This guide was kindly written by our previous Cross Country Captain Emma O'Donnell. If you do have any questions about the current season please get in touch with Lesley McCarthy either on Facebook, WhatsApp or the Forum.
There is a wealth of knowledge within the club, so please note this is just some useful tips and practical help from my perspective. Please ask around for people who have also been doing XC a long time or the novices for their first experiences. I will try to answer some of your questions from kit and the very common query… “how do I change first claim??”.
- What’s it all about??
- How to Enter
- England Athletics Membership
- Race Details
- What do I need on the day?
- First Claim and how to change
1. What’s it all about??
Firstly, don’t let the mud, sweat and tears put you off! Cross country is some of the best winter running training you can do. As triathletes, we struggle when the sun isn’t shining, and I like to think cross country is a good way to keep the legs moving through the winter months. It can massively improve with core strength, foot strength, and above all your mental strength!
Some of the races can be tough, but I cant emphasise this enough.. you can take them as competitively or as seriously as you wish. We are competing against some of the best runners in the SE and Tritons still finish with some incredible times. Despite me doing this a long time, I am one of the slowest but the sense of achievement and camaraderie makes is totally worth it.
The Greenwich Tritons compete in the Kent League, London Champs, Kent Veterans, Kent Champs and Nationals. (See race dates below).
2. How to Enter
To enter the Kent League, all you must do is sign up on the forum post before 23rd September 2018 and pay for it in the Kit Shop. There will be no mid-season entries for the Kent league this year.
Requirements for the Kent League:
- Be able to commit to minimum of 1 of the 4 races.
- Have an EA Membership
- Have a Tritons Cross Country Running Vest.
- (and make sure your name is on the Forum list!)
Details of how to enter the other events will follow shortly, but please keep a close eye out for messages from me. It will most likely be similar format of paying via the kit shop, ensuring you have an EA membership, Tritons Vest top, I will specify if any other requirements.
3. England Athletics Membership
You must have a valid England Athletics Membership (£15) to enable you to enter the Cross Country Races.
The membership year runs 1st April - 31st March. If you've previously been an EA member, you'll get an invoice request via email in April giving you the option to renew. If you didn't do this in April, we can re-send the invoice where you'll pay EA directly and your membership will be automatically renewed.
If you've not had EA membership before, you'll need to email us with your Name, Address, Email Address and DOB. These details will then be used to register you on the EA portal and we'll then be able to send you an invoice.
You will be sent a membership card listing other benefits in the post to your home address. If you have recently moved house, please make sure you let me/ Sam Kavanagh (Membership Secretary) know so we can update details. The price is the same for Seniors and Juniors.
4. 2018/19 Races
The women’s senior races are 5-7km and the Senior Men are 10-14km (I know what you are thinking.. how sexist, I know, the world of XC running is old school and something I hope to see change in the near future)
Kent League (£8 for the whole league entry. Deadline to enter is Sept 23rd 2018)
- Sat 13th October 2018 Beech Grove Academy, Nonnington - Invicta / Dartford Harriers AC
- Sat 27th October 2018 Somerhill School, Tonbridge - Tonbridge AC
- Sat 10th November 2018 Danson Park, Bexleyheath - Bexley AC (NO Senior Men)
- Sat 24th November 2018 Footscray Meadows, Sidcup - Cambridge Harriers AC (NO Senior Women)
- Sat 9th February 2019 TBC - Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC (Senior Men/Senior Women only)
Qualifying for County Champs: If you score high in the first Kent League race, you might be contacted to see if you want to compete in the XC race representing Kent.
London Championships (£6 Entries will open on 1st October and CLOSE on 29th October)
17th November 2018 @ Parliament Hill
- Senior Women 1.15pm
- Senior Men 2.00pm
- No Juniors at this event
To Qualify for Entry you must meet the following criteria:
“Qualifications The Championships shall be open to any first claim member of any club registered for cross country to England Athletics and whose headquarters is domiciled in the Greater London area plus any individual athlete provided that the individual is:
- he/she was born in the Greater London area. or
- has not less than one year’s bona fide residence in Greater London. Or
- has not less than one year’s continuous full-time employment in Greater London. or
- has not less than one year’s full-time attendance at an educational establishment in Greater
- London. and he/she is 17 or over on 1st September 2017. and
- is registered with England Athletics and
- team entries must be first claim members of that club. Anyone whose transfer has been approved by England Athletics but is ineligible for team competition may be entered as an individual.”
Kent Veterans (Entries will close on 29 th October).
2nd December at Central Park Dartford
Ladies must be over 35, and Men over 40 years old.
