Tipperary Cross Country in Two Mile Borris
The Cross country season has started in earnest this weekend all over Munster, and this has always been one of my favourite times of the year.
Cross country is a very particular skill and depending on conditions and the severity of the course, it can throw up some surprises. You often find that the fastest club runner struggles to cope with the conditions that others revel in, this is where your cross country runner is born and starts to grow in confidence.
But in the last number of years the drive has been to run these events on flat fast courses. The idea was that if you run cross country on fast flat courses that are as solid as a road that you will get top class elite runners to run them and the standard will improve at county, province and nationally. So in the last number of years the numbers in athletics have fallen the standards have fallen we struggle to get people to run for club county and at national level.
We still have great runners but we don’t have depth in our squads, I have had officials ask if we can get a flatter route dryer ground and easier courses, and of course we do our best, but it isn’t working and doesn’t look like it ever will.
In England they run their cross country across fields through streams over ditches up hills and through muck. They use Parliament Hill on a regular basis a three mile loop up a very tough hill on open ground and it attracts well over 2,000 club runners each year, have you any idea what a field looks like after 2,000 people have run through it three times and that’s only the men’s race.
Parents tell us that “I can’t have my Jonnie running through that he might get dirty or get hurt” but people all over the country are paying good money to do mud runs over tough obstacles some electrified some through swamps and through rivers, mud and worse. This is where the numbers are growing there is a little kid in all of us who just wants to play in the puddle and climb a tree and have some fun.
Bring the fun back, that’s the end of my rant.
It’s that time of the year also where I ask clubs if you have a new or up and coming club and would like to put a race into the Active Series just contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get in contact with you.
We are also looking to set up an Active Cycle Series, so if you are with a cycling club competitive or leisure contact us on the same email for full details and let’s get 2018 off to a good start.