The English National Cross Country Championships. Arguably one of the greatest cross country races on earth held annually on a blustery February afternoon. Runners from every corner of the country come together, donning their club vests and 15mm spikes to battle against the elements of that years set route. 

2017 saw the journey to Nottingham's Wollaton Park, with a real cross country course that did not disappoint. From bogs, to marsh grass and a steep climb up to the batman house with real technical trails, lost spikes and a ton of runners stacking it face first into the mud. It was definitely spectator friendly with plenty of entertainment. 

Our friends across the pond have NO idea on cross country when they compete on golf courses and this is one of the key problems with international fixtures too.  Where is the entertainment or the skill for that matter in running on a pancake flat, firm circuits? International cross country is in dire straits and I personally think the only way forward is to A) Have major championships on the proper, old fashioned cross country courses, in accessible host locations and B) Introduce it into the winter Olympics. 

Imagine having the world cross at Parliament Hill....

I have mixed emotions about my race yesterday, crossing the line in 29th place. I can't pin down why I'm not entirely happy. I just didn't feel that I gave it my all and that I lost focus at times. I desperately wanted to better my 27th from last year. I love the nationals and cross country is really important to me. I know this will add fuel to the fire as I switch my focus to the road. 

Ultimately, training is all going in the right direction. I'm tolerating high amounts of volume and having more focus on marathon specific sessions, including clocking 78.38 at the Hillingdon Half Marathon last week, piggy backing onto 5 miles steady afterwards. With my last cross country being the Inter Counties, I'll have my marathon "dress rehearsal" at the Reading Half Marathon. 

Then it's the big one. 

The London Marathon draws ever closer and I'm getting hungry for it.