Cross-country runs

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

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Cross-country runs

Post by LongGone »

I have vivid memories of slogging across clay fields, even swimming across a river, always with the temperature under 5 and with rain falling at a 45 degree angle. They seemed to last forever, but does anyone have an idea of how long they really were?
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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by Ajarn Philip »

This post, like the cross-country runs it refers to, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and if the Mods have any remaining shred of compassion they'll delete it immediately.

Some boys were designed for such activity (the Sean Phelans of this world in my era), but for those of us built for strength rather than stamina, for short, sharp bursts rather than sustained effort, the cross-country run was sheer torture.

I have a mental compartment in which I can lock away my worst memories. It has now been breached by LongGone, and cross-country runs are now free to invade my thoughts at any moment.

From what I remember, we ran down the back road past Peele, past Shelley's Wood, then over a style (?) and up Sharpenhurst Hill... I don't remember anything after that, and I'm sure there are a number of good reasons for this.

Trying to be objective about this topic, they were probably no more than 3-4 miles and almost certainly less frequent than I imagine. LongGone's memories of the weather, however, are accurate, and this helped make them seem interminable.
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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by Great Plum »

In the 1990s, there were two versions of the steeplechase (junior and senior)

They both started at the 1st XI cricket pavilion, over Peele Bridge, down Peele Straight and then up the footpath across the field to the church at Itchingfield. Then it was left. The junior course then turned left at itchingfield school before you ran along the road to Shelley Wood which you slipped your way through before out again and back up Peele Straight to the pavilion.

The senior steeplechase continued along a driveway (which I think leads to muntham house school) before turning left along a footpath which took you to the back of Sharpenhurst. Then it was over the summit of the hill, down through the bluebell wood before running by the railway line until Peele Bridge and crossing back into the school.

These days, the don’t run it outside the ring fence so I assume they must just run around big side or something...
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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by scrub »

Oh god, the steeplechases, definitely not a prop's best friend and insisting that the whole school ran them just seemed pointless and a touch cruel.

I remember that the start was a mass sprint and pretty soon after the pack split into the people who could run and the rest, a mass of smokers coughs, gasps for breath, and a lot of "stuff this, why bother?".

As for how long, I'd guess a couple of miles which for me was about an hour of walking and a bit of jogging with the obligatory 50M sprint at the start and finish to avoid a bollocking for not appearing to put enough (or any) effort in to it. On an inclement day that would definitely feel longer. That's just my hazy memory of the things though.
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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by J.R. »

To be honest, I can't remember them !

Must be a mental block-out.
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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by loringa »

Ah yes, cross-country - the default setting for any wet afternoon when the games pitches were OOB.

I certainly remember the mud of Shelley's Wood and slogging up (or down) Sharpenhurst in the pouring rain - all very unpleasant. Once, and only once, I decided to give the Sharpenhurst bit a miss and wait it out in Shelley's Wood. The law of sod being what it is this must have been the only time a master ever decided to follow the runners and I was awarded a 'drill' as a punishment. This made Chief Bradley very happy indeed and I am sure he had me running many more laps of the station loop than my crime truly warranted.

I can honestly say that I have never, ever gone running for pleasure.

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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by LongGone »

loringa wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:45 pm
I can honestly say that I have never, ever gone running for pleasure.
Apart from a quick jog to the pub :-)
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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by Straz »

I heard a tale of a certain fellow pupil who was forced to participate in one of the aforementioned cross-country runs during the early 1970s.
He became a cropper on the treacherous mud in Shelley's Wood, slipped and fell badly, doing himself a very nasty injury in the process.
It was so serious that I believe he was taken to Horsham hospital - not the sicker - for treatment.
He was carted off to hospital in his muddy running gear. All his dirty clothes were removed, never to be seen again, and he was given a pair of paper pants as an emergency piece of attire.
Unfortunately the paper pants proved woefully inadequate in a key area. That's because a number of young attractive female nurses were caring for him, and in response to their administrations he, er, often rose to the occasion, ripping the paper pants in the process.
Naturally this was rather embarrassing, and an urgent call was issued to his friends to bring some stout CH pants to his bedside, asap.
Or so the story goes...
Last edited by Straz on Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by alterblau »

THE STEEPLECHASE, in the 1950s

How sadistic to make the whole school run in The Steeplechase in the 1990s!

