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Thread: Cross Country 2023-24

  1. #11
    Master Witton Park's Avatar
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    Spikes / Fell Shoes - all depends on the course.
    I have fond memories of Fitz Park Keswick for a few Mid lancs events back in the noughties. Some stunning views of Skiddaw from the back field, but the option to run down the back of the course along the river on a gravel track if sporting fell shoes. Must have been 600-800m a lap so ditched the spikes there.

    Retired now, as I begrudge the EA affiliation each year.

    Well done Travs - will look out for the results.
    Richard Taylor
    "William Tell could take an apple off your head. Taylor could take out a processed pea."
    Sid Waddell

  2. #12
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    After Birmingham University once again completely obliterated some very strong competition in the first Birmingham League fixture on saturday, a fierce debate erupted in the Godiva Car Park last night....

    That of course being the appearance of university clubs in the various XC leagues.

    Taking just one example from B'ham Uni.... the race winner, Will Barnicote, helped his club Aldershot get within seconds of a gold medal at the recent National XC Relays... so shouldn't he be turning out in the league for them? Many similar examples across the results. Ditto Loughborough Uni and their Olympic Academy, who similarly dominated for a good part of the previous decade.

    The older coaches and team managers are adamant this shouldn't be happening and club runners should be running for their clubs.

    I'm a bit more 50/50 on the subject. Whilst i generally agree with their argument, having Loughborough, Birmingham (and indeed Warwick) Universities in the mix with some great teams like Tipton, Birchfield et al.... enhances the prestige of the league as one of the "best in the country".

    And also gives young athletes the chance of regular good quality competition, when they might not be able to afford the expense of travelling home for a bread-and-butter league fixture.

    To prevent civil war breaking out in the Cov Godiva car park, a compromise was proposed.... Let the Uni's race, but either they are con-competitive (i don't think this will work or they'll likely just not bother to race at all).... or have separate medals, top 3 in the league, and top 3 clubs.

    I wonder what the die-hard XC guys such as GazB and WP think on this one....?

  3. #13
    Senior Member Marco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travs View Post
    After Birmingham University once again completely obliterated some very strong competition in the first Birmingham League fixture on saturday, a fierce debate erupted in the Godiva Car Park last night....

    That of course being the appearance of university clubs in the various XC leagues.

    Taking just one example from B'ham Uni.... the race winner, Will Barnicote, helped his club Aldershot get within seconds of a gold medal at the recent National XC Relays... so shouldn't he be turning out in the league for them? Many similar examples across the results. Ditto Loughborough Uni and their Olympic Academy, who similarly dominated for a good part of the previous decade.

    The older coaches and team managers are adamant this shouldn't be happening and club runners should be running for their clubs.

    I'm a bit more 50/50 on the subject. Whilst i generally agree with their argument, having Loughborough, Birmingham (and indeed Warwick) Universities in the mix with some great teams like Tipton, Birchfield et al.... enhances the prestige of the league as one of the "best in the country".

    And also gives young athletes the chance of regular good quality competition, when they might not be able to afford the expense of travelling home for a bread-and-butter league fixture.

    To prevent civil war breaking out in the Cov Godiva car park, a compromise was proposed.... Let the Uni's race, but either they are con-competitive (i don't think this will work or they'll likely just not bother to race at all).... or have separate medals, top 3 in the league, and top 3 clubs.

    I wonder what the die-hard XC guys such as GazB and WP think on this one....?
    Whilst not a die-hard XC guy, I did do 7 seasons in the Birmingham XC league - starting when there were 5 divisions.

    I'm also a bit 50/50 on the subject; it doesn't seem right that you can be competing at top level for one club one week, and then a different one a few weeks later. At the same time, if this was not allowed then the league would be weaker - possibly a lot weaker.

    At this stage I should declare that I plied my trade in the lower leagues, racing in div 5,4,3 and 2 but never 1. It therefore never had an effect on our club position, as the Uni clubs were all in Div 1.

    One attractive feature of the Birmingham league was, and I believe still is, that all the divisions race together in the first race. This was useful in telling you where a top 10 finish in Div 5 put you in the grand scale of things which in my case, (on a one short, three long laps course with six stream crossings), was never being lapped.

    If I had to vote on the issue, Id probably vote to keep it as it is. I believe that competing against the best and getting better is more useful than finishing higher in the league

  4. #14
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    For me, cross-country was something I did when I wanted a race and there was no orienteering or fell race available (although actually there were occasions when I did XC on a Saturday and then orienteering on the Sunday). But if I had been a die-hard XC runner as an undergraduate, I would have been pretty upset if I wasn't able to run competitive races for my university club 400 miles from home. Even having to travel from Birmingham to Aldershot for a XC fixture (as in Travs' example) seems a bit much.
    In his lifetime he suffered from unreality, as do so many Englishmen.
    Jorge Luis Borges

  5. #15
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post

    One attractive feature of the Birmingham league was, and I believe still is, that all the divisions race together in the first race. This was useful in telling you where a top 10 finish in Div 5 put you in the grand scale of things which in my case, (on a one short, three long laps course with six stream crossings), was never being lapped.
    This is usually the case. Although this year the opening fixture (at Cheltenham) was Div 1 & 2 only. Although still over 500 runners.

