london cross country international

Athletics

London International Cross Country

🏅 Stand by for high stakes athletics as the inaugural London International Cross Country takes place at Parliament Hill.  Spectating is free on the route.

NEWSFLASH: The inaugural London International Cross Country is a wrap.  And the plan is it will be back! 

Check out the 2024 winners below and email tickets@sportonspec.co.uk with ‘Athletics in London’ in the subject box to receive confirmation of the 2025 event once announced, plus breaking news of other great athletics events taking place in the capital.

And in the meantime visit our ATHLETICS section here for events coming up in or around London.  Including the London Marathon, Night of the 10k PBs and London Diamond League!

CONGRATULATIONS to Abbie Donnelly (senior women’s champion) and Hugo Milner (senior men’s champion) who triumphed at the 2024 London International Cross Country.  Both claimed a £2,000 first prize and sealed their place to represent Great Britain at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Belgrade this March.

European XC bronze medallist Donnelly (pictured bottom of the page) won the women’s race in commanding fashion, while multi-talented triathlete Milner (below left) had to battle all the way to see off ultra running star Tom Evans and 2:08 marathoner and course expert Mohamed Mahamed.

On a day stacked with quality races, European U20 XC champion Innes FitzGerald (below right) reinforced her claim as one of the brightest young talents in UK running.  FitzGerald was in imperious form running solo from the start, demolishing the U20 field to win by 69 seconds.

2024 EVENT PREVIEW

With the London skyline as the breathtaking backdrop and an array of the UK’s top athletes taking part, Hampstead Heath is the place to be for the London International Cross Country.  The first big event of the 2024 athletics calendar on home soil.

👀 READ ON for an introduction to the event, key races, timings and how you can be there! 

INTRODUCING THE LONDON INTERNATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY

A brand new event the London International Cross Country includes a host of races designed to showcase the sport in a unique setting for elite cross country running.  See below for the full timetable.

All the races start and finish next to Parliament Hill Lido on Hampstead Heath, and take place on a 2km multi-lap course.  A switchback at the end of each loop, where the athletes run through a tent, will enable spectators to get up close and personal to every race.

Large parts of the course can be viewed from the start/finish area.  And to ensure the crowd doesn’t miss a moment of the action a large screen will be set up along with a PA system to provide a full commentary on the races.  Food and drinks will be available to purchase, including a pop-up bar serving beer and mulled wine.

Headlining the show are two 10km races: a senior women’s race at 12.15pm and senior men’s at 1pm.  Each race incorporates teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The winner of the races will be guaranteed selection to represent GB at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in March.  Not to mention £2,000 each in prize money.

Current English National Cross Country champion Sarah Astin is one of the favourites in the women’s race.  Meanwhile triathlete extraordinaire Hugo Milner is targeting glory in the men’s race after his recent fourth place in the European Championships.  But they both face stiff opposition.  Check out this Athletics Weekly feature for some ‘ones to watch’, together with the full team line-ups in the senior and U20s races.

THE COURSE

Parliament Hill in north London is an iconic venue for cross country.  The National Cross Country Championships have taken place there on a regular basis since the 1950s.  The course, based at Hampstead Heath, is known as the ‘home of English cross country’.  Its uphill start (main picture) making for compelling viewing as a sea of athletes jockey for position on one of the toughest courses in the country.  The 2km race loop used at the London International Cross Country incorporates the first half of the uphill start.

The famous Heath is all set to host a new event that promises to showcase cross country running like never before!  Expect a similar vibe to the atmosphere and excitement generated by the Night of the 10k PBs.  A track equivalent which takes place at the running track on the edge of the Heath, ‘The Glastonbury of 10K Running’ as it’s known is firmly established as an unmissable May date on the London sports calendar.

ELITE RACES

BRITISH UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES SPORT (BUCS) 4KM TRIALS

The women’s BUCS trial is at 11.15am, part of the open women’s 4km.  The men’s BUCS trial is at 3pm, part of the open men’s 4km.  Watch the cream of the student crop as they target qualification to represent GB at the World University Championships.  Destination Oman on 17 February is the aim.

UNDER 20 RACES

The women’s U20 race is at 1.40pm.  The men’s U20 race is at 2.30pm.  Both races include an international and area team competition.  The fields are stacked with athletes looking to establish their claim as a star of the future.

SENIOR 10KM RACES

The senior women’s race is at 12.15pm.  The senior men’s race at 1pm.  The first athlete in each race will automatically qualify to represent the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at the World Cross Country Championships taking place in March in Belgrade .

Each 10km race also features a Home Countries International and area match with teams representing England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, North, Midland, South and East.  Each team will have four runners, with three to score.

Bringing up a hat-trick of jeopardy the 10km races are part of the British Athletics Cross Challenge.  The London leg is the fourth race of the 2023/2024 series in which the best cross country runners compete over five races across the winter/spring months.

TICKETS, TIMINGS & TRAVEL

🎟️ Spectating is free on all areas of the course.

🕒 Timetable of races

10.45am & 11am: U13 Girls 3km followed by U13 Boys 3km.

11.15am: Open Women’s & W BUCS 4km Trial

11.35am & 11.55am:  U15 Boys 4km followed by U15 Girls 4km

12.15pm: Senior Women’s 10km

1pm: Senior Men’s 10km

1.40pm & 2.05pm & 2.30pm: U20/U17 Women 6km, U17 Men 6km & U20 Men 8km

3pm: Open Men’s & M BUCS 4km trial

🚊🚗 Travel tips: The start of each race is located near to Parliament Hill Fields Lido on Hampstead Heath.  The nearest railway station is Gospel Oak (just a few minutes walk) on the London Overground.  Buses 24 and 168 stop nearby.  If travelling by tube Kentish Town and Belsize Park are both a 10-15 minute walk.  Plan your journey at the Transport for London website.

👀 For more great spectator sport, including athletics, check out our What’s On page.  And for regular reminders to ensure you don’t miss a moment of the action subscribe now to our free newsletter!

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