Think of a cross-country match as an adventure! The race itself just a small part of it. We’ll gather in a tent in a corner of a field, somewhere in Wales, and as with all such adventures, it might rain all day, but we’re all helping each other, and the more horrible the conditions, the better you feel you’ve done. During the day, as well as warming up and running your own race, you’ll be out running about supporting the others, as well as passing the time at the back of the tent.
So what to pack? The main principle is to assume it’s going to be colder and wetter than you expected, you’re going to get sweaty and muddy and want to put warm dry stuff afterwards. Here’s a list of things to consider:
- Westbury vest, shorts (you really don’t want to race in long bottoms, which are heavy when wet, and hot on a fine day)
- Running spikes (if you’ve got them; do try a few training sessions in them before racing)
- Socks (cotton, or high percentage of cotton, because nylon socks are horrible for sport)
- Waterproof jacket and perhaps waterproof trousers
- Long-sleeve tops: I usually take a lightweight one for running around in, and a heavy, warm one for afterwards
- Leggings: you can get some great lightweight ‘tracksters’ for warming up in
- Warm coat, although if you have a couple of long sleeve tops on under a waterproof jacket, that would do as well
- Hat and gloves; if you wear glasses, a cap is useful to keep the rain off them
- Dry spares for afterwards: T-shirt, warm sweatshirt or hoodie, socks, perhaps spare tracksuit bottoms and dry shoes
- A small towel
- Wellies – some people like these, because they keep your feet dry and hence warm, while others stick to heavy duty trainers.
- Food and drink, both water/sports drink and a thermos with a hot drink.
- Plastic carrier bags to put wet kit and muddy shoes in, and a big bin liner to put your bag in if it’s really wet.
- And most importantly of all: a sense of humour!