added together – for example if one BRAT came 3rd, the next was 10th, the next 15th and the next 37th the team score would be 65. The team with the lowest score wins.

Four races are part of a league, so the totals are kept across the season.

 

Over 35s (‘masters’) run in the same race as the seniors, they can score for both the senior team and the masters team. The masters positions are scored separately, so if a BRAT over 35 is 20th overall but 5th of the over 35s, the 5 would go towards the masters team score.

 

Do I need special kit?

 

Well, it would be tricky to run the courses in road running shoes: ideally you need a good grip. Many people wear cross country spikes which are a lightweight shoe into which you can screw metal spikes of different lengths (according to the amount of mud). Other people run in trail shoes or fell running shoes. If you have existing off road shoes, you will be fine to use those.

 

The other thing that you must own or borrow is a lovely BRAT club vest: this is mandatory kit in the rules of all the races. If it’s chilly and you like to have more layers you can wear it over other things. You can’t wear any other type of BRAT kit instead; it has to be the official club vest.

 

Depending on your personal preference you’ll want shorts, capris or leggings. If you do go for full-length be aware that the bottoms will get wet and muddy on some courses.

A waterproof shoe with a decent grip is handy for the walk from the car park to the race, wellies work well too. And some warm layers for before and afterwards.

 

The captain/s will have your number and some safety pins for the first race. If you do more than one of the four league races, you’ll need to keep hold of your number and bring it next time. Other races all have individual numbers.

 

Anything else I need to know?

  • You need to be a current BRAT and have us as your first claim club.
  • Unlike big city races they don’t give out any water or goody bags.
  • Lifts can usually be arranged so don't worry if you don't drive.
  • The teams usually have a small tent or gazebo for bag storage, but leave valuables somewhere safer if you can.
  • It’s brilliant to have people cheering us along if any friends or family want to watch.
Read 101 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 November 2017 19:05