My name is Thomas. I am 12. I go to cross country races quite a lot now and have created a list of essentials that I need before, during and after my races. My races happen all around the North-West and sometimes across the country. You don’t want to arrive at a race realising you have forgotten something important because that can make you worry when you just need to concentrate on the race.
Here is my list of things you need:

  1. A good strong bag to hold your things in, not too big because you have to carry it around. It needs a comfy strap and it’s good if it has a separate section for muddy kit and a pocket for small things.
  2. Drinks and snacks are important because it can affect your performance if you haven’t eaten or had something to drink before your race. I pack a bottle of water, some cereal bars, a cheese or ham roll if the journey is long and a few sweets to have just before I run. I also have a flask with hot chocolate in it for after races on a cold day.
  3. Shoes. When running, especially cross country, you need a good pair of shoes with lots of grip and a good fit which is why when running cross country, spikes are a good choice. Spikes are pretty much running trainers with metal spikes in. The lengths of spikes can be changed when the terrain is different, for example, for a more muddy race you might use 12mm spikes instead of 9mm. I keep mine in a separate boot bag for when they’re muddy after a race and to stop the spikes damaging my other kit.
  4. Warm clothing this is needed for before and after the race. You don’t want to be cold before a race. You need to keep your muscles warm so they don’t get injured. A big jumper and some tracksuit trousers over your running kit will keep you warm. You can leave these on until just before you race and put them on soon afterwards. When you stop exercising, you cool down really quickly so it’s important to put your layers on. I have a fleece blanket for the car journey home.
  5. Safety pins these are needed for pinning your number on and can be hard to get hold of on race day, so you should always bring four of these with you.
  6. Wide tape. When it’s really muddy your shoes can get sucked off your feet, even if you have done them up really tightly. You can wrap some wide electrical tape around your shoes to help them stay on. I haven’t lost a shoe in the mud yet!

These are my top six essentials for a cross country kit bag.
ps My mum says I should have a plastic bag for all my muddy clothes and some baby wipes too!

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