NIMAA Cross country trials 2014: a thoughtful walk to the start on legs aged 35 - 70 years. Photo by David Smyth.

NIMAA Cross country trials 2014: a thoughtful walk to the start on legs aged 35 - 70 years. Photo by David Smyth.

I'm partisan when it comes to cross country. It's my favourite running discipline. It fills the senses - smells of grass, leaves and earth; the chill kiss of cold air as we wait to begin; at the start, the reverberation through my feet of those hundreds of other feet on the soft ground; the sound of cheers from team members as they warm-up for their later race; the rawness of my own voice afterwards as I yell them on; the warmth of a fire at home upon day's end and the taste of a hearty meal made richer by physical exertion. Cross-country is good down-to-earth hard work and provides opportunities for true team competition. Whilst you can run as an individual, the tangible competition at cross country events is between teams. Go with mates from your running club and discover just what you can challenge yourself to achieve when you know they are counting on you.