The popularity of running at Parliament Hill, on London’s Hampstead Heath, has never been greater. The chance this year has attracted great crowds of athletes to enter the Saucony English National Cross Country Champs on the 24th February. When entries closed the 10 races of the day had totalled a huge 9472 runners entered.
Four new record entries have been set this year, with the Senior Women up by 170 on the previous best (set in 2015) to 1694, the biggest increase of all. Since 2010 there has been a 30% rise in Senior Women entrants.
Another big increase has come in the Under 13 Boys category where 755 haveentered, an increase of 107 on last year’s record. In the Under 15 Boys there is a small increase with 713 entered and the fourth record is in the Junior Women’s Championship where 280 are entered. This is 22 up on last year and it is good to see more teenage athletes are staying in the sport. It is good to see record numbers recorded throughout the age ranges that will be in action on Championship day.
There are 6 other age groups in action as well and they have all had good entry numbers. The Under 13 Girls have 648 entries – the best number since 1996, while 634 have entered the Under 15 Girls event. Not a record but the best since 1998. High numbers continue in the Under 17 Women’s race with 407 entered. The Under 17 Men have 536 entered and in the Junior Men’s event, 371.
The biggest event is still the Senior Men’s race where 3428 have entered. When the event was last at Parliament Hill in 2015, 3355 entered and these two are the only time since 2005 at Birmingham that entries have been over 3000.
This year’s event at Parliament Hill is in fact the 16th time that a Championship has been held at the iconic venue since the first in 1950.
The traditional uphill start is planned again.
ECCA Hon Sec