2016/17 Newcomers - Spa Striders (13/09/2016)
Published: 13 Sep 2016
Another new club will be seen this season in the many shapes and sizes of members of Spa Striders from Leamington. Their club colours are a green vest with a broad red hoop. Dan Stannard is their Team Manager and here he gives us a brief insight to the club and it's aspirations.
"Spa Striders is a sociable and friendly running club based in Leamington Spa. The origins of the club are long forgotten (sometime in the 1980s), but the club now boast a diverse membership of around 150 seniors and masters (no juniors) with particularly strong female age group runners and increasingly competitive men’s teams.
The ladies last year won promotion to Division 1 in their second season in the Midlands Women’s Cross Country League with the Women’s Masters finishing in second place.
A highlight of the club’s calendar is always the Cotswold Hilly 100 relays for which we entered five teams in all this year. The club also takes great pride in our performances in the Warwickshire Road Race League, our noisy supporters and baking skills.
The Club’s chair is James Civil. Club sessions run five nights per week, plus informal groups and specialist session at the weekend. In recent years the club has introduced a number of schemes to encourage new runners, including: 10 weeks to 10k and Club Ready, which are designed to help new runners make the transition into the regular weekly sessions.
The Men’s CC team is managed by Dan Stannard. Our main goal for this season is to field a full team every month and if we can’t match the ladies success, we at least hope to match their enthusiasm. In recent weeks the club facebook page has seen several enquires about ‘the best spikes’, though none yet about ‘the best facepaints’."
2016/17 Newcomers - Kings Heath Running Club (31/08/2016)
Published: 31 Aug 2016
The 2016/17 season sees three new clubs join the League. These are - City Of Birmingham Striders, Kings Heath Running Club and Spa Striders. We welcome them and wish them well for the season.
We have asked each of the clubs for an introduction and some background to their activities and what they hope to get from the competition that the League provides. We begin with Kings Heath RC. Mike Green from that club takes up the story:-
"Hello from KHRC!
Kings Heath Running Club was set up in September 2010 by a small group of people who wanted to be able to run safely in Kings Heath in the winter months. Since then, we have developed the range and depth of our running enormously. Our foundation is in welcoming beginners to a supportive and friendly running community. We're starting to complement this by building a faster and more competitive element. We're developing coaching in the club, with four of our members working towards CiRF qualification. Our greatest competitive success has been at the Whale Ale/Run for Beer relay in Stratford, where we have entered 10 teams and dominated the prizes two years running.
The Club is chaired and captained by Barbara Partridge. Our club colours are an orange lion's head on a black vest - hence the club nickname the Lions. In the main our members come from South Birmingham, with most living in the Kings Heath and Moseley areas. Since the club formed, over 1,200 people have run with us. Roughly 50% of those who participate in our weekly runs are paid-up members. We have approximately 120 paid-up members but many more run with us regularly: in the interests of inclusivity we allow anyone to run with us, for as long as they like, for free. our male/female balance is about 50-50. all our runners are over 18 - we don't have a juniors section.
Our women run in the MCAA Cross Country League, with our women’s Masters finishing mid-table last season. Before gaining admission to the league we have entered full men’s teams in the 6 stage Road Relays, the Cross Country Relays, the 5 & 7 Mile Championships, the Warwickshire Championships, the Midland Championships, and the National Championships. The consistently high standard of our Cross Country picnics has been noted.
The men's XC team is managed by Mike Green, (in the green jacket in the Cross Country team picture), who runs with the team when injury permits. The club's 'A' goal is to field fully teams throughout our inaugural season, The 'B' goal is to not come last - but come what may, we intend to thoroughly enjoy our racing."
The athletes pictured above, from left to right, are: Back Row (standing) - Greg Robson, Steve Twomlow, Stu Thomas, Peter Evans, Paul Jolliffe, Simon Dix, Sean Phillips, Ian Mackenzie. Front Row, (kneeling) - Darren Salmons, Mike Green, Paul Daymond, Dave Johnson.
Presidential Background (01/09/2016)
Published: 1 Sep 2016
As the season approaches we take the opportunity to get the 2016/17 League President, Bob Hughes, to introduce himself:-
"My involvement in athletics started in the winter of 1983 when I went to watch my nephew Steven who was 11 at the time compete in a Cubs cross country race on Cannock Chase finishing in second place. My response was to take him to Rowley Park to do some regular training (Steven still holds the Under 13 Boys 1500 metres club record of 4.43.3), I was soon asked by Stafford Athletic Club to join them and take up coaching seriously which I agreed to do. In 1985 Stafford A. C. were approached by Cannock Chase Athletic Club to consider an amalgamation between the two clubs which the athletic side of the club favoured but the road runners did not, leading to the road runners leaving to form their own club which later became Stafford Harriers. The new club Cannock and Stafford Athletic club went from strength to strength over the next twenty five years regularly contesting the main finals of the Young Athletes league at the Alexander Stadium until the closure of the Cannock track in 2010 which hit the club hard in terms of membership from the southern part of Staffordshire.
