South Yorkshire Cross Country #3 – Campsall

A foggy November Sunday morning a yellow car full of Sheffield RC girls make the hefty pilgrimage to Campsall Park north of Donny (Doncaster) to run round in some mud. Why? 

Ey up, lets get down wi’ t’ mud

This was a proper cross country course I will let you know,  with real mud, real logs, real water, real bogs, real spikes, real footpaths, real woodlands and real leaves. Everything about this course was real apart from some really big hills. Really?

For the women we had 1 small lap through some woodland back out on the field and up again and then 2 larger laps taking on a couple of fields a wider path then more mud, a 2 foot deep bog, a stile and back round the woodland to the field and then do it all over again. Why? That’s cross country for you.

The women’s race began a few minutes past 12. With a few ‘guest speakers’ (guest runners) including what’s-her-name thingamabob we were quickly off the mark.

A narrow start down a footpath led way for muddy conditions. Once at the bottom of the hill the runners spread out somewhat and through the pretty woodland we ran. It wasn’t too muddy at this stage just the crunching of the autumnal leaves could be heard from far far away. This first lap was a short one and before we could shout ‘grease lightning’ we were in the playing field just left to clamber up the hill back to the start area.

Round we all went again this time a ‘large lap’. Once at the bottom of the first hill the route directed us the other way through more pretty wonderful woodland. That was only 1 mile done as we hurdled the natural log and headed up onto another field where a photographer was in great shot.

Down a squidgy banking we all ran I was enjoying this course, not too hard, not too soft, a handful of mixed terrain. Onto a wide limestone pathway we all crunched our spikes clinging to the ground with a few heaps of mud but nothing to slow us down too much.

She who play in mud puddles in white socks can not expect to be clean Tanya Radie

But we ran too soon as we hit more woodland and the big clumps of mud. Why is it that the first muddy section is always the hardest to run straight through?  Man up girl and get dirty! Someone overtook me as I struggled to sap the legs out of the mud but soon clawed back the girl and went on my merry way.

Onto pastures new – a crop field, squelch squelch we went.  Flat and furious, to the other side where we met a stile. On the first lap I jumped over the stile, but instantly knew this was a bad move, as a girl squeezed through the small gap at the side and got me. I wasn’t having any of this, as I fought back through the forestry way and jumped into the nice-looking potentially 2 feet deep waterlogged boggy hole. Gotta.

Back onto the grassy muddy park I ploughed up the hill to take over a few more. Lots of encouragement from the guys at the start again. ‘ow do fellow’s.

The sea of mud was getting squelchier as over 100 girls made their way around the second lap. The spikes came in more than useful – how did I really live without spikes in my distant past?

Keep calm and wear 2 inches of mud

Across the meadows, we all squelched further. Right of the stile, I went, squeezing through the gap in order to not lose a place or two.

Through the bog-like swamp again, three of us swam, as the feet got a nice bath. With luxurious soggy feet I pressed on ahead looking at my next victim a Hallamshire and Totley girl.

By now the grassy section was like mashed up spinach. The final stretch was just perfect enough to sap the energy out of the legs. However, I was still feeling remarkably energetic in order to keep my position after overtaking Totlely and Hallamshire in the dark dark woods.

I was running for the finishing line battling just with myself refusing to be beaten and looking forward to the cake at the end. The end.

Cakes are just another reminder to stop.

Post-race we stood about cheering in the other girls and watching the guys go round and round and round – I would like to say sometimes it has an advantage being a girl but I would like to have a go at a near on 10km cross country event. It could be my definition of ‘fun’.

With reight good cake at the end this made it a reight good day out, a mere muddy 4 miles, maybe slightly different to the 84 miles I ran 7 days previous at the Druids Challenge. That’s no excuse for whatever performance I performed. All in the name of the Runnable Variety Performance Show.


  • Time: 29.07
  • Position: 19th out of 125


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