UK Cup 2012

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The UK Cup kicks off this weekend, with the British Night Championships, and once again the competition this year extends to a mass start final in October via sprint, middle, long, ultra-long and urban races, but will it actually attract the elites outwith the major races? Last year we asked whether the expansion would breathe new life into the competition and not much seems to have changed.

The British Night Championships has a simliar strength field of 20 to last year, with 3 of the top 4 men from last year's UK Cup competing, last year's men's winner Matt Crane having moved to warmer climes in Australia. On the women's side there is a small field of 11, with 2 of the top 5 competing. Expect a few weary legs however, as some of the top runners will have done the National Cross Country championships on the tough Parliament Hill course in London earlier in the day. At the other end of the country an equally strong field will be taking part in the Scottish Night Championships, with a number of British and JK Champions including the women's UK Cup champion Clare Ward. Timing.

Following London last year, urban racing remains on the UK Cup calendar with the Malvern race, followed by the Midlands Championships. Not many entries yet, with the deadline at the end of the month, so the jury is out as to how many of the top runners will be involved here unless it is local. 

Luckily, with 9 races to count from 16, most of the top runners should get close to having a full set of scores if they take on the major season races at the British Championships in Sprint, Middle and Long, the JK and Scottish Championships/WOC Selection weekend.

The second half of the UK Cup season starts with a couple of races in the Welsh 6 day in July, so will reward those holidaying in Wales, followed by an ultra-long in the Aire Valley which should hopefully attract a strong field with a tough test. Finally the Southern Championships at Epping should provide a fast and furious penultimate race, before focus turns to the UK Cup Final.

The UK Cup Final last year was a pretty lacklustre occasion, 13 men and 5 women turned up to battle it out to become UK Cup Champion. This year the event is paired with another final, as the UK Relay League follows the UK Cup into the autumn season with a couple of races. 

Sadly, stand alone relay events don't have much history in this country, the Harvester and to some extent the Scottish 11 person relay both sometimes suffer low turnouts due to timings and location, so adding another club race into the arse end of the season will rely a lot on the will of clubs to compete for this title. And hopefully with it, provide entries to the UK Cup final. But once again the timing doesn't look great, how many clubs fancy a trip to Lancashire the weekend after a trip to the Scottish Borders for the Compass Sport Cup final? Or will the reverse be the aim - attract competitors for the UK Cup Final and get some teams together for the UK Relay league final?

What do you think could be done to change perceptions? What would really make the UK Cup Final (and the UK Relay League for that matter) a must do event? What about putting up a decent amount of prize money, befitting of our overall UK Champions who have proven themselves season long? As ever, you can air your views in our forums.

UK Cup 2012

25.02.2012
Hamptworth
Night
10.03.2012
Malvern
Urban
11.03.2012
Foxley & Garnstone
Long
24.03.2012
York University
Sprint
25.03.2012
Strensall Common
Middle
06.04.2012
Livingston
Sprint
07.04.2012
Dunalastair
Middle
08.04.2012
Craig a' Barns
Long
07.05.2012
Dalegarth
Long
02.06.2012
Glen Feardar
Long
04.06.2012
Banchory
Sprint
05.06.2012
Inchmarnoch
Middle
24.07.2012
Hafod
Middle
26.07.2012
Llynnoedd Teifi
Long
09.09.2012
Aire Valley
Ultra Long
23.09.2012
Epping
Long
07.10.2012
Hameldon
Mass-start
(final)

 

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