Just a wee post with a very small look at increases in participation in cross country running over the last ten or so years.
It's been a bumper year so far for runner numbers, mostly in the number of women running, and we've only just had two events so far in the NEHL 2017-18 season. I've taken a look at just the Wrekenton fixture, and here are the numbers of finishers recorded since 2006, so this doesn't include people who may have started but dropped out before crossing the finish line for whatever reason.
We of course saw a big jump with the addition of u11s races at Wrekenton in 2014 (we did have u11s at other fixtures from 2012 in mixed sex races), but this year we have seen a record number of both male and female runners at this event.
The biggest increase is in the ladies race, with a jump of over 100 runners this is only 4 short of the total number of all the female runners from years 2006 to 2011 combined.
It's perhaps a combination of parkrun, the Olympic London 2012 effect, and social media pushing the idea that 'This Girl Can', but I'm pleased to say that it's not just the lasses, the lads numbers are on the rise too which can only be a good thing.
I ran my first xc as an adult returning to running in 2005. It was at Chester le Street, and I was told by Michael Bunn, that xc was mandatory as a club runner (lol), so off I trooped down the the Riverside. No spikes (borrowed some from one of the juniors), didn't have a club vest (borrowed one from one of the senior men who had ran in it), and off I went. I loved every minute of it, even though the vest was minging, I decided to come back again.
It's a combination of a social, a challenge, and a chance to have a bit of fun in the mud.
Hopefully every one of those extra folks who turned out at Wrekenton this season thought the same thing and decide to come back for more.