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.