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23rd Jan, 2024, Alastair Aitken

Highgate Harriers Officials mapped out a course on Hampstead Heath, supported by City of London Corporation, for a top-class cross-Country competition. on the 20th of January. It was the brainchild of Ex -International and cross-country team Manager Eamonn Martin, to encourage and support ‘Major cross-countries. Said Highgate Harriers Press Secretary Alastair Aitken: It was a switchback course on the Parliament Hill Fields side of the heath, with a World cross-country Trial and British Universities trial for the World’s University race, amongst the days events.

Q “ You tried it on with the Essex cross country Championships. It was a new style of cross-country racing !”

EM “ I want to keep developing cross country, lots of laps, people engaged with the runners so that is what it is about to-day!”

“ You have been involved with the sport since you retired from racing”

EM “I have been Team Manager for England & GB”

Which was the most competitive cross country you have run in?

“The World cross country Championships but I never won it.

It was after1988 GB never won a senior World cross-country team medal but Kenya made it a specialty of winning that very often. Tim Hutchings got a couple of individual silvers,

EM “ Hopefully we will get cross country as a proper sport on the map. Get it better”

The English cross country Association have been great with the ‘National’ cross support

‘The National is a massive race.. A good cross-country season benefits the 5000/1000 runners enormously so I don’t want that to fall away..”,

Eamonn has won two National cross country senior races and considers his win in 1984 with Roger Hackney 2nd and Julian Goater 3rd his best. His coach Mel Batty. won the National twice. He won it in 1965 over Hampstead Heath.

DAVE BEDFORD, the only British person to ever break the 10,000 World record. who won the Senior and Junior Southern cross-country Championships the same afternoon and ‘Old Style’ World cross, country Junior and Senior, Lives near Hampstead Heath and he gave his thoughts

Dave What do you think of the course and the idea.”

“ Someone is trying something different which is really good. I think the concept of that even, that the officials can see what is going on besides the start and finish is great. I think there is a a place for cross country events in the calendar. More power to the elbow!.

Living near to Parliament hill must give you a thrill?

What is nice is going back to the original start of the Southern

It is not quite as hard ,as they don’t go up the hill straight away. I hope it will be in the regular part of the calendar.”