After several winter seasons being interrupted by illness and injury, this year I have ran in all 4 races of the Womens Midlands Cross Country League.
I have always loved XC but the strength and stamina of knees, hips and ankles has evaded me. Thankfully this season, persistence in my gym strengthening sessions seems to have worked (who would have thought it.) Since November there have been four races, all varying 6-7km for the senior women.
The Races in 2023 were like chalk and cheese: January on a boggy, windy, cold and wet Aldridge airport (that somehow managed to have inclines chucked in). And Feb on a dry, flat course in mild temperatures at Coombe Abbey, Coventry. The worst obstacle on this was 200+ sheep stampeding across the course on several occasions! My mum came to cheer us on too which was lovely, as a former XC runner herself, she loves spectating now. With the course being so flat and dry around farmland, the pace was quick. The last 200m or so we ran parallel with the drive onto the estate under a great avenue of trees with bulbs just starting to come through on the ground. A definite sign that spring is coming!
I know muddy cross country isn’t for everyone, but I love it and if you haven’t ever tried it, I really recommend giving it a go. It’s a license to get covered in mud and you have to really dig in at the hills which I think is good strength and resilience training physically and mentally. Plus I find having the races over winter really motivating for getting out in dark evenings, when the sofa and fire look very appealing!
Although we are coming to the end of the XC season now, I’m always happy to help/answer questions anyone might have.