St Helens Striders take part in the North West Cross Country League (NWCCL) over the winter months.
The concept of the league is to provide cross country races over the winter, encourage participation and provide a sociable environment for runners.  Runners of all abilities are encouraged to run.
Many clubs of all sizes from Merseyside/Cheshire and Lancashire take part in the league and compete to be winners at the end of the season.


Cross country is a great way of staying focused and race fit over the winter months and is great fun.  Cross-country strengthens the legs and core muscles, develops ability to run on varied terrain and in varying weather conditions. The runner who is experienced in cross-country is more robust, more versatile and less likely to be thrown by a sudden change in the weather – an event surprisingly common in major championships in the UK.
The cross-country season provides tough physical training, working over a wide range of speeds, without the damaging effects of the cumulative jarring that results from track or road training.


There are 6 cross country fixtures over the winter, all the courses are off-road and suitable to be run in running spikes. The courses are between 4 ½ and 5 miles in length and take place over grass, mud, dirt trails, hills, etc.
Every fixture is followed by refreshments supplied by the Host club. The results of the race are usually announced then.
This season’s events are:
RaceWhenWhereHostStart timePostcode
130th October 2022Clarke Gardens, LiverpoolPenny Lane Striders10amL25 9NN
220th November 2022Beacon Park, SkelmersdaleSkelmersdale BH10amWN8 7RU
311th December 2022Arrowe Park, The WirralPensby Runners10am?
422nd January 2023Town Park, RuncornWarrington Road Runners/Lymm Runners10amWA7 6EP
5TBCCroxteth Park, LiverpoolLiverpool10amL11 1EH
6TBCForest Park, BirchwoodSpectrum Striders10amWA3 6UZ

Course Guide

Beacon Park, Skelmersdale

The most challenging of the courses, this starts at the top of Beacon Fell and runs up and down and around it a few times. The views are breathtaking. The car parking next to the start is limited but there are other car parks near by.

Clarke Gardens, Liverpool

This is like an extended park run and is a lovely introduction to cross country. There are no toilets near the start.

Arrowe Park, The Wirral

Based behind Arrowe Park hospital, this is also a gentle introduction to cross country with plenty of running on grass.

Croxteth Park, Liverpool

This is a relatively fast and flat course with lots of mud (weather dependant).  There are sections through the forest which are very technical, but it is a very good course for those who like to avoid the hills!

Town Park, Runcorn

Has a bit of everything in it; it is twisty, sometime muddy, runs through woods and open grass and has the infamous ski slope.

Forest Park, Birchwood

The muddiest of all races, the course takes in all the bad bits of Forest Park in Birchwood, if it was not for the mud it would be a fairly easy course.


Beacon Park, Skelmersdale108GoodOK
Clarke Gardens, Liverpool55No toilets near start.Good
Arrowe Park, The Wirral65Toilets at nearby cafe, but not always available.Good
Croxteth Park, Liverpool67No toilets near start.Good
Town Park, Runcord97GoodGood
Forest Park, Birchwood810Limited toilet facilities.Good

Small Print

The league rules are simple, the main points for members being:
  • You must wear a club vest/shirt
  • All club members are welcome to participate and join in although you must be 1st Claim with your nominated club for your place to score
  • Mens team is the first 6, 1 of which must be a vet (40+)
  • Ladies team is the first 3, 1 of which must be a vet (35+)




  • The emphasis of the league is to provide the ordinary Club runner with an opportunity to participate in a series of cross country / multi-terrain events in an enjoyable and sociable atmosphere


  • The League will be organised on a day to day basis by the League Coordinator who will be appointed on an annual basis at the A.G.M.
  • The A.G.M will take place in August / September of each year.
  • At the A.G.M. each Club will have the same single vote on all issues discussed.
  • It is the responsibility of the A.G.M to:
    • Agree the rules for the coming season.
    • Set the date for the races for the coming season.
    • Set the level of contributions towards providing refreshments after each race.
    • Appoint the League Coordinator.
    • Decide on applications from other Clubs who wish to join the League.
    • Confirm that previous League members wish to continue.


  • Each event should be:
  • Between four and five miles long.
  • Start at 11.00am on a Sunday morning.
  • Organised and marshalled by the host Club.
  • Have a finish funnel where tickets showing finishing positions, for Men and Women, can be given out.
    • After each event, the host Club will organise refreshments and a venue for the working out and announcement of the results by the League Coordinator.


  • It is the responsibility of each Club to ensure that all runners wear a Club Vest. Only runners in club vests will be given a ticket at the finish.
  • Must ensure that only registered First Claim members of their Club wear a Club vest. All second claim members must register with the host Club to run as Guests and not score for their Club.
  • Must follow England Athletics rules for competition eligibility and notify them accordingly of any Club runner transfers.
  • All runners must be aged 15 years or over on the day of the race.

Guest Runners

  • All runners who are not first claim with a participating Club will be guest runners.
  • Guest runners will make themselves known to the host Club in the hour before the race and receive a number or other distinguishing mark.
  • On finishing, guest runners will not be given or ask for a ticket.
  • To run as a guest, the fee will be £2.00. This will be kept by the host Club to help with the cost of refreshments.


  • Scoring will be on the basis of first runner home in each race (Men and Women) scoring one point, second home scoring two etc. until the last runner in each race is home.
  • Team scoring will be on the basis of the first six Men (one of whom must be a Vet) and the first three Women (one of whom must be a Vet). The men’s and ladies races are scored separately.
  • Incomplete teams will be scored with the last runner plus 10 for each missing team runner.
  • Full teams are always ranked higher than incomplete teams for team scoring. Teams with one runner incomplete will rank higher than any team with two runners incomplete etc.
  • The winning team will be the one with the lowest number of points.
  • League points will be awarded on the basis of the first team receiving the number of points equivalent to the number of teams in the League, the second team one point less etc.
  • In any season the number of events contributing to the overall final score will be one less than the total number of events in that season. Thus a Club may drop its lowest scoring event.


  • The League Coordinator will announce the results on the morning of the race at the venue provided for the refreshments and will send out a copy of the results with the League tables, to all Clubs the following week.


At the end of the season the winning Men’s and Women’s teams will be awarded the League trophies after the final race.

What to wear

Runners have to wear a club vest. You should expect to get all clothing muddy.
The courses vary in terms of muddiness and uphill running. The amount of mud greatly depends on the amount of rain the previous few days. The condition and layout of the course affects what type of shoe you should wear:

Road shoes

Possible on a dry course flattish course, but when it gets muddy or steep then you will be slipping around in road shoes which will be tiring and could be dangerous.

Trail Shoes

These are a great compromise as they will handle mud and slopes and can be used on the trail races (like our own) throughout the year.

Cross Country Spikes

These are best for coping with mud, wet grass, hills etc. The shoes provide little cushioning (this comes from the mud!) and has a low center of gravity allowing the runner to twist and turn more easily.
Spikes usually cost between £30-70. When buying spikes make sure that you do not buy spikes which are smooth on the heel and around the individual spikes as these are for track running. The shoes will normally come with minimal size spikes, you should buy a bigger set (9 to 15mm).

How much does it cost.
It’s FREE, even the refreshments are free. The club pays a one off fee at the start of the season after that as many members as possible can run in one or all events.

St Helens Striders