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Pushing hard at Stafford Common Cross Country Race

Spikes at the ready for North Staffs XC

This year sees the introduction of a chip timing system.

It is a little under a week until the first race in the North Staffs Cross Country League (NSCCL) at Betley Court Farm near Crewe. Saturday 18 September will see runners from across the West Midlands, South Cheshire and North Wales in club colours as they race hard and fast for points based upon their finishing position. 

There are four races in this league competition: Race 1 at Betley Court Farm, Race 2 at Stafford Common, Race 3 at Parkhall Country Park and back to Betley for Race 4. These take place from September to December and on challenging courses that require good footwork, a willingness to get wet and muddy and a hefty dollop of grit! 

This is that time of year when the road shoes are swapped for cross country spikes or trail shoes with deep lugs as tarmac gives way to grass and mud. Not forgetting the hills. Shorts and a club vest even in sub-zero temperatures is a standard feature of cross country and the unpredictable British weather along with the terrain are a test for even the most experienced runner. The only thing that stops cross country is a global pandemic as the 2020 season was cancelled due to Covid.   

However, cross country is a resilient beast and returns in 2021 where this season sees chip timing and runners pre-entering via the AV Timing website. They will be allocated a number which, if they enter all four races, they keep and wear at each of these. If they enter single races they wear a different number each time. This is explained in more detail on the North Staffs Cross Country League website. 

From U11’s to veterans, teams from City of Stoke AC, Trentham RC, Newcastle (Staffs) AC, Vale Royal AC, Telford AC and many other clubs will be competing for points and standings. Junior and Senior Presentations held at Betley Village Hall after Race 4.   

Time to dust off the spikes and dig out the club vest...

Image courtesy of Bryan Dale.

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