Athletics News

Saucony English National Cross Country Champs preview

Saucony English National Cross Country Champs preview

Everything you need to know – including the leading contenders and streaming information – on this weekend’s historic event at Bolesworth Castle

Some 147 years after the English National Cross-Country Championships was first run in Buckhurst Hill – 32 ran and the race was declared void after competitors went off course – the event makes its first appearance at Bolesworth Castle which is mid-point of Wrexham, Chester and Crewe.

A scenic setting is assured for one of Britain’s greatest sporting events although the remoteness of the event and lack of nearby public transport does mean the majority of participants will be forced to travel by car.

The venue is better known for hosting equestrian events and concerts and this summer Gwen Stefani is a headline act there.

11:00am 56th Under 17 Women – 5km
11:25am 20th Under 15 Boys  – 4km
11:45am 53rd Under 13 Girls – 3km
12:05pm 77th Under 17 Men – 6km
12:30pm 19th Under 13 Boys – 3km
12:45pm 57th Under 15 Girls – 4km
1:05pm 31st Junior Women – 6km
1:35pm 90th Senior Women – 8km
2:20pm 75th Junior Men – 10km
13:00pm 135th Senior Men – 12km

My first National cross-country experience came exactly 50 years ago when too young to compete (there were no under-13 and under-15 races in 1973) and I spectated at Parliament Hill to see a notable race where Dave Bedford – a few months before setting a world 10,000m record on the other side of London at Crystal Palace – won the title but was headed by Olympic 1500m bronze medallist Rod Dixon, who was part of a guesting New Zealand team.

A few weeks later Dixon finished third in the inaugural World Cross Country Championships and New Zealand finished third with a weakened England team only fifth (but they did win the women’s team event that year).

Dixon ‘won’ in 43:42 with Bedford (43:55), Roger Clark (44:07) and Tony Simmons (44:26) taking the medals and others placing in the top 10 included Steve Kenyon (44:29), Bernie Ford (44:31), Ricky Wilde (44:44), Grenville Tuck (44:48) and Mike Baxter (44:53). Brendan Foster, who would win this race four years later at the same venue, was 12th and in the winning Gateshead team. It’s safe to say the 2023 depth won’t compare with 1973.

Former UK record-holder Mike Freary was 15th, European and Commonwealth marathon champion Ron Hill was 25th, future Olympic marathon medallist Charlie Spedding was 36th and future Commonwealth 10,000m silver medallist Dave Black was 38th and former…

CLICK HERE to Read the Full Original Article at AW…