St Helens Striders take part in the North West Cross Country League (NWCCL) over the winter months.
The concept of the league is to provide cross country races over the winter, encourage participation and provide a sociable environment for runners. Runners of all abilities are encouraged to run.
Many clubs of all sizes from Merseyside/Cheshire and Lancashire take part in the league and compete to be winners at the end of the season.
For more information, including previous year’s results, see www.stevesaunders.co.uk
Cross country is a great way of staying focused and race fit over the winter months and is great fun. Cross-country strengthens the legs and core muscles, develops ability to run on varied terrain and in varying weather conditions. The runner who is experienced in cross-country is more robust, more versatile and less likely to be thrown by a sudden change in the weather – an event surprisingly common in major championships in the UK.
The cross-country season provides tough physical training, working over a wide range of speeds, without the damaging effects of the cumulative jarring that results from track or road training.
Reward Scheme (New for the 2018/19 season)
Not only do you get the reap the physical and psychological benefits of cross-country racing you could also be in with a chance of a great prize. Anyone who takes part in 4 or more of the races this season is in with a chance of winning the star prize. Up for grabs is a £50 voucher for The Endurance Store or St. Helens Striders membership fees paid for the following year. There is a prize for 1 male and 1 female. Winners will be randomly selected at the end of the cross-country season.
There will also be a £10 meal voucher up for grabs at each of the races. The winner will be randomly selected at each race so they can use the voucher and warm up in a nice local pub 🙂
There are 6 cross country fixtures over the winter, all the courses are off-road and suitable to be run in running spikes. The courses are between 4 ½ and 5 miles in length and take place over grass, mud, dirt trails, hills, etc.
Every fixture is followed by refreshments supplied by the Host club. The results of the race are usually announced then.
This season’s events are:
|1||28/10/2018||Clarke Gardens, Liverpool||Penny Lane Striders||10am||L25 9NN|
|2||18/11/2018||Beacon Park, Skelmersdale||Skelmersdale BH||10am||WN8 7RU|
|3||16/12/2108||Arrowe Park, The Wirral||Pensby Runners||10am||?|
|4||13/01/2019||Town Park, Runcorn||Warrington Road Runners/Lymm Runners||10am||WA7 6EP|
|5||3/2/2019||Croxteth Park, Liverpool||Liverpool||10am||L11 1EH|
|6||24/2/2019||Forest Park, Birchwood||Spectrum Striders||10am||WA3 6UZ|
Clarke Gardens, Liverpool
This is like an extended park run and is a lovely introduction to cross country. There are no toilets near the start.
Beacon Park, Skelmersdale
The most challenging of the courses, this starts at the top of Beacon Fell and runs up and down and around it a few times. The views are breathtaking. The car parking next to the start is limited but there are other car parks near by.
Arrowe Park, The Wirral
Based behind Arrowe Park hospital, this is also a gentle introduction to cross country with plenty of running on grass.
Town Park, Runcorn
Has a bit of everything in it; it is twisty, sometime muddy, runs through woods and open grass and has the infamous ski slope.
Croxteth Park, Liverpool
This is a relatively fast and flat course with lots of mud (weather dependant). There are sections through the forest which are very technical, but it is a very good course for those who like to avoid the hills!
Forest Park, Birchwood
The muddiest of all races, the course takes in all the bad bits of Forest Park in Birchwood, if it was not for the mud it would be a fairly easy course.
|Clarke Gardens, Liverpool||5||5||No toilets near start.||Good|
|Beacon Park, Skelmersdale||10||8||Good||OK|
|Arrowe Park, The Wirral||6||5||Toilets at nearby cafe, but not always available.||Good|
|Town Park, Runcord||9||7||Good||Good|
|Croxteth Park, Liverpool||6||7||No toilets near start.||Good|
|Forest Park, Birchwood||8||10||Limited toilet facilities.||Good|
The league rules are simple, the main points for members being:
- You must wear a club vest/shirt
- All club members are welcome to participate and join in although you must be 1st Claim with your nominated club for your place to score
- Mens team is the first 6, 1 of which must be a vet (40+)
- Ladies team is the first 3, 1 of which must be a vet (35+)
What to wear
Runners have to wear a club vest. You should expect to get all clothing muddy.
The courses vary in terms of muddiness and uphill running. The amount of mud greatly depends on the amount of rain the previous few days. The condition and layout of the course affects what type of shoe you should wear:
Possible on a dry course flattish course, but when it gets muddy or steep then you will be slipping around in road shoes which will be tiring and could be dangerous.
These are a great compromise as they will handle mud and slopes and can be used on the trail races (like our own) throughout the year.
Cross Country Spikes
These are best for coping with mud, wet grass, hills etc. The shoes provide little cushioning (this comes from the mud!) and has a low center of gravity allowing the runner to twist and turn more easily.
Spikes usually cost between £30-70. When buying spikes make sure that you do not buy spikes which are smooth on the heel and around the individual spikes as these are for track running. The shoes will normally come with minimal size spikes, you should buy a bigger set (9 to 15mm).
How much does it cost.