Midland Women's XC League Archive (25/02/2013)

You may have noticed that the Birmingham & District XC League website hosts the results for the Midland Counties Women's XC League and the wider benefit of its member clubs. This makes sense as both Leagues share clubs/venues/officials etc. throughout the season.

We are now able to provide access to their archive of cross country league race results (see specific "Women's League" menu item above)

These have been scanned over the past year by the Birmingham XC League Archivist and added to this site.

Rita Brownlie (Bromsgrove & Redditch A.C.) has amassed and held these paper records. Various items have been handed to her over the years as people involved with Midland Women's athletics have moved on, left their role or sadly passed away. It is vital that this sort of material is not simply thrown away. She is very pleased that they are now available to a wider audience and recorded digitally for posterity.

The quality of the original documents and the reproduction is understandably variable. Digital enhancement has been used where neceessary, often in the extreme, to make sure that the essence of the result sheet can be interpreted.

There are however many gaps within the archive. As well as the actual results the League are missing key race details (dates/venues etc.).

If anyone can fill in any of the gaps from old AW's, personal race diaries, newspaper cuttings, club histories etc then Rita would be delighted to hear from you. Rita can be contacted via telephone on 01564-824358 or you can send us information via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .and we will ensure it it is forwarded.

We now present an initial attempt to document the headline facts of the history of their league. According to Rita no known written history exists and so what follows is an attempt to capture what is known/believed. Corrections and additions are very welcome.

The Midland Counties Women's League was formed in the late 1960's. The exact details of the official formation are not known (who/where/when etc.).

The earliest set of race results they have are from November 1968. At that stage the league catered for three age groups - Seniors, Intermediates & Juniors. It is understood that there were only three fixtures in all that made up the league.

It was not until the 1971 season that the fourth age group was added so providing competition for Senior, Intermediate, Junior & Minor Girls. It was this same season that there were four fixtures making up the league season.

It is not even clear from these early results if there was a formal team contest as they do not provide any team scores. Later on they do have team scores based on three athletes counting.

In the early years the Midland Women's XC League held all their races prior to Christmas. An inter area league race then took place with the Midlands taking on other areas from around the country. Athletes were selected to represent the Midlands based on their performance and support of the Midland Women's League competition. The venue for this race changed each year. Each area took turns to promote the meeting.

As the years progressed the younger age groups experienced wider competitive opportunties with the arrival of the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League (WMYAXCL) in 1975. This inevitably impacted on the Midland Women's League providing potential conflicts for clubs, athletes and team management.

As time moved on the WMYAXCL provided an alternative which attracted young runners away from the offering of the Midland Women's XC League. This eventually culminated in the 2004/05 season with the league no longer staging events for the younger age groups.

It was in this same season that the number of races increased again to four and 'shared' facilities and officials with the Birmingham & District XC League began.

There have been two main trophies awarded within the league. The first is the Sally Lunn award which is named after a Birchfield Harrier athlete who donated it. The Turley Shield is the other. The exact details of where the Turley Shield came from is currently unknown. In the early years another trophy existed called the Horwill Trophy which we understand was donated by two race walkers from the Dudley & Stourbridge Harriers club, Eric & Pam Horwill.

The league currently holds an AGM, normally after the end of the season in February/March. It is not clear to the author of this article if this is formally documented and minuted. If so these may provide further insight into the history of the league. Does anyone hold copies of any official minutes from this organisation.

If anyone can help confirm the above facts, or add any more information, we would be very glad to hear from you via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and will forward this to the Rita & the Midland Counties Women's XC League.

Should you have any of the missing results we would again be grateful to receive a copy, either in paper form or in a scanned format. These can then be added to their archive.