Cross Country Leagues
This season we are competing in two county wide Cross Country Leagues; the Kent League on Saturdays, and the Kent Fitness League on Sunday mornings.
All Dartford Road Runners are welcome to take part in both leagues. The Kent Fitness Team is managed by Vic Withey, all other events are managed by Steve Jarvis.
Kent League and Kent Fitness League
The Kent Fitness League is a non elite, seven race, cross country league run over a choice of seven out of eight venues. Any male capable of running a sub 34 minute 10K, lady sub 38 minute, is allowed to run but not to score.
The league consists of eighteen clubs of which we consistently field the largest amount of runners. There are 10 runners to score in each team. Points are scored generally by the first seven men, but one has to be over 40 and another over 50, plus 3 ladies with at least one being over 35.
All races are approximately 5 miles long and all of them start at 11.00 on a Sunday morning. For comprehensive details of the league including statistics, rules, venues etc, visit the Canterbury Harriers website.
In comparison the Kent League is open to all clubs affiliated to KCAA and everyone is eligible to run. The league is run on Saturdays and the races are split into age and sex categories. The league spans four races for all categories spread over five meetings. The senior men race over approximately 10km with the women running about 5km.
Kent Fitness League
This is another good race, set in the historic Knole Park, this is one of the hardest of the series. The race starts flat and fast for about 400 metres before turning sharp left up a steep 100 metre hill.
At the top it flattens slightly but still going uphill before opening up again with about a 1200 metre hill and you have the choice of running on the stone pathway or, if you prefer, on the grass if you are wearing spikes.
After the hill it descends steeply before heading home along the valley. However they then throw in a nasty, short but steep hill and a muddy wooded section before another steep descent towards the start. Then the course turns right and back up the first hill for the second lap.
Lovely setting, easy parking at the sevenoaks sports centre, but it's a ten minute walk to the start. Hard race due to the hills, but definitely worth the effort.
This race is traditionally held on Remembrance Sunday and starts with a respectful silence.
A now well used venue for Cross Country with both the Kent League and Kent Schools using the park.
Thanks to the imagination of Mike Baron there is always a different course for the different races. Last year there were 473 runners and this is always the best supported race of the season. The course is a good mixture of open parkland, narrow woodland paths and a challenging hill and is usually a two lap course taking in the two main features of the park, the large pond and the scenic railway. The park always appears to offer an easy race, but the wet autumn grass can easily take it's toll on the legs.
A good race, with good facilities such as a cafe on site. There is adequate parking but with such large fields it is worth getting there early. Fortunately for us another nice and local race.
This race is organised by Swanley and District AC.
Deal Tri, the newest club in the league, are the hosts for this race. Unfortunately for us its the longest trip of the year, but for our friends in East Kent it gives them a short trip for a change.
This venue is a recent addition to the series and has only been used twice, both times as an alternative to Avery Hill.
The course is undulating and twisting around the country park that was once a mining site. The last race in 2010 saw the course covered with snow making going very demanding and undulating with short very sharp hills and lots of twists and turns.
A great venue with plenty of parking, and a large cafe for changing and warming up in afterwards.
The weather always seems to be very cold for this race perhaps because it is on the side of Shooters Hill has something to do with that!
This race starts on a wide flat grassy field next to the old A2, but soon turns uphill towards the cafe then immediately down again before turning into the woods. This twisty section can be very muddy, before turning up a very steep hill then down and up again several times.
You then come out of the woods up a short killer of a hill behind the cafe and down into the second wooded section. This, once you have descended back to the starting level, can also be very wet and muddy. It then returns to the opening field and starts the second lap, finishing where it starts with a fast flat finish.
This excellent race is organised by Plumstead Runners. There is plenty of parking along the old A2. There is a cafe so an after race cuppa is always readily available.
For many this is a true Cross Country; grassy fields, muddy fields, woodland, uphill, downhill, and a water splash!
This course starts flat and narrow for 100 metres before turning right downhill then very undulating on soft grass.
There are also a couple of twisty wooded sections and muddy stretches on the outside of farmers fields. It's two laps finishing with a fast 100 metre flat finish back to where it started.
This is cross country at it's best, challenging and interesting. The parking is plentiful if a bit muddy sometimes, and the facilities are excellent, and the setting with the beautiful Nurstead Church at the end of the lane is absolutely beautiful. An event organised by Gravesend RR.
Run along the edge of the sea, this is probably the flattest and the longest at about 6 miles, but definitely not the easiest race.Being so close to the coast it can also be the most windy and coldest.
Depending on the tides you either start on the beach or the grass. You run out behind the sea wall for two and a half miles on what can be very wet and muddy grass before turning left away from the sea then left again on more solid ground towards home.
However, the sting in the tail comes on the way back when they send you through five ditches, which, depending on the weather can be at least a metre deep with water. Towards the finish you run up and over four sand dunes to a flat finish.
This race has a flat start around a football field with one and a half laps about three quarters of a mile long, and fairly mundane to start with but at least it stretches the field out before you go into the woods where the fun begins.
About two hundred metres flat twisty and narrow, before opening out downhill, then uphill, then downhill, you're getting the picture! It's an out and back along the first wooded mile before you run a loop through the woods, before returning to the flat field for a 500 metre run in to the finish. Thankfully not all the way around the field, but straight to the finish!
A nice race, good venue can be muddy and wet in the woods, about a hour away and parking is generally in the streets and can be a little tight. No facilities in the field, but the race HQ is in the village hall. Always worth the journey down and well organised by our friends from Canterbury Harriers.
A good race, excellent parking, toilets, and a good cafe. Interesting and challenging course and, about an hour away.
This race is organised by Thanet Roadrunners.