Yes we really are County Champions in both T&F and XC.
We must be doing something right.
Many thanks to the Stratford Herald for their continued support and coverage this year.
Short and sweet this week.
Firstly there is acknowledgement in this week’s Stratford Herald of our magnificent feat at being crowned County Champs at Cross Country to add to our County Championship win at T&F earlier in the year.
What a remarkable double.
We also have a couple of reports on the Hooky Christmas Canter, which sounds a lot of fun. There is also an early draft of Winter and early Spring XC and T&F fixtures plus quite a few photos from last Sunday’s Christmas Social Run on the Welcombe Hills.
Hopefully next week’s newsletter will be the annual Photo Special, that’s if I can condense our super SUAAC year in to my self imposed limit of 100 photos.
All ready for the Christmas Social run on the Welcombe Hills last Sunday
I don’t think the juniors’ got the memo about Sunday’s Run but a few hardy souls did turn up alongside St Nick Campbell.
Susan Hunt in her Christmas Pud running outfit.
Hooky Christmas Canter
Report – Susan Hunt
Hook Norton is one of my favourite places to race. It may “only” be a village; but it is home to the Hook Norton Harriers (as well as 3 pubs and a brewery) and therefore has 3 different annual races – The Firkin 5 (Summer trail race, based at the Brewery, starring aid station beers and a medal doubling as a bottle-opener), The Hooky 6 (Summer road race) and The Hooky Christmas Canter.
All three are great races and each time I’ve done the Christmas Canter I’ve run “in formation” with friends in fancy dress. We’ve been elves, penguins and puddings – and this year we ran as Christmas puddings for a 2nd time (mainly because we couldn’t be bothered to think of anything else).
Until I saw Max and Suzanne limbering up on the start line, I’d actually forgotten (in all my festive excitement) that it’s actually intended to be a race.
The pudding costumes provided excellent protection against the elements as we trotted around the frozen course at the pace of the slowest pud – which was luckily just about fast enough to prevent hypothermia from setting in.
The mulled wine stop was particularly welcome this year so we hung around it until they took the hint and offered us seconds.
Afterwards, we headed to the Sun Inn for an outstanding roast dinner (yes – they do serve puddings!)
Max and Suzie’s Christmas Canter
Report – Suzie Ross
We have been trying to get into the Hooky Christmas Canter for the last 3 years but due to its popularity it sells out in 24 hours. This year, with an inside tip off as to when the entries would open, we secured our spots, only to find out that the date clashed with SACs Christmas run.
Although the snow was starting to thaw, there was an artic wind on the Oxfordshire hills on Sunday morning which led to a lot of deliberation about what to wear ahead of the race.
Unfortunately, we hadn’t quite appreciated that fancy dress was basically mandatory and therefore looked a little out of place on the start line in our little yellow vests tucked between two Pigs in Blankets and a Parsnip.
The race itself was 7 miles, mainly off road with some noticeable undulations. The first 800m off road was up a very rutted, completely frozen, fairly steep hill which didn’t give me much confidence for the next 6 miles, however, footing improved and it was a fantastic course with some wonderful scenic Christmassy views.
Max, who was still suffering the aftereffects of his works Christmas do* opted to run with me. As romantic as I am sure running together sounds, conversation tends to be one sided as Max skips around at jogging pace and I struggle to breathe at full tilt. That said, we kept a consistent pace to finish 51st & 52nd , narrowly beating a man in dress but not good enough to beat the Minions who were my main target though out the race.
I commiserated with a cup of mulled wine and a free mince pie.
So, in short – a great, well supported & organised event to get you into the Christmas Spirit. Definitely one for the calendar next year.
*despite this, it should be noted that he still partook in the ‘Mulled Wine’ fuel stop at mile 5.
T&F/XC fixtures for 2023 Winter and early Spring
Below is the first draft of the T&F/XC fixtures for the 2023 Winter and early Spring period. It is subject to being tweaked and added to.
Post Christmas there is a continued busy programme of Cross Country and then there is the start of the Track and Field indoor season with a flurry of events but sadly none of which are local in the Midlands.
MCAA have informed clubs that “unfortunately we have no indoor facilites available. The Birmingham HPC is being taken over in the New Year by British Athletics and they will be making circa £2 million worth of refurbishments, so no access”.
Apart from the restrictions imposed on competition during Covid this is the first time I can recall no Midlands competitions being held. However there are Open competitions in Sheffield, London and Manchester to consider.
We will still be training hard to enable athletes who meet the England Athletics Indoor Championships qualifying standards and the Masters have their championships in February.
The Christmas Social Run and refreshments afterwards
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