Meet the Teams: BUAC (Birmingham University Athletics and Cross Country Club)
As we look forward to a busy few months ahead with the BUCS Cross Country Championships and Gatorade National Finals in sight, Cross Country captains Molly Riglin and Will Gray sat down with Burn FM Sport’s Alex Seftel to preview the event and tell us more about the club.
Joining me now are Will Gray and Molly Riglin from UBSport Athletics. Firstly, could you introduce yourselves by telling us your roles.
Will: Hi, I’m the Men’s Cross Country Captain.
Molly: And I’m the Women’s Cross Country Captain.
The BUCS Cross Country Championships are happening this weekend. What have your preparations been like? Have you stepped up training ahead of the event?
Will: No, it’s quite the opposite actually, the training has all been completed and this week is about getting refreshed and ready for the races.
Molly: Yeah, we had a session today but the hard work is done and we are preparing to leave the day before the event so that we have time to get used to everything.
Will, you’re in your fourth year now so you’re something of a ‘veteran’ of these championships. How have you done in the past and what have your experiences been like?
Will: Personally, my best result was in second year when I finished seventh individually. The experience of BUCS events is different to anything else because of the atmosphere, it’s very team-oriented.
Molly, how long have you been involved with the team and how have you enjoyed it?
Molly: Just two years, I ran the Cross Country Championships in my first year and still went along when I was injured last year. It’s a great weekend to be part of, especially as the women’s team has won both times.
It’s always a lot of fun here. It’s more of a team sport at university compared to running for your club or your school.
What distances are athletes like yourselves used to running?
Will: In winter most of us will run 10km Cross Country. Some of the first year junior athletes usually run 8km. This event will be 12km for the men. (6.4km for the women). As we move through the season, we’ll step onto the track and run 3000m or perhaps 5000m, and for some as little as 800m and 1500m.
BurnFM were there two years ago in Leeds, when the course was covered in mud. Some people even finished the race in tears! What will you be expecting this time around?
Molly: Yeah I cried! Some of the athletes raced in Sussex last weekend in the Southern Area Cross Country Championships so they’ve told us what it’s like there. It should be a good day.
Do the conditions affect your running?
Will: Yes, absolutely, the conditions dictate the way the race is run. This weekend will be in Brighton, at my home town course. It’s very challenging and hilly, but quite firm under foot.
There shouldn’t be too much mud so hopefully both runners and spectators will be safe from slipping!
Can you explain to us how the event works in terms of the team’s and scoring points for their universities?
Will: For the men there is an A race and a B race. In the A race you put your first six athletes forward and four of them can score points. The B race is a mass race that all the other runners go into.
Molly: For the last two years, all of the women have run in one race and the first three athletes from each institution can score points. The aim is to score as few points as possible.
What would be your typical build up to a race on the day of the event? Are you quite relaxed?
Will: The Men’s A Race begins at 12pm, so it’s good to get up early and have some breakfast and warm-up properly. The atmosphere at BUCS is very lively, so those part of that first race sometimes have to take themselves away from that so they can concentrate on their event.
Thank you very much for coming to speak to us. We wish you best of luck this weekend and for the rest of the year.