It costs £25 to enter The Grim 4 mile race. It costs £25 to enter any of the gut buster 10k series races and it costs £20 for some of the G3 races.
Yet from November to January there are some fantastic 10k off-road events held on a Sunday every few weeks in a variety of different, unique and beautiful locations across the Thames Valley. And you know what? They’re all free for SJ members. Introducing the TVXC series…did I mention that they’re free?
I looked out the window on Saturday and thought “Oh cripes, tomorrow is going to be a wet one!”. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to wake up Sunday morning to clear skies – seemed like a good day for running and a perfect way to kick off the Thames Valley Cross Country (TVXC) season.
So at 10am everyone descended on a field next to the Thames river, with views of Windsor castle. The crowd was made up of all different types of runners, some looking to set some good times and others who just fancied a run in the winter sunshine with some good friends.
Before the start of the race we observed a 2 min silence, to remember all those that have given up their lives for our freedom, as well as those still fighting to protect it. We also stood together in solidarity to remember Lucy and Stacey, the two extremely talented runners from AFD who were tragically killed when they were hit by a car on Tuesday night during training.
The race then got off to a great start with a loop around the start field, which allowed our supporters to get a couple of chances to shout out encouragement.
The Datchet race is under 10k, pancake flat and marshalled by some lovely happy Datchet dasher marshalls, providing great support regardless of whether you were a Datchet runner or not.
The weather was great for running, with the sun shining bright and with clear skies all round. The rain the day before had created enough muddy puddles to make it interesting and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
There’s a misconception that you have to be fast to run cross country, but it really isn’t the case. The event attracts such a wide variety of runners and everyone is extremely supportive. Oh and did I mention that at the end there’s a free spread of cakes, sandwiches and a very welcome cup of tea?
At the competing end of the race each club receives points for their first 6 men and first 4 ladies to cross the line. However, the more runners we have the more we can ‘push’ (not literally) other clubs down the table. Everyone matters and the more people that can take part, regardless of whether you will score or not, the better it is. At the end of the day, we would just love to have 100s of our club vests out there – all enjoying themselves.
This blog post is also a special plea to the girls this week – we were thin on the ground at Datchet and I’d love to see more of you at the next event (Handy cross). Come on ladies this is a call to action!
Finally – one of the most satisfying feelings in the world is the feeling you get when you wash all the mud off in a lovely hot shower! (MFS might think it is the beer you drink when we meet in the pub after an event – this is probably also true).
Scorers this week (I think- yet tbc):
Men: Graham, Jamie, MFS, James, Darren, Dan
Women: Jenny, Helen A, me, Sasha
Moment of the day – Richard Boses’ children waving the banner and their loud cheers of support! (Best supporters on the course)
Well done to everyone who took part and our supporters for all the cheers and welcomes across the finish line. I especially liked catching up with you all in the pub after!
I therefore officially announce the 2016 cross country season open!
PS – I haven’t spell checked this.
Love Nikki “I only do it for the cake” Stanley
See you all at Handy cross – Sunday 4 Dec