HBAC Juniors and the Border League Cross Country Series

What is “the Border League”

The Border League is a Cross Country series which is participated in by several clubs predominantly from Hampshire, Berkshire & Surrey.

Historically the league started as a Sunday alternative training session for Coach Mick Marlow's young athletes group at Bracknell AC in the mid 70's. Dave Fearn Bracknell's treasurer at the time was coaching at Fleet and Crookham AC and brought along some of his athletes. Word got around that there was a local chance of a Sunday morning races and siblings were allowed to take part too. The league grew into what it is today.

The name comes from that of our sponsor The Newbury Building Society who pay for the medals and certificates. The league's funds are banked with them

The race series comprises four race mornings during the winter months on each day of which 4 children’s age categories are competed split between boys and girls (ie 8 children’s races in total).

Please contact Paul or Alex to state your availability, declarations will no longer be published due to GDPR rules but we will be sending emails out by the Friday prior to the race.

Results from last year's fixtures can be found here

When and where does it take place

Sunday 4th November 2018 at Lightwater Country Park results here
Sunday 2nd December 2018 at Priory Park, Reigate results here
Sunday 3rd February 2019 Guildford Stoke Park (opposite Spectrum) results here
Sunday 24th February 2019 Farnborough Military. results here

What are the distances and age groups, & what time do the races start

The times below are included as a rough guide, always check the specific instructions sent out before the match, the U9 boys and girls races are planned to be increased on some courses by 2-300m to the new distance below

Under 9 Girls (yr 3/4) 11.00 am 1500 m approx
Under 9 Boys (yr 3/4) 11.15 am 1500 m approx
Under 11 Girls (yr 5/6) 11.30 am 1620 m approx
Under 11 Boys (yr 5/6) 11.45 am 2760 m approx
Under 13 Girls (yr 7/8) 12.00 pm 2760 m approx
Under 13 Boys (yr 7/8) 12.15 pm 3000 m approx
Under 15 Girls (yr 9/10) 12.30 pm 3000 m approx
Under 15 Boys (yr 9/10) 12.45 pm 4140 m approx

How does the competition work?


‘County standard’ athletes are banned from taking part but it is still challenging! It offers a good experience of race day atmosphere.

As a team

The first four athletes home in each race will comprise the scoring team. Haslemere supported by our our colleagues from the St Eds running group did very well last season; our boys finished in 6th place and our girls finished in 3rd. The reason for the discrepancy between these positions is down to our ability to field teams in all categories for the girls whereas we had no U15 boys otherwise our boys would have featured highly too as there were some very creditable performances. We would also feature more highly were we able to regularly field full teams; it is worth mentioning that none of our U13 Boys finished in the top 20 yet we achieved a 4th place in a very competitive category due to our ability to field massively full teams at every fixture. Top 10 overall series places were awarded to: Ruari Watt (6), William Bailey (5), Zoe Gow (8), Freya Hampshire (10).

This year, we should be able to build on our successes if everybody in the club gets behind the regular runners to help to ensure that we can achieve full scoring teams across the age groups. Regardless of where the athlete finishes, a full team will always beat a partial team.

Final placings after the 4 races are based on summing the child's best of 3 finishing positions, i e the lower the figure the better. Therefore it doesn’t matter if you miss one of the 4 races.

And obviously please don’t be put off from attending if you can’t even make 3 races: hopefully any race will be valuable and enjoyable for your child.

Do you have to pay anything?

No – there is an entry per club, which the club covers

What if my child has never run that distance and doesn’t know the course?

We recommend you walk the course so that the child knows exactly what to expect. The race itself has a ‘hare’ runner who runs in front and a ‘tortoise’ runner who runs at the back of the race. There are marshals and the courses are well-signposted.

When do I have to say by?

We have to submit declaration forms by the Friday before the race. But we really appreciate as much advance notice as possible for planning.

What to wear

It’s a winter series so we’d recommend some kind of thermal top and thermal leggings as a minimum. Ideally wear a thick warm coat that can be taken off immediately before the race and put back on afterwards.

HBAC will provide a running top each time to be worn as an outer layer during the race. This needs to be returned after the race, although an ‘own’ HBAC top can be bought for £15.

Race numbers

These will be given out on the day and must be returned after the race to the HBAC team captain / organiser for use in later races/seasons. Children are registered for the series against a number and it’s essential that the same number be worn by a particular child across different Border League races.

On the day

On the day – organisation
Please aim to arrive at least one hour before the race and look out for the Haslemere Border AC either gazebo or flag.

Ask for your race number and a Haslemere Border AC T-shirt to wear during the race (unless you’ve got your own). Do please remember to hand the T-shirt back in after the race if it is a loan shirt.

On the day – Start Line formation

Please be aware that the Border League policy is for each team to begin the race in columns, ie the children all line up behind each other, one column per club (spilling over into a second column if the number of club runners in that race exceeds 8). This is to prevent jostling and falling over etc at the beginning of the races (which has happened in previous seasons despite this policy being in place, so it will be monitored more closely this season).

Runners will be ordered according to previous races’ finishing positions where possible.

On the day – parking

It is very important that you park as directed by the marshals but be prepared for a long walk as the car parks fill up quickly. The route to the course will be clearly directed.

On the day- toilets

Facilities are always provided, look out for the on the day instructions

On the day - refreshments

Refreshments are usually provided, look out for the on the day instructions.

On the day – your involvement

Given that the events are run purely by volunteers, every club is expected to provide assistance where requested in the form mainly of marshals (possibly parking guides also); Our turn is at the Farnborough fixture.

As far as HBAC's own arrangements are concerned, any help with manning the registration desk at the HBAC flag/gazebo would be appreciated or at the start line enforcing the line-up.

Any questions
Email juniors or see Alex and Paul at training.