On Wednesday 23rd August Imperial College’s Cross Country and Athletics team began to make their journey to their international summer tour. Their destination was Font-Romeu – 1800m above sea-level in the Pyrenees and a 2.5 hour 1€ bus journey from the airport in Perpignan. Upon arrival, it was discovered that they were to be sharing an apartment complex with athletes of a similar calibre to their own – the Korean triathlon team. The stunning views and impressive peaks visible from the balconies whet their appetite for a week of gruelling hills, tricky trails, and challenging climbs.

The week of training saw a number of events: steady group runs to take in the local sights, such as Europe’s largest solar furnace; a questionable “rest” day featuring a recovery-turned-tempo run; a super early run to watch the sunrise from a vantage point by the ruins of a castle; a competitive continuous relay session at the athletics track; attempts at ranking highly on some of the nearby Strava segments; and day trips to both a nearby lake for an alpine swim and a town in a Spanish enclave for some tapas and sangria.

Of course, the tour didn’t consist solely of running!

During the week, the four rooms took turns to host a Come Dine with Me-style evening of food, drink, and entertainment. The themes included wedding, Ancient Greek, British pub, and traditional French, with food highlights including an assortment of canapés, stuffed peppers, three-in-one pasta, homemade curry, tartiflette, sticky toffee pudding, apple crumble, and Greek doughnuts. The evening entertainments featured various games that revealed lots about the club members, particularly the pub quiz which featured a round involving embarrassing past Facebook statuses from tour members and a size comparison between Big Ben, a Mini Cooper, a King-sized bed, the Taj Mahal, and the penis of a blue whale.

Besides all this, the week saw countless games of Perudu, questionable uses for bags of flour, and large portions of banter – sometimes reaching dangerously high levels! On the last night, to celebrate the end of the highly successful week, the team headed for a late-night rave by one of the larger statues in the outdoor statue walk.

The club would like to thank outgoing club captain Will Jones for fantastic work in organising the trip and wish all members of the club graduating/leaving all the best for the future. Our fingers are crossed for another successful year under the helm of Alex Mundell, and the club looks forward to welcoming many new members over the next few weeks!

For more information about the club, see https://union.ic.ac.uk/acc/crosscountry/ or email run@ic.ac.uk.