Race director Eamonn Martin is creating an exciting spectator-friendly cross-country event at north London venue on January 20 with the support of On Running
Cross-country running in the UK is set to be revitalised in spectacular fashion this winter with a new-look world trials event at Parliament Hill Fields in London on Saturday January 20.
British distance running legend Eamonn Martin hopes to transfer the same kind of atmosphere and excitement seen at the Night of the 10,000m PBs in early summer on to the nearby grassy slopes of Hampstead Heath at the beginning of 2024.
Early details of this new event were first published in the July issue of AW magazine, but since then plans have gathered pace with the shoe brand On Running coming on board to offer some support with the new event following their sponsorship of this year’s Night of the 10,000m PBs on the track that sits on the edge of the Heath.
“We plan to have a 2km lap and it will be an extremely spectator-friendly course with at least one decent hill on it,” says Martin. “We’re looking at athletes running through a tent and having features such as a hairpin bend in front of the crowd.”
The event will be the official British trial for the World Cross Country Championships, which takes place in Medulin and Pula, Croatia, on February 10. In addition it will incorporate a home countries international including teams from the English areas, although entry requirements will be fairly tight in order to avoid runners being lapped on the 2km loop.
Martin is a former UK record-holder for 10,000m and the last man to win the London Marathon in 1993. The 64-year-old adds there are plans to have a big screen and maybe even pyrotechnics on a Parliament Hill course that has long since been regarded as the spiritual home of cross-country running in the UK.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to has been so supportive and wants to make it happen,” he says, adding that the same Highgate Harriers volunteers who make the Night of the 10,000m PBs such a special event are poised to act as marshals on January 20.
Martin has also been in talks with Night of the 10,000m PBs event director Ben Pochee and long-time British Athletics Cross Challenge co-ordinator Cliff Robinson on the event and how best to weave it into the winter calendar.
Martin adds that he’s also gained inspiration from the now defunct Great Edinburgh…