In September 2017, Coach Parkes will be holding cross-country practices from 4:45 – 6:00PM every Thursday evening for the Ratcliffe Senior School. Each week training will consist of one of the following: long runs through the outlining fields to work on building endurance; interval workouts on the track and through the grounds of Ratcliffe to work on pace and speed; and hill workouts for strength. Add to that, core strengthening exercises at the end of each practice and the Team will be looking fierce. We will continue to build on the progress we have made this past season and, with some up and coming brilliant Prep School racers moving onto the Senior School in September, I have no doubt that Ratcliffe will be battling it out with the best XC teams in the county!
The Secondary Schools XC League consists of five league races held between September and January, along with a separate relay championships and Schools’ County Championships. These dates have not yet been released. The races are hosted by different schools across the County. There is also the National XC Race for Year 7′s to participate, which will be held on Saturday, the 24th of March 2018.
Athletes compete in four age groups: Year 7′s, Juniors (Years 8 & 9), Intermediates (Years 10 & 11) and Seniors (Years 12 & 13). Athletes in all age groups compete for both individual and school team titles. In the individual competition the best four results from the five league races count towards the championships. In the team competition, the number of athletes required to make a team varies depending on age group: Year 7 and Junior Girls – 4 athletes; Year 7 and Junior Boys – 6 athletes; Intermediate and Senior Girls and Boys – 3 athletes. The cumulative score of all of the athletes in the team make up the team score for each race, with the best four races counting as in the individual competition.
In the Junior, Intermediate, and Senior age groups there are eight selection places available for the Leicestershire & Rutland team to compete in the English Schools Championships in March each year. The top three athletes from the League Races will automatically be selected. The top three athletes in the Schools’ County Championships will also be selected. The remaining places will be decided upon by performances across the season: in the league, county championships, and if held, inter-county races.
Races at secondary level are not run with hares, but course maps are available on the morning of the event and the courses will be open for athletes to walk around so that they are familiar with the route. The first race starts at 10.30AM with the Year 7 Girls age group. Each race then follows at approximately 10-15 minute intervals.
The league has seen some tremendous athletes over the past 40 years and a number have gone on to represent county, country and Great Britain, including Ratcliffe Alumni, Sam Stabler, who will be helping train our Ratcliffe Senior XC Team.
Myself and Sam are looking forward to a great 2017-2018 XC season. We will make training nights challenging and fun with the aim of making sure our Team is fully prepared when they step up to start line on race days