Cross Country FAQ
Answers to a few of the common questions that people seem to have regarding cross country.
Will I need special equipment?
Not really, no. You will need to wear your Serpie vest and you may find it useful to buy a pair of cross country spikes (much cheaper than trainers) for when the ground is less firm. However, you will be able to make do with trainers for many of the events and you may find that you can borrow a pair of spikes for your first race.
What kind of spikes should I buy?
There aren't many makes to choose from and they're all pretty much the same design. Try a couple of makes on and get the ones which give a comfortable but quite tight fit (they stretch when they get wet). Most of the races we do require 12mm spikes, with 9mm being ok early in the season on dry courses. New shoes usually come with a set of 9s so you'll need to buy a set of 12s as well.
I'm new to the club and haven't got a Serpie vest yet. Can I collect one on the day?
To redeem your joining voucher for a club vest you should head to the kit room before race day. If you have only just joined and haven't had a chance to get to the Seymour Centre but want to run, contact the relevant team captain to see if it's possible to get hold of a vet on race day.
Will it be like cross country at school?
Most of the courses (with the exception of Wormwood Scrubs!) don't resemble a school playing field in any way and are often in really nice parks or the countryside.
How far are the races?
They vary from 4K to 8K for women and from 6K to 15K for men. Even though the distances may seem short to hardened long distance runners, running cross country is much harder work than running on roads and so you get a very effective workout for a relatively short distance. Because the courses are on grass it also gives your joints a rest.
I'm really slow, does it matter?
Some of the races are more suited to beginners than others, although you are more than welcome to come along to any of them. You'll probably find that there are others far slower than you.
Will I have to pay for my entry fees?
No – the club pays the fees for all of the races.
How will I get there?
All of the races are accessible by public transport and we always send out directions by e-mail (or by post on special request) a few days before each race. Most of the races are within easy travelling distance of London. It's generally easier to go by public transport than drive and it means you can come to the pub for a drink afterwards!
Will I get all wet and muddy?
I'll be really hungry and thirsty afterwards, will I be able to get some food and drink?
There is normally home-made cake after races courtesy of some of the Serpie runners (the baking competition is as serious as the racing!) In addition, a merry band of us always finds a pub serving food to go to after each race. It's therefore a great opportunity to meet others in the club and, if there's a fire, to dry your socks.
Where can I find more information?
The cross country race schedule is on the website. Please feel free to contact the Athletics Coordinator on the committee or one of the team captains. We're hoping to see lots of people at cross country this year and to build on the great team from last season.