New Balance ESAA Cross Country Championships 2018: preview

This year Leeds will host the English Schools' AA Cross Country Championship on Saturday 17th March. Temple Newsam Park is the location for the 58th boys' and 50th girls' event. There are no individual entries - this is a competition between County Teams although we preview a number of individuals who are likely to be leaders in their respective races.

The ESAA National Cross Country Championship is the most eagerly anticipated event of the winter for young athletes. The best athletes in each of the 46 Counties in England to compete are brought together for the honour of being the best in the Country.

The course is currently very muddy, and it may get worse. The Junior and Intermediate age groups will be selected for the SIAB International at Wollaton Park on the 24th March. Click here for our drone footage of the area from a couple of weeks ago.

Junior Boys (4.1km)

This age group is difficult to predict as there are three athletes who ran last year and are still in the Junior age group. Jaden Kennedy (Club: Herne Hill Harriers, Coach: James McDonald, School County: London) finished fifth last year at Norwich, Alexander Thomson (Wharfedale / Bingley, North Yorkshire) finished in 13th place and Fraser Spoul (Kendal AAC, Cumbria) who finished in 11th place last year was placed 18th in the recent Inter-Counties.

Intermediate Boys ( 5.4km)

This age group is very strong and it's likely to be a good battle at the head of the race. Tommy Dawson from (Leeds City AC, West Yorkshire) won the Juniors last year he and has now moved up an age group. Elham Hussey (Leeds City AC, Andrew Henderson, North Yorkshire was second Junior last year and finished eighth in the recent