- 11.00 M50 – M59 – approx 9k
- 12.00 M60 – M69, M70+, W35 – W44, W45 – W54, W55 – W64 and W65 – approx. 5k
- 12.45 M40 – M49– approx 9k
- Entry qualification details must be provided: in column Qual:
B – Born within the KCAA administration and qualification area
C – Continuous County Qualification – not born in the KCAA qualification area but has competed in previous Kent County Championships
R – Residential Qualification - not born in the KCAA qualification area and not previously competed in a Kent County Championship but has obtained a minimum 9 month continuous residence in the County. If R is entered in the Qual column then the Place of Birth and Residential Date must be provided. For completeness of our County records some additional information may be requested for first time competing athletes. Further details of the KCAA administrative and qualification area and Kent County qualification requirements can be found on the T&C page of the KCAA website www.kcaa.org.uk
Kent County Cross Country Championships (Entries will Close on 25th November)
Saturday 6th January 2017
- Under 13 Girls 10.30 3100m
- Under 13 Boys 10.45 3400m
- Under 15 Girls 11.00 4150m
- Under 15 Boys 11.20 4450m
- Under 17/20 Women 11.40 5500m
- 12.00 Presentations for U13/15 races
- Under 17/20 Men 12.20 6500m
- Senior Men 12.45 12150m
- Senior Women 14.00 8450m
- 14.40 Presentations for U17/20/Senior races
More details regarding the course can be found on the KCAA website.
The Cross Country National Championships: 26th January 2019
Entries and Venue details TBC
It is compulsory to run in a Greenwich Tritons Vest for Cross Country. This is a rule that the club must obey set out by England Athletics. If you do not have a vest, unfortunately, you cannot run as a Greenwich Triton. You can buy these in the Kit Shop, and/or contact Julie Lockwood for further details and sizing, or you can try to borrow one. I bought iron on letters and have my name on the back of mine.. feel free to do the same!
Firstly, spikes… these are not compulsory but highly recommended. When running up or down wet, slippery hills, or on ground which has a lot of wet leaves or tree roots these can make you feel more stable. When the ground is like a mud bath then they won’t make a huge difference, or on the other end of the scale, if the ground is very dry, then even small spikes can feel uncomfortable. I personally like wearing spikes because it helps me feel in “race mode”! I strongly advice NOT to spend a fortune on them though… they will get very muddy and wet and you won’t want to feel precious about your feet during a race. Find a pair that is comfortable (I had to go up 2 shoe sizes, so be careful when buying online), and make sure they are for XC not for track running, the style and materials will be quite different. Try shopping in running specific shoe shops and Decathlon. Also good to have a some different size spikes (a short pair and a long pair). You won’t be getting a lot of mileage out of them each year compared to you normal road running shoes so always try to give them a good clean at the end of each season and they will last you years! (you will be grateful when you don’t have to put on crusty hard shoes come next season). Top Tip: I put a little Vaseline on the screws before turning them in to the shoe which makes it a lot easier when trying to change them.
If it is a very muddy race, make sure your shoes are on nice and tight! (Can also use gaffa tape to secure them on… yes, seriously!)
Trail shoes are also a good idea, these are good for dryer conditions, but if you don’t own spikes or are more comfortable in trails then will be fine for the muddier courses, many people much prefer them and will still give you good grip and ankle support.
Don’t wear your nice new white socks…!. Also bring old trainers or wellies for traipsing across the field to the tent or race HQ.
6. What to Bring:
- Tritons Vest Top
- Kent League Numbers: These will be given to you at your first race and must stay with you for the whole Kent League.
- Spare shoes/ wellies and spare socks!!
- Warm, waterproof jumper and change of clothes and a woolly hat is essential
- Drinks and food
- Wet-wipes for cleaning mud off
- Safety pins for pinning your number on
- Bin bag for wet kit
- Newspaper (to sit on in the car if it rains and to stuff your wet shoes with)
We will have a Greenwich Tritons Flag, so look out for that when arriving. We also have a small tent where you can leave bags, and if necessary get changed (although it is on the small side!). When you arrive at the venue, head straight to the Tritons flag, I will have your race number and details, you do not need to register or go to the HQ unless you want to see the course map. In the Kent League there are no timing chips. When you go through the finish, you will be given a chip which will have your position number on it. You must hold on to that, find me and I will write it down. The top 3 and top 6 women can score and the top 4 and top 12 men can score… so the more people we have out there running, the better and it does not matter how fast or slow you go. The same system is used in the Kent races. For the London and National Events, you will have a timing chip and a new number to pin on.
7. First Claim:
If you have been a previous member to England Athletics through a different club, then you might have to change your first claim if you wish to run for Greenwich Tritons first claim, OR, you can run as second claim for Greenwich Tritons (but will exclude you from running as a Triton at the Nationals) and request your EA membership to be renewed by your other club.
For more details, and to complete this you will need to do the following:
- Head to England Athletics website http://www.englandathletics.org/page.aspx?sitesectionid=454&sectionTitle=Club+Affiliation
- Download the form "Change first claim form"
- You will need to complete the form and send it to your old club’s secretary. This is your responsibility to chase this.
- Once this has been confirmed/ completed by the old club, you must send it to EA as instructed on the form. This should be a simple process; however, it can take several weeks,so please allow time for this
- Once you have had a confirmation you must let me know so I can update your details.