Cross Country – Message from the Captain

To ALL Stone Master Marathoners, The Cross Country season is fast approaching and this is my call to all of you to help put Stone back on the map in the local North Staffs Cross Country League (NSCCL).  Last year we didn’t field a full team for the men and the ladies team finished 6th (8 clubs fielded full teams) in the second division.  It wasn’t too many years ago that both the men and the ladies were in division 1: the men were relegated in 2008 having not fielded full teams in all events; and the women were relegated in 2009 by a narrow margin of 17 places.  Stone can be competitive again but it will take mass participation to make this happen.  Many members will be new to the format of Cross Country so this email is to outline the competition and the reasons why we need as many of you as possible to take part this year.

  • The NSCCL consists of 4 races during the early winter.  This year the races are:
    • Winsford 26th September (flat and all on grassy fields)
    • Stafford Common 24th October (windy, hilly and often muddy)
    • Park Hall 14th November (more trail running than cross country)
    • Uttoxeter Race Course 12th December (new this year but there is a ditch to jump)
  • The ladies race is 5k and it starts at 1.30PM and the men’s is 10k and it starts at 2.10PM.
  • Each venue is very different as described above.
  • Cross Country is brilliant training.  It covers all aspects of running: speed; hills; competition; and teamwork.
  • Teamwork is the key to Cross Country.  Every single person in the team has a role to play.  Whilst 4 people count and the total of their positions make the team total, every other person can help by pushing the competition backwards.  In 2009 the ladies were relegated by 17 points. This equates to pretty much 4 positions per race.  A few sprint finishes to push back some Telford Harriers would have been enough to keep us in the first division.
  • Another important point is that we have some very competitive veterans in our club.  If we don’t field a full team then the individuals cannot be included in the overall standings.  We all owe it to these people to field a team so that they can receive their hard fought prizes.  It only needs 4 people to make a team.
  • We can be competitive.  We have some new members who are planning to race the Cross Country and help to make the club competitive again.
  • Finally, it’s really good fun and it will help you get into great shape for the 2016 road racing season.

There is also a Midland Cross Country, the National Cross Country and Cross Country relays but more about them at a later date.

I genuinely hope to see as many of you as possible at Winsford next Saturday and I do understand that there are family, jobs, etc. which will prevent some of you coming along. I’ll be there early to put up the club tent and could do with a hand because of a slight incapacity after Jim’s Stag / Marathon weekend.   The weather looks good but the tent will afford a little privacy for us when changing.

The distance from Stone to Winsford is 33 miles and takes approximately 45 minutes via the M6. It would be great if we car-share, leaving the Club at 11.30 AM.