Knights Grange Sports Complex at Winsford played host to the first in the series of four cross-country races, organised by the North Staffs Cross Country League (NSCCL) last weekend. This annual series is popular with runners of all ages and abilities and Saturday’s race was no exception with the added bonus of an ‘Indian summer’. The sun did indeed shine on the righteous!
More than 30 clubs and 800 runners from across the West Midlands, Cheshire and North Wales took part, running on a freshly mown grassy course around the sports centre. This soft surface soon took its toll with quite a few runners experiencing tired legs as a result. Teams included U11, U13 and U15 boys and girls; U17 Men and Women followed by Senior Women and Senior Men. Distances vary according to age and gender with the U11’s running 2000m through to 5k for the Senior Women and 10k for the Senior Men.
Results showed a successful day for Crewe and Nantwich AC who dominated the junior races. Trentham RC won the Women’s Teams Division One with City of Stoke taking first place in the Men’s Teams Division One.
For many people especially women, cross country conjures images of their schooldays when they had to run around snow-covered fields in the middle of winter while being shouted at by their PE teacher. Very few have fond memories of those days. However, the NSCCL provides a welcoming environment for women runners, from newcomers starting out in parkruns through to experienced club athletes. These events are friendly competitive with the loudest cheers reserved for those runners at the back of the field!
The senior ladies field has grown over the years and there were over 200 runners in the Senior Women’s race on Saturday and an equally high numbers in the girls’ races - a very positive advert for the sport.
Anyone wishing to run in this cross country series has to be a member of a club affiliated to the NSCCL. Entry fees are included as part of club membership. This first cross country race of the series at Winsford was hosted by Vale Royal AC.
The second fixture is on 24 October at Stafford Common.
Image courtesy racephotos.org.uk