    Although the results were a complete shambles as i understand they tried to use separate finish funnels for each division, and that was never going to end well with hundreds of wrecked runners crowding across the line.

  6. #16
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    Hi Travs. I've just moved back to Staffs Moorlands this year, who no longer compete in the Birmingham league. So, for the 1st time in 25 years, I wasn't involved in the opening weekend. I competed in Division 1 for all but one of those years, so have had Birmingham and Loughborough in my race for 24 seasons, plus Warwick a couple of those years. Apart from making me feel old, it's worth noting that those students who are in a club that competes in the Birmingham League, still have to compete for their club, and the same for the Midland Women's League (my step daughter competed for Wolves last year despite having started at Loughborough). But I never really had a issue with the Unis competing. And going back to the late 90s and 2000s, there were some years when the Unis weren't that strong at all and Tipton and Birchfield and Cov and Stoke and Staffs Moorlands and Wolves were stronger at times. So it does come in cycles.

  7. #17
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    Hi Gaz,

    Yes i noticed on facebook you were with Staffs Moorlands.... i wondered if this was just for the fells (relays etc), and if you were still with W&B.

    Now i know....!

  8. #18
    Master Witton Park's Avatar
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    Travs - I think the system is OK in general and the leagues have differing rules.

    WPette was a decent cross country runner and went to Bangor. The North Wales league then had rules such as:
    No guest runners.
    Only first claim runners could count for the team.
    Had she been allowed to run as a guest, I still think it would have been tad awkward, sometimes travelling 2 hours and trying to blag a lift from the Uni mates, Menai or Eryri runners.

    Had the league allowed 2nd claim to count, that would have been better for her and that could be a change enforced by UKA to all leagues, but it's not currently on the tables as far as I know.

    And my daughter had received a £1500 bursary for her running ability and felt she should be running for the Uni, so resigned her 1st claim at Blackburn and joined Bangor Uni 1st claim.

    Some leagues allow Uni runners to maintain their home 1st claim and have Uni as 2nd claim.

    County Cross Country rules allow Uni students studying in the County to run in that County Champs and also represent at Inters if selected.

    It is a team event really, and in my dealings at county and local league I've always approached it to try and help athletes have a better chance of being part of a team, such as the move to allow U20s to count as seniors in our leagues and County Champs.
    U20s are often billy no mates in races

    I have one issue, that's abuse of that offer for University students. I have known athletes go to Loughborough College and run as Loughborough Uni in the XC league.
    Maybe it's OK and they have a joint running club , but it seemed suspect to me.
    I'm sure there are a few "loopholes" used to boost the Uni team ranks.
    That is something that should be better managed.
    Richard Taylor
    "William Tell could take an apple off your head. Taylor could take out a processed pea."
    Sid Waddell

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Witton Park View Post

    I have one issue, that's abuse of that offer for University students. I have known athletes go to Loughborough College and run as Loughborough Uni in the XC league.
    Maybe it's OK and they have a joint running club , but it seemed suspect to me.
    I'm sure there are a few "loopholes" used to boost the Uni team ranks.
    That is something that should be better managed.
    All the sports clubs at Loughborough are "Loughborough Students xxxxxxx Club" rather than "Loughborough University xxxxxxx Club". So the Loughborough runners in the XC league are members of the Loughborough Students Athletics Club; they are not running for Loughborough University.

    Whether it's an abuse to have a single club open to members of more than one educational institution in a town, I will leave to you to decide.
    In his lifetime he suffered from unreality, as do so many Englishmen.
    Jorge Luis Borges

  10. #20
    Master Witton Park's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonykay View Post
    All the sports clubs at Loughborough are "Loughborough Students xxxxxxx Club" rather than "Loughborough University xxxxxxx Club". So the Loughborough runners in the XC league are members of the Loughborough Students Athletics Club; they are not running for Loughborough University.

    Whether it's an abuse to have a single club open to members of more than one educational institution in a town, I will leave to you to decide.
    All clear. It would only be an abuse if the members of LUAC are using the dispensations given to University Running Clubs in a way i which they are not supposed to be used.
    Can you imagine if similar systems operated in the big cities?
    Manchester Students Athletics Club for example?
    Richard Taylor
    "William Tell could take an apple off your head. Taylor could take out a processed pea."
    Sid Waddell

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