In the 1950s each house had to enter a team and the rest gathered at the end (eastern end of the quarter mile) in time to greet the winners. This engendered much more ‘house spirit’ than the forced general participation of the 1990s described above. I don’t know the detailed route, for luckily I was never chosen to compete. But it included running down Sharpenhurst, some of which most could see from afar. Of the winners I recollect only two names; John Kenworthy (Mid A) and Anthony Millwood (Ba A). (Those with access to The Blue could list other winners’ names if they wish.) There was a cup too, displayed in the winning team’s house for a year.

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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by jhopgood »

alterblau wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:11 am
THE STEEPLECHASE, in the 1950s

How sadistic to make the whole school run in The Steeplechase in the 1990s!

In the 1950s each house had to enter a team and the rest gathered at the end (eastern end of the quarter mile) in time to greet the winners. This engendered much more ‘house spirit’ than the forced general participation of the 1990s described above. I don’t know the detailed route, for luckily I was never chosen to compete. But it included running down Sharpenhurst, some of which most could see from afar. Of the winners I recollect only two names; John Kenworthy (Mid A) and Anthony Millwood (Ba A). (Those with access to The Blue could list other winners’ names if they wish.) There was a cup too, displayed in the winning team’s house for a year.
Same in my time. I seem to remember the Blissett twins from Lamb winning it together on one occasion.
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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by sejintenej »

jhopgood wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:01 am
alterblau wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:11 am
THE STEEPLECHASE, in the 1950s

How sadistic to make the whole school run in The Steeplechase in the 1990s!
AFAIR it was everyone in my day. Torture.
Same in my time. I seem to remember the Blissett twins from Lamb winning it together on one occasion.
Yes; they even trained for the steeplechase and had special shoes which nobody else could find let alone afford.

Reference the routes, I seem to recall getting to Barnes Green a few times.
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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by Pe.A »

scrub wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:55 am
Oh god, the steeplechases, definitely not a prop's best friend and insisting that the whole school ran them just seemed pointless and a touch cruel.

I remember that the start was a mass sprint and pretty soon after the pack split into the people who could run and the rest, a mass of smokers coughs, gasps for breath, and a lot of "stuff this, why bother?".

As for how long, I'd guess a couple of miles which for me was about an hour of walking and a bit of jogging with the obligatory 50M sprint at the start and finish to avoid a bollocking for not appearing to put enough (or any) effort in to it. On an inclement day that would definitely feel longer. That's just my hazy memory of the things though.
LOL. It was surprising how many people had delusions of grandeur at the beginning...

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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by scrub »

Pe.A wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:03 pm
scrub wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:55 am
Oh god, the steeplechases, definitely not a prop's best friend and insisting that the whole school ran them just seemed pointless and a touch cruel.

I remember that the start was a mass sprint and pretty soon after the pack split into the people who could run and the rest, a mass of smokers coughs, gasps for breath, and a lot of "stuff this, why bother?".

As for how long, I'd guess a couple of miles which for me was about an hour of walking and a bit of jogging with the obligatory 50M sprint at the start and finish to avoid a bollocking for not appearing to put enough (or any) effort in to it. On an inclement day that would definitely feel longer. That's just my hazy memory of the things though.
LOL. It was surprising how many people had delusions of grandeur at the beginning...
More like delusions of fitness and a lot of blood rushing to a lot of heads :lol: .
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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by sejintenej »

loringa wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:45 pm
Ah yes, cross-country - the default setting for any wet afternoon when the games pitches were OOB.

I can honestly say that I have never, ever gone running for pleasure.
Ditto here - I am not a masochist. that said I was a semi-pro doing cross country skiing up to 100 miles a day and very occasionally sleeping in snow holes when fit. That was long ago
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Re: Cross-country runs

Post by Otter »

I remember Mike Gladding sending us off down Peele Straight while he stayed in his Mini and caught up from time to time, telling us to go faster.
Great Plum wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 7:24 am
The senior steeplechase continued along a driveway (which I think leads to muntham house school)
Well I've learnt something. Had no idea there was another school with large grounds hidden in the countryside so close to CH.

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