Reepham XC 2024

Oh so clean before!

Reepham Cross Country has a special place in my heart.  I first ran it in 2017, not long after I’d started running the 10K distance, and on a few occasions I was joined by my oldest son, Milo, for the first lap before completing the second lap on my own.  I have some very special memories of this event and it’s also my nearest so I get a lovely lie in!

Juniors run one 5K lap at this event and seniors run 2 laps.  The course starts and ends at Whitwell Station, Reepham, and takes in sections of Marriott’s way, with copious amounts of mud, water and sections across private land that usually isn’t accessible to the public.  This event isn’t for everyone.  It seems to be very marmite.  For me, and Michelle who I ran with, it’s one of our favourite events, but if you don’t like getting dirty your pristine-white RntS vest then it’s best to avoid!

The course begins with a 1K stretch of Marriotts Way which is fairly easy going.  Flat and firm. Runners are then directed down a bank and into a stenchy bog, making their way along and navigating unseen obstacles below such as branches and divots.  Be sure to tie your laces tight as I have seen trainers go missing in the past!  This does create quite a bottleneck so there is usually a little wait at this point for runners towards the back of the pack.

This year’s route was different to previous years’ due to the heavy rainfall of late, so rather than crossing the river immediately, it was back onto Marriotts Way before meandering across fields, through a ‘pond’ and over the water at a shallower and narrower point.  This was the area where we began to get lapped by faster runners, mainly due to the queuing at the first water section.  After a little further distance it’s a wade along the river, ducking under bridges, before heading up the steepest part of the course, past the caravan park, across the main road and then back downhill along the edge of a field parallel to the roadside.  This was where I made a severe misjudgement!  Occasionally being lapped by faster runners who were almost at the finish, I jumped out of the way of one and begun running in the rough at the side of the field.  Next thing I know I’ve caught my leg in a bramble! Now those of you who know me well will know that I am very clumsy and therefore I’ve become adept at falling over.  With a swift roll onto my back to break my fall I found myself lying on my back shouting, ‘I’m still alive!’  Poor Michelle wasn’t sure what was happening however I’m very grateful she didn’t laugh!

I jumped straight up, thankfully not too hurt in the moment, and we made our way back to the station, past Mark who was providing super support and off on our second lap.  Here we even bumped into Marie who was out on a long run in the opposite direction.  Lovely to see another friendly face.  It was while queuing for the stinky bog on lap 2 that someone behind me pointed out I had cut my leg.  It must’ve been the brambles from when I tripped up as my leg was very scratched and bloody.  It looked more dramatic than it was but I decided, on Michelle’s advice, that it was best not to go through the water sections with an open wound.  While Michelle made her way through, I bypassed the water and got a temporary clean up from the First Aid crew and then we set off to complete our second lap.

Avoiding the water meant I had to jump across the river this time instead of dropping in.  I made it but the momentum was too much and I ended up on the floor again!  Michelle is very good though as she still didn’t laugh!  No more drama ensued and we completed the race in good spirits.  The weather was so mild compared to previous years that we were actually able to sit on the platform, grab a photo with other RntS (except Cam – I think he was getting food!), and watch others finish.  In past years my hands have been so cold at the end that it was difficult to even get changed afterwards.  I’m not going to lie, I do miss getting a medal or memento at the end but, due to sustainability concerns, the club had decided to plant a tree for every runner instead this year.

This is a great race and I’d recommend everyone give it a try, or at least come and watch. It’s different and fun, and Reepham Runners put on a great event with friendly marshals and good organisation.

Vikki P

Official Results:

Cat C 1:10:50.0
Bob L 1:10:50.3
Cam 1:10:56.0
Michelle 1:32:55.1
Vikki 1:32:58.3