Pre-season Training Camp 2017

A popular and well-anticipated annual event, the 2017 OUCCC training camp took place between Friday the 15th of September and Tuesday the 19th of September at Rydall Hall in Ambleside, Cumbria. The Camp saw a smashing turnout, with 34 runners from a wide range of colleges and degree programmes.

 A variety of challenging sessions were available, on both road and fell, incorporating a good deal of climbing, descending and flat. Runs included short, sharp pyramid-style reps to help build speed and strength, an example being the 10 / 8x 2 minute reps in Ambleside park on Saturday morning. On the other hand, longer six to ten mile runs were also available to help improve endurance and general technique, including loops around Rydal Water and sections of the River Rothay. Runners could keep to whatever pace was comfortable, ensuring everyone got the most out of the session.  Miles Chandler and Will Christofi were always ready to share their expertise on core and warm up exercises, from the benefits of penguin walking to pre-bed planking. With two substantial sessions on offer most days, even our most dedicated Blues runners felt like they’d trained well!  If a full day of running wasn’t enough, there were also opportunities for the triathletes to swim. As in previous years, Lesley Bryant, a professional Soft Tissue Therapist, very kindly gave us much appreciated sports massages and brought a variety of equipment to help us warm down after a run.

There was plenty of opportunity to socialise. Myself and the other new students were given great advice and a crash course in both running and OUCCC history. Subjects included varsity bitterness, the importance of the captaincy and most importantly, how, in 1981, Julian Goater won the English National Cross Country Title by almost two minutes.

Other highlights included “Extreme Pictionary” (with multiple cameos from The Yeti), a Charades / Articulate hybrid and Miles’ simultaneously entertaining yet infuriating “Moon Game”. Others contributed more technical games, requiring complicated skills, such as counting, common sense and the ability to remember your own name.

Aidan Smith kept Oxford’s reputation for academic rigour alive with his excellent quiz, which was hotly contested and left usual pub-quiz territory in the rear-view mirror.  Our knowledge of club history, Australian bush fires and the Polish economy were all thoroughly tested. Also on the agenda were ping pong, den building and, unexpectedly, a Saturday night showcase of Esteemed Captain Luke Cotter’s more unconventional (yet impressive) party tricks.

We all ate incredibly well thanks to the delicious cooking of Tilly Woods, Oliver Paulin, Kathy Peters, Noah Hurton (and many others!), of which their chicken curry was particularly tasty. Ambleside’s Badger Bar also provided a great meal.

As others have rightly said, a huge thanks to the principle organisers for arranging such an enjoyable camp, namely Noah Hurton, Luke Cotter, Tilly Woods and Oliver Paulin. Thanks to all those who brought their cars and helped shuttle us all between train stations and training sessions. All club members provided great advice and company. I’m sure I speak for the other freshers (and all others new to the club) when I say that we were made to feel extremely welcome as new members. We all look forward to training with the club in Michaelmas term and beyond, especially given that events such as Cuppers (and later Varsity) are approaching on the horizon.

-Matthew Proctor, University College

Pre-Season Training Camp 2016

Goblin Combe, Cleeve was this year’s setting for our annual pre-season training camp, which as usual provided an opportunity to not only get our Varsity campaign underway with some quality training, but also to build team spirit, select suitable nick-names for innocent freshers (DBJ), and introduce some new crew-date rules. Drop snake.

We arrived on Friday afternoon, unpacked an entire Tesco van of food and then headed out to stretch our legs with an orienteering session in the local area. The evening was filled with introductions, general chatter and card games, plus an emergency trip to ASDA for missing dinner ingredients. Tinned tomatoes and navigational mishaps aside, it was a successful first day and everybody seemed to be getting along well. There was some concern for Luke Cotter’s health after he had earlier initiated a mass washing up session completely voluntarily, but probably even greater concern for the health of Miles Chandler’s car, due to the rather inconsiderately steep hill that we were staying atop.

On Saturday morning we travelled to Ashton Court for a tough interval session on hilly terrain. Everyone worked hard and it was great to hear lots of encouragement being passed around within the group. The rest of the day was filled mostly with ‘I’ve just found out I have Michaelmas collections’ revision and a hotly contested game of rounders in which Alex Howard complained approximately once per minute that his team were being unfairly treated. Saturday evening’s entertainment was the greatly anticipated Quiztofi’s Quiz, a masterpiece by the legend himself including a round devoted entirely to matching up athletes with their English Schools finishing positions some four or five years ago. With exhausted minds we all slept well and woke up full of energy for Sunday morning’s long run. Maps were studied and landmarks memorised, but with team orienteers Jamie and Aidan both absent, success was looking unlikely. Nevertheless all athletes returned in one piece to be greeted by a calf strengthening workshop from Lesley and, thanks to Laura’s injured ankle, a spotlessly clean kitchen. The evening meal at local pub, The Star, provided great entertainment and food for all. Much to Christofi’s dismay it also provided alcohol, something that a few members of the group indulged in to a greater extent than others. Despite a late night for some, everyone was up and ready to run on Monday morning with the sound of ‘Libby Libby’ still ringing in most people’s ears. Circuits and a second run were followed in the evening by perhaps the most repetitive game of ‘fish-bowl’ to have ever been played. Fortunately CSS was on hand to break up the monotony of ‘Paget’ and ‘DJ’ references with his unique and rather confusing entry, ‘do a legless pig’.

All too soon Tuesday came around and it was time for the final session – some flat grass at long last as we ventured down the hill to the village cricket pitch. Now a training camp classic, the 1/2/3/4/5/4/3/2/1 set went down a treat despite the rain. Throughout the afternoon numbers gradually decreased as amidst the packing, cleaning and eating all of the leftover food we one by one departed for the station and headed home. Thanks must go to everyone who came along and made it such a fantastic trip, but particularly to Miles for organising what can only be described as a highly enjoyable five days of miles, Miles, maids, maps, massage and merriment. We look forward to welcoming more freshers into the OUCCC community over the coming weeks. Until next time, drop bear.

Laura Fenwick, Lady Margaret Hall

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