Wing cross country is one of the most interesting wing events of the year. Interesting in terms it’s the most painful event of the year for us cadets but also one of the shortest events only lasting till mid afternoon. However, that aside the day of cross country was a long time coming as our preparation for this gruelling event is second only to wing field day. The day began like any normal morning for a wing event everyone was sleepy and feeling a bit tired but on the plus side we had beautiful sun shining reminding us it will only get better.
Start of the Day
We started our journey from our squadron destined for RAF Wittering the venue for the event. This was the second time RAF Wittering hosted the event for South and East Midlands Wing. I hope all of us cadets running round the station didn’t disturb any RAF personnel looking forward to a quiet Sunday after all the hard work they do for us. We got to our destination in plenty of time for team briefs leaving time for us cadets to have a bit of banter amongst ourselves and discuss the gruelling task that lay ahead of us.
Well the route for cross country was based within the boundaries of the station and all the cadets were split into 5 groups depending on their age. All the groups were set off at about 10 minute intervals to avoid confusion towards the end. The route started from the astro turf pitches weaving around the sports field going past the wing HQ and the shooting range and up the airfield to the markers which indicated our change of direction towards the finishing line. Funnily enough these markers were quite familiar to us 2418 cadets and they turned out to be our very own WO Bates and CI Kitchingman. Going past them was a great relief as that indicated that we roughly passed our half way point of the 3 mile route. Passing the markers running (and not walking) back down the airfield road going past the shooting range again towards our final hurdle the 400 metre track just before the finish line. At the finish line we were all given a card with a number on it indicating the points each finisher achieved for their respective age group. The best 3 finishes out of 4 from each age group counted towards the competition.
After finishing the route some cadets were really happy with the points they finished with for their group but on the other hand some cadets were shattered by the sheer pain caused by the gruelling run. I personally felt a great relief many reasons for that such as no more cross country for another year but also with the points I finished with and I can definitely say I finished higher than last year. Although for some weird reason some of our newer cadets really enjoyed themselves must be a hint of madness in the air.
This year was a quite a successful year for us in terms of our individual cadet finishes. Our very own CWO Kahla a keen long distance runner and CPL Knighton both recording top 10 finishes in the junior men’s category a great run from them well done guys. Along with them our highest finisher was Youth Winter Olympics gold medallist CDT Burrows finishing second overall in the boys class. Along with the males there were also some great runs by some of our female runners with CPL Nuttall recording a top 10 finish in the junior women’s category a great well done to her and also CDT Green who also put in a great run as a sole runner from the squadron for her category. Well done to all these cadets who put in great performances for the squadron in their respective categories.
But the most incredible congratulations goes to WO Bates who received the first clasp to his Cadets force Medal for his 18 years of uniformed service for the corps. A really great achievement by our very highly respected Warrant Officer. This is certainly an achievement I know I couldn’t be able to achieve. Congratulations Warrant Officer Bates.
Now onto the results part of the day mostly it’s the most boring part of the day but also the most important. We as a squadron recorded some of our best finishes that I certainly can remember. We finished in one of 3 top spots for three of the five categories we entered our cadets into. Our boy’s category cadets put in a really good performance and finished 3rd overall in their category. Along with them our youths also finished joint 2nd with 126 (Derby) Sqn overall in the category. Our junior men also finished an undisputed 2nd overall in the category. Our cadets in the girls and junior women’s category also had very good finishes with our sole runner in girl’s category finishing 25th overall and junior women having a strong showing in 8th place overall.
However the big one was the overall result combining the results of all the categories and we finished 3rd overall in the wing. Taking into account 29 competitive squadrons in a very competitive South and East Midlands Wing our set of results didn’t gain us any trophies in the event but are highly respectable within the wing.
Even though we finished 3rd in the wing we were the highest placed squadron in the Nottingham area confirming if not enforcing our reputation as Nottingham’s Premier Squadron.
2418 (Sherwood) Sqn