CC Relays more popular than ever

A total of 2869 athletes completed their leg in the Saucony Cross Country Relays at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield this year as the event continues to grow.

This record total which any Cross Country meeting would be pleased with leave alone a Relay was notched up as the event was staged for the 25th time at Mansfield and the 27th overall. The first two were held in the grounds of Crystal Palace – the first in 1985.

The date now for the event, early in the Cross Country calendar means that athletes can have a good test over a comparatively short course compared with a normal length one and at Berry Hill Park they get a cleverly built, well prepared course which gives the athlete of all standards a good test.

Record size fields were achieved this year in five of the ten races that took place with a mammoth 189 teams taking part in the Senior Men’s 4 x 5K event (just 9 teams down on last years record). In the Senior Women’s event 120 teams started just 2 off the record.

It is the younger age groups where growth continues; both the under 13 Girls and under 13 Boys showed improved numbers with 100 and 96 teams starting respectively. These numbers do cause problems at the first take-overs as over a 2K leg the runners are not spread out enough to allow a clear hand over. The officials are continually giving thought to improving things here but occasionally things go wrong for the odd runner or two which is regrettable.

The under 15 girls race also had a record field with 114 starting and though some clubs can’t field full teams, especially where B & C teams are involved in this race 96 completed the 3 legs. The under 17 Women’s race was up with 72 teams starting and 60 completing, while on the male side the Junior Men also had 72 starting with a record 58 finishing full teams.

Other races with numbers just a few off their record were Junior Women – 44 starting and 26 teams finishing 3 legs, under 15 Boys – 105 starting 81 finishing, and under 17 Men – 89 starting 70 finishing.

So a highly successful event with top quality racing which athletes want to attend.