Stand by for one of the most iconic sights in athletics as the National Cross Country Championships return to Parliament Hill for the first time since 2018. Spectating is free on the route.
On a glorious sunny day in north London the 2022 National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill did not disappoint! CONGRATULATIONS to Southern XC champion JESSICA GIBBON who who justified her pre-race billing as favourite to win the 89th WOMEN’S SENIOR RACE, followed home by Northern XC champion Eleanor Bolton, Leeds’ Bronwen Owen and Olympic triathlon silver medallist Georgia-Taylor-Brown. In the 134th running of the MEN’S SENIOR RACE MAHAMED MAHAMED went out hard and never stopped turning the screw to finish a worthy winner, followed home by 10k road specialist Emile Cairess, Olympic triathlon star Alex Yee and Mahamed’s brother Zak Mahamed.
We’ll be back with a preview of the National when it returns to the capital. In the meantime for lots more spectator events coming up in London – including athletics and the Night of the 10k PBs and London Marathon – visit our What’s On page now.
With the London skyline as the breathtaking backdrop and thousands of athletes taking part Hampstead Heath is the place to be for one of the biggest dates on the athletics calendar – the English National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill.
A total of 8,000 athletes are entered. Races start at 11am with the senior races at 1.35pm (W) and 3pm (M). See below for the full timetable.
The National was first hosted at Parliament Hill in the 1950s since when the course has become known as the ‘home of English cross country’. The famous uphill start makes for compelling viewing as a sea of athletes jockey for position on one of the toughest courses in the country.
From U13 races all the way up to seniors, stars of the future and the present will be on show on a day which brings together cross country specialists with the best track and road runners; all battling for both team and individual honours.
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The rich history of the race at Parliament Hill can be traced back as far as 1973 when Dave Bedford – then the 10,000 metre world record holder on the track – took the men’s honours. Fast forward to 2018, the last time the race took place on Hampstead Heath, and the senior women’s race was won by Phoebe Law of Kingston AC who saw off over a thousands rivals. Adam Hickey (coached by former London Marathon winner Eamonn Martin himself a previous winner of The National) took the men’s title finishing first in a field of 2328 runners.
The defending national champions (winners in 2020, the race could not take place in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic) are Anna Moller from Aldershot Farnham and District AC, who won the women’s race beating Tokyo 10k Olympian Jessica Judd into second place. In the men’s race Gateshead Harriers’ Calum Johnson took the spoils with the aforementioned Adam Hickey in fourth.
2022 ONES TO WATCH:
In the women’s race (starts at 1.35pm) there’s plenty of reasons to support a Jessica Gibbon victory. The Reading AC athlete has won, or been on the podium in, a string of races this year and laid down a cross country marker with her victory in the Southern Cross Country Championships (over a gruelling muddy course similar to that expected this afternoon) at the end of January. Ribble Valley Harriers Eleanor Bolton is a big threat arriving in London as the reigning Northern Cross Country champion. Experienced road racer Lily Partridge has plenty of credentials on the country having taken bronze in the race in 2014 before winning the race in 2015 and 2016. And no one should rule out Georgia Taylor-Brown – a world-class triathlete who won individual women’s silver and mixed relay gold for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics – who loves taking part in the National.
In the men’s race (starts at 3pm) there will be a new champion with Calum Johnson, who is not fully fit, unable to defend his title. Team GB mixed relay triathlon gold medallist Alex Yee – whose reputation as a brilliant runner was secured when he won the British 10k title at Parliament Hill in the 2018 Night of the 10k PBs – will be many people’s fancy to take the victory. But 2019 National winner Mahamed Mahamed has the proven pedigree over the country to make him a real threat. Meanwhile Emile Cairess will fancy his chances if he can transfer his road racing form – including a 27:44 10k in January to equal Mo Farah’s official UK record – to the Hampstead Heath trails after a spell of training in Kenya. And don’t rule out Adam Hickey who returns to the scene of his 2018 triumph in the race.
Once witnessed, never forgotten. It promises to be a memorable day of athletics in north London. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill!
🎟️ Spectating is free on all areas of the course.
🕒 Timetable of races:
11am – Under 17 Women (5K)
11.25am – Under 15 Boys (4K)
11.45am – Under 13 Girls (3K)
12.05pm – Under 17 Men (6K)
12.30pm – Under 13 Boys (3K)
12.45pm – Under 15 Girls (4K)
1.05pm – Junior Women Championship (6K)
1.35pm – Senior Women Championship (8K)
2.20pm – Junior Men Championship (10K)
3pm – Senior Men Championship (12K)
🚊🚗 Travel tips: The start of each race is located nearby to the 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 and 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.