As participation in The Manchester Area XC League has grown, we have also seen an increase in the elder “Vets Categories”. This is an excellent advert for our sport but it does present challenges.

Conditions in the winter can be tough and this puts pressure on the last position in the races for both athlete and officials. As a result, discussions have taken place with the EA Race Referee. In very bad conditions, we could be in a situation where it is virtually dusk by the completion of the final race. This would present H&S issues for the backmarkers themselves, not forgetting marshals dismantling the course, but also for lap tops/kit etc. associated with chip timing. It should not be forgotten that some volunteers are also at the venue from 8.00am on cold & wet Match days.

We have taken opinions from Northern Athletics XC officials and a number of other Leagues now have cut off times.

Our recommendation is that effective from Match Three and for the final two fixtures, that a cut off time of 75 minutes is introduced for the senior men’s race. Those finishing after that time would not be counted in the results. Those that feel that they may fall into this category should choose to run in the Senior Ladies race. As numbers grow in this category, it may be possible to still consider individual awards, but this would be an item for discussion at The AGM (date tbc).

Given that we are part way through the season, only one athlete to date could potentially qualify. Providing our customary four-race rule is met, we will recognise this success, although the races would span both men’s races to date and female races for the rest of the season.

While your views and thoughts are welcomed, unless there are compelling arguments to the contrary, we plan to introduce this policy at Match Three at Tatton Park.