The role of the Birmingham Cross Country League has been for many years a stepping stone for many of our senior athletes who having progressed from the younger age cross country leagues continued their move to the higher level of competition leading on to National and International level not only at cross country but track success as well, one Spencer Duval a C&S athlete a winner of the Birmingham league on several occasions went on to represent Great Britain at the highest level in the steeplechase so proving the tradition of the league is a great start out for our future champions.
My involvement with the Birmingham League started with the amalgamation taking over as cross country team manager for all the age groups and continuing to do so to this day, on race days I delegate the job of completing the envelope to one of the parents while I on the day fulfil the role of timekeeper which I have done for the past five or six years.
My role as President of the League for the forthcoming season is a great honour for me and I will do all that is required of my position to serve the league in the best way I can,, making sure that the Birmingham League remains one of the strongest leagues in the country. I would like to thank all the clubs who are hosting a meeting this season because without their willingness to host, the league could not survive, also a big thanks go out to all the officials who give their time and experience! and again without them the league would cease to exist.
I intend to visit the first race at Cheltenham with Division 1, then Division 2 at Stratford followed by Division 3 at Droitwich then back to Division 1 for the final meeting hosted by Kenilworth."
Published: 13 Aug 2016
AGM Minutes Archive - Update & Appeal (03/03/2016)
Published: 3 Mar 2016
We have recently added a number of copies of old minutes from the various AGM's of the League to the archives.
These are available here.
We find that we are however missing a set from the year 2000 (the 75th AGM).
If anyone has a paper copy and can provide us with a photocopy and/or a scanned copy we would be most grateful. If anyone has electronic copies of the original "Word" or "PDF" documents that would be even better.
We have now also added the second minute book of the League. Minute Book No.2
2016 AGM Minutes (21/08/2016)
Published: 21 Aug 2016
The Minutes from this years AGM held in April can be found here. AGM Minutes
Dave McNamee R.I.P. - Amnesty International Donations (12/08/2016)
Published: 13 Aug 2016
Following the recent death of Dave McNamee in June a sum of £482.01p was raised for Amnesty International, the charity nominated by his family for donations. His family pass on their grateful thanks.
Betty Downs RIP (28/07/2016)
Published: 28 Jul 2016
We are saddened to learn of the death this week of former President Betty Downs of Birchfield Harriers. She had been a member of Birchfield for over 50 years, having previously competed for Lozells Harriers. She worked as a track judge at numerous meetings, and had been at a young athletes league meeting last Sunday, the day before her death at the age of 82.
Robert Ashwood Memorial Fund
Published: 9 Jul 2016
The Robert Ashwood Memorial Fund (RAMF) was setup after the death of Robert (Bob) Ashwood in August 2013 to continue Bob’s prolific work in supporting and developing British Junior and U23 Middle and Long Distance Athletes.
Bob was a well-respected and well known coach achieving great success in his short life. He started coaching athletes when he was just 16 years old and continued until his aggressive illness brought his time to an end. He was a man of many skills. He taught enthusiastically a range of subjects but his love was Maths and he instilled this love of numbers to hundreds of teenage students at a Birmingham Secondary School until his retirement. Years later he was asked back to a presentation evening where he thought he was just there to hand out a few awards but he wasn’t, he was named as the pupils and ex-pupils all-time favourite teacher at St Michaels!
His phenomenal coaching skills lead him to be a coach in various sports including triathlon, various local rugby clubs and was even a member of the coaching staff at Kidderminster Harriers Football Club! But athletics was his favoured sport.
He coached all ages and levels and was instrumental in bringing huge success to his local athletics club in Worcestershire with the Senior Men Team, along with numerous successes with local junior athletes. He nurtured and developed athletes from the U17 age group into the Senior ranks to become some of the top athletes in Britain; some winning medals nationally and internationally. He was also part of the Great Britain Athletics coaching staff. Here he was a National Event Coach for Cross Country and spent time travelling the World helping endurance athletes at World and European Championships. Supporting athletes to achieve their potential including some great successes at World level including athletes such as Paula Radcliffe, Mo Farah, Liz Yelling, Jon Brown, etc.
He was always looking for a new challenge and with his long term friend and coaching ally Bud Baldaro he started a successful stint at Birmingham University. He was involved in numerous events and competitions and took charge of athletes travelling and competing in America at prestigious events.
This fund will help to continue his work and has only been made possible with the generous donations of his friends and family, something that we must all applaud and be thankful for. Bob was a great man and someone who is sorely missed but will not be forgotten and his legacy will continue.
Dave McNamee - Obituary (30/06/2016)
Published: 30 Jun 2016
Cheltenham & County Harriers have issued the following after the untimely death of Dave McNamee.
Dave McNamee Obituary
If you would like to write offering your condolances and memories of Dave, his family Mark, Ed and Margret can be contacted at,
74 Craigentinny Road
Dave McNamee RIP (29/06/2016)
Published: 29 Jun 2016
Message from Carolyn Franks.
I'm sorry to have to report that Dave McNamee has passed away this week. Dave was a stalwart of athletics for many years, for his club Cheltenham & County Harriers, the Birmingham & District League for whom he served as Assistant Secretary and was also a past President, and also for the wider athletics community.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
Dave is pictured below on the right with Bill Adcocks
League Landmarks (18/05/2016)
Published: 18 May 2016
Former League President John Peet has been in touch to update his score on the League Landmarks table. Having scoured the results archive he has revised his total race count to 103, and has documented it in a race history biography. His career in the Birmingham League stretches from his debut for Sparkhill Harriers in November 1954 through to January 1996, by which time he had switched to his local club, Tamworth AC after it's formation in 1974. Across the 42 year span his highest placing in Division 1 was 23rd at Lozells, and a highest overall position of 2nd in a Division 3 race at Bridgenorth. He competed in all 5 divsions at various times though his Birmingham League career. As well as being President for the 2011/12 season he has acted as a race official for many years.
Tamworth / Sparkhill
||Solihull & Small Heath
||Tamworth and Sparkhill Harriers
||City of Stoke
||Leamington C & AC
↑ Denotes a new count since the table was previously updated
2016/17 Affiliation Fees Due (03/04/2016)
Published: 3 Apr 2016
It was agreed at the AGM that the affiliation fee be raised to £125 for the coming season. This has to be paid by clubs by 30th APRIL 2016.
Failure to pay by 30/04/2016 will incur a further £15 penalty.
Please send cheques to:-
23 Salisbury Avenue
CHEQUES SHOULD BE MADE PAYABLE TO:- Birmingham & District Invitation Cross Country League
If you require your receipt to be sent to your Treasurer please ensure you provide the name /address of this person, otherwise it will go to your main named contact.
So What Makes A Good League Venue & Could Your Club Stage One? (12/02/2016)
Published: 12 Feb 2016
As we head to the last round of fixtures for this season and the thoughts of those that run the League turn to various "reviews" and plans for next season we would like to ask participating athletes, clubs, team managers, race promoters and officials just what makes a good venue and will you offer to stage a race?
Each party will have a view depending on which angle they are looking from.
For an athlete it can be the geography of the course or the distance from their home. Is it the showers or changing facilities?
Some runners love "pan flat" parkland, some love hills and plough others mud. Has it a stream?
Some cannot or just won't travel if the venue is too far from their home due to time and/or cost. Is it the car parking or road access?
Do you like having the Men's & Women's leagues sharing a venue?
From a promoters perspective it might be the cost of hire, local connections with the facilties, the ease of access for runners, the space for the tents, a venue for a presentation, the toilets or the amount of red tape!
It could also be the willingness of the club to put something back into the sport after years of relying on the kindnesses of others. It may be that staging a league race raises a few quid for club coffers. It may be that staging a race gives an advantage to the host club as it is a "home" fixture.
For officials it could be a clear view of the course with good underfoot conditions around the start & finish areas in which to work. It might simply be the tea afterwards!
Have you ever asked yourselves just why certain clubs/colleges always promote a certain fixture at a certain venue? Or why have certain clubs/universities never promoted a race?
With promotions and relegations ahead the venue dynamic of the divisions may well change with some divisions finding themselves having more or less clubs willing to promote.
This season has seen many courses take a real hammering from the weather which may also cause venue owners and land agents to reconsider their future availability.
At what cost may also be a very valid question? Rising costs associated with venue hire & equipment may naturally cascade through to higher affiliation/membership fees for our League clubs.
Other promotions are using the same venues. Schools, county & area associations and the rising number of open "races" are all chasing the same precious resources. The rise and frequency of the Parkrun movement may also influence the future health of our venues and promotions.
With the recent Midland XC Championships having been "moved" at very short notice due to flooding to a "new" venue for most are there other such venues out there that have struck you as potential sites that are just crying out for a good old fashioned cross country race?
2016/17 Season Contact Form (31/03/2016)
Published: 31 Mar 2016
The 2016/17 contact form for clubs to complete with details of their nominated representative(s) can be found here.
Club Information Form (Word)
Club Information Form (PDF)
This should be filled in and returned by Monday 30th May 2016.