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.