OUCCC Preseason Training Camp, 2021

Incoming fresher Charlotte Buckley reports on an eventful training camp in Wales:

On Thursday 9th September OUCCC gathered in record numbers for the annual preseason training camp, this year held in Govilon (like Love Islan’) just outside Abergavenny. With no camp and a lack of races last season it was a great chance for the club to come together again while welcoming new faces into the fold too. No time was wasted in getting out on runs with groups heading out for 8-15km, exploring either local hill The Blorenge or the canal. Work was also being done in the kitchen with HC Liam taking control of curry preparations and the slicing of rice. The post-dinner game of hats was a perfect chance for freshers to begin to get to grips with the names and characters of the group. Assassins targets were distributed and Sam Brown took an early lead in the points race.

Friday marked the first session day, with runners splitting themselves between two locations in Abergavenny for 12 reps between 30s and 3mins in length with the added interest of negotiating cows for those at Castle Meadows. An afternoon walk up to Keeper’s Pond was a chance to cool off with a swim and, if your name was Liam, to (almost) cut off your toe. He survived this ordeal but could no longer say “I’m alive” after picking up Rhiannon’s watch later that evening. Grace and James put their engineering skills into action with a Jenga tower for the ages.

For a select group of early risers Saturday started with a parkrun at Bryn Bach with Miles taking the win. Others headed off for a run up The Sugar Loaf (famously named after a loaf of sugar) and three packed cars drove west to Pen Y Fan. All groups eventually made it to the start of the walk, some considerably less hungry than others, with The Barry Horns having made sure that we knew this really was Wales. That evening marked pub night, where runners were relieved to hear that (contrary to rumours) the rice had not been finished and stomachs could still be lined in preparation for the night ahead. Zimmy Zimmy turned to Timmy Timmy and some shoeing was done in preparation for doing this (albeit in a different way) to the Tabs come Varsity. In other news, red and blue tennis dresses are now the bookies favourite for kit secretary Jared’s pick for this year’s new stash – you heard it here first.

The following morning Grace and Twood headed off to the Welsh Orienteering Championships where they placed 4th and 6th respectively in the longest course of 11.4km. Long runs headed off in a variety of directions with groups splitting between the canal, The Sugar Loaf, and Pen Y Fan. For those in varying states of injury, fatigue and hangover activities included swimming (pond and pool), cycling, Lats with Liam, and both Sugar Loaf and Pen Y Fan hikes. The heat was raised that evening with a spicy chilli and quiz expertly organised by social secs James and Ellen where we discovered who spends too long on the group chat and who owns the iconic duck shorts (not to be confused with the similarly patterned trunks).

For some Monday meant another session with about half the group heading back to Castle Meadows for 3-5x5mins [90s]. Others explored The Blorenge once again while an OUCCC representative from each of the 4 nations of the UK made Monday the third day a group had headed up Pen Y Fan. For our final afternoon on camp, trips were made into town, to a local church and back to the infamous pond. Jirka continued to analyse the statistically impossible number of times a Paulin was being rolled in Catan and the day was wrapped up with 3 epic games of Mafia led by Twood. Soon Belinda was more frustrated by the limitations of her role as teenage mafia than her broken collar bone.

Some found time to run before a 10am departure on Tuesday while others channelled their energy into making connections between trains, buses and planes en route home.

A huge thank you to all who helped make the trip such a success, including but not limited to those who helped ferry people to shops, stations and mountains, assisted with the clean-up on Tuesday morning and cooked/washed up through the week. But most of all our thanks must go to Dan, Belinda and the committee for all their hard work in making this a memorable trip for freshers, leavers and everyone in between.

















2018 OUCCC Pre-Season September Training Camp

Each year OUCCC organises a Pre-Season Training Camp in mid- or late September, a few weeks before the start of Michaelmas Term in order to get reacquainted with miles, hills and each other. For sure one of the highlights of the OUCCC calendar, incoming Fresher, Daniel Bundred, reports on our 2018 Pre-Season September Training Camp.

From September 13th-18th, this year’s camp was hosted at Gibside Stables, a long way north of the Pret-Greggs border. Still, this did not seem to hamper attendance as ­­­­­­­­­OUCCC turned up in force. Gibside Stables provided us with a wealth of scenic routes and the group wasted no time in making use of them with a variety of runs on Thursday evening. Extreme Pictionary made its return, albeit with the Yeti being transformed into a “caveman driving a Bentley”.

Friday began with a trip to a local pool, followed in the afternoon by an easy out and back along the Derwent Walk local disused railway trail and Dutty’s core session (complete with Paulin’s timing/commentary). Friday evening saw Paulin’s famous chicken curry before the arrival of Joe Dugdale.

Woodsy then went on to join Noah, Tim and Aidan at the Simonside Fell race on Saturday, with the latter two claiming 3rd and 1st place respectively, but not before Dutty became first finisher at this week’s Gibside parkrun, missing out on the course record by a mere 21s! There were solid performances also from Connor, Helene, Claire and Ellen with the ladies acquiring an impressive 1,2,3! The rest of us began our session an hour later with 1 mile tempo followed by 2 or 3 each of 4 and 2 minute efforts. After more running that afternoon, we assembled for pizza in the café at 18:00. Unfortunately, two dozen pizza orders proved too much for the National Trust to handle and the alcohol consumed by the time they had arrived at 20:00 laid the foundations for the events of later that night. More on that from our Social Secretary: Tim Harrison.

Sunday morning featured some impressive mileage nonetheless, with all except Woodsy surviving unscathed. There was a well navigated 10 miles around Chopwell woods as well as a 14 mile 1474ft run through the Pennines from Stanhope. Sunday afternoon was spent proving you’re never too old for the low ropes, with Dutty, Sam and Dani finding new ways to make the course more challenging. Sunday was quiz night, with Woodsy and Paulin taking us through a wealth of OUCCC trivia from how to be a supple leopard to last year’s Varsity results.

On Monday, there was more swimming, along with several morning and afternoon runs. Those who didn’t go swimming enjoyed a few games of hats, featuring Dutty’s “savagery” and an impressive number of references to Garforth given his absence. The evening featured an OUCCC singalong inc top hits such as “Luuuuk Metselaaar!!!!!!!!!!!” and “No Sympathy For Oli Paulin”.

Before leaving on Tuesday it was time for our second session. 2 miles at tempo followed by a pyramid (30,60,90,120,90,60,30 [1’’ jog]). The session was well run by all and marked the end of a successful 6 days of training; well done to all!

An enormous thank you to all those who helped organise the camp. In particular to Club Captain Helene Greenwood and Men’s Captain Oliver Paulin for their tremendous efforts in organising the camp! Thanks also to all those who helped ferry people to/from the station, those who helped produce copious amounts of wonderful food, those who baked beforehand and indeed to everyone who came for making all the Freshers feel so welcome and for sharing so much useful advice. A huge thank you also to Lesley Byrant for travelling all the way up north to administer deep tissue therapy as well as a fantastic workshop on Friday.

-Daniel Bundred, St John’s College

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