CROSS-COUN­TRY LE­GENDS

Athletics Weekly - - Contents - Ja­son Hen­der­son, ed­i­tor

THIS week we open the vot­ing to de­cide the great­est cross-coun­try run­ners in his­tory. There are five cat­e­gories to find the No.1 Bri­tish male and fe­male, in­ter­na­tional man and woman, plus the top ‘per­for­mance’ of all-time (see p32-37).

The poll fol­lows hot on the heels of our an­nual cross­coun­try cal­en­dar and spikes re­views, which ap­peared in last week’s mag­a­zine.

Nar­row­ing down the enor­mous list of su­perb run­ners to a short list of five in each cat­e­gory was trick­ier than nav­i­gat­ing 7.5 miles of mud and hills at Par­lia­ment Hill Fields (or 5 miles if you’re a woman, but that’s an­other mat­ter – see News, p7).

Mo Farah does not make our lists, for ex­am­ple. He took the Euro­pean ti­tle in 2006, but has never won the English Na­tional as a se­nior and has a best place of 11th in the World Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships.

Fel­low Euro­pean cham­pion Jon Brown also misses out, as do three-time Na­tional win­ners Gor­don Pirie, Dave Clarke and Dave Lewis, the ma­jes­tic Ron Hill (who turned 80 on Tues­day in­ci­den­tally) and world cham­pi­ons Ian Ste­wart and Frank Sando.

That’s just the Bri­tish men’s cat­e­gory alone. Other cat­e­gories were no eas­ier to whit­tle down, so we wel­come your views not only on the over­all win­ners but who we should have in­cluded in our short lists.

■ As we reach the end-of-year awards sea­son, the prizes are likely to be dom­i­nated by se­nior ath­letes such as Dina Asher-Smith, Laura Muir, Kata­rina John­son Thomp­son, Zhar­nel Hughes and Reece Prescod. But what about An­gela Cop­son? The W70 run­ner won eight medals – in­clud­ing seven golds – at the World Masters Cham­pi­onships this month from 400m to cross-coun­try and 10km – a re­mark­able achieve­ment in a Bri­tish vest at an in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive global event (News p11).

■ Well done to the IAAF for stand­ing firm amid WADA’s con­tro­ver­sial anti-dop­ing de­ci­sion last week (see News p6). Quite rightly, the ath­let­ics gov­ern­ing body is not al­low­ing Rus­sian ath­letes back into com­pe­ti­tion un­til it is con­fi­dent they are clean.

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