England National Cross Country returns to Hampstead Heath

After three years away, one of the most iconic athletics races is returning to Hampstead Heath with a big turnout expected.

Nearly 8,000 athletes are preparing to take part in the Saucony English National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill Fields, Hampstead Heath, on Saturday 26st February at 11am.

2022 will be the 17th time either a Men's or Women's Championship has been held at Parliament Hill since the first event in 1950 and it has become the ‘home of cross country’, with athletes travelling from all parts of the country to the eagerly anticipated event.

With the London skyline as the backdrop and thousands of athletes taking part at Hampstead Heath, the event is one of the biggest dates on the athletics calendar. Spectators are invited along to enjoy the event free of charge, across all areas of the course.

From U13 races all the way up to seniors, stars of the future and the present will be competing, and battling for both team and individual honours. Races start at 11am with the senior races at 1.35pm (Women) and 3pm (Men).  See below* for the full timetable.

Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee, Anne Fairweather, said:

“Parliament Hill Fields is the most popular venue in England for cross country so I’m excited for this extremely important event to be returning to the Heath after a few years away.

“We look forward to welcoming athletes and spectators on the day, at this inspiring and free event.”

President of the English Cross Country Association, Ian Byett, said:

“After losing a year of cross country running due to Covid 19, the English Cross Country Association is delighted to be back at Parliament Hill which is regarded by many fans of the sport as the spiritual home of this type of running.

“We are pleased that the City of London Corporation is able to host this year’s event and we all look forward to a great day of running."

Hampstead Heath recently received a World Athletics Heritage Plaque for being host for many years to the English National Cross Country. This location-based award honours outstanding contributions to the worldwide history and development of athletics.

Over the years great names such as Olympic, World and European 5000-10,000m champion Mo Farah, double European Cross Country Championships winner Hayley Yelling, European Athletics Championships silver medallist Andy Vernon, former 5000m European Champion Brendan Foster and Hampstead’s own legendary runner Dave Bedford have won Senior or Junior Championships at Parliament Hill.

The famous uphill start makes a compelling watch as a flurry of athletes fight for position on one of the toughest courses in the country.   

Hampstead Heath is one of London's most popular open spaces, attracting almost 10 million visits a year. 

The beauty spot is a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation and recognised for containing some of the best examples of the capital’s habitats, including rare and important species which are of particular significance within a heavily built-up area of London.

Hampstead Heath is a registered charity, funded by revenue generated through services, grants, donations and over £6m a year from the City Corporation.

The City Corporation protects over 11,000 acres of open space in London and south east England – including Epping Forest and Burnham Beeches - and over 200 smaller sites in the Square Mile, investing over £38m a year.

These green spaces, most of which are charitable trusts, are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve. They include important wildlife habitats, Special Areas of Conservation, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and National Nature Reserves. They are protected from being built on by special legislation.


Notes to editors:

About the City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.

*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) 

Kristina Drake| Media Officer, Public Services

City of London Corporation

M: 07710860884