A bird's eye view of the English Schools' Cross Country champs route
Spencer Duval - England Athletics' National Endurance Lead - paid a preliminary visit to the 2018 location for the English Schools' Cross Country Championships which will take place on 17th March 2018.
Temple Newsam is one of the great historic estates in England and set within over 1500 acres of parkland, woodland and farmland landscaped by Capability Brown in the 18th century.
Spencer reports, "On a recent visit to the Leeds I decided to drop into Temple Newsam Park and get a low down on the potential course and conditions for what I regard as the best schools cross country event in the world."
In the video below you can get an idea of the fantastic location and challenging conditions that will be faced by athletes. (The footage has been edited down to 3.5 minutes)
Spencer notes, "The course hasn’t been confirmed yet but you can see from the videos where a previous event had been and the underfoot conditions. On the day of the visit it hadn’t rained for a while but the course was soft and muddy in parts. At first glance it seems flat (ish) but the hills are deceptive and quite long. If it keep raining it is going to be a very tough course with long soft underfoot hills and quick long downhill sections. The far fields looked firmer but getting to them is again undulating."
Spencer recommends setting up on top of the mound by the trees if you have come to watch, but it should be a good spectator course from other viewpoints too.
Click here for more information on the event including timetable, directions and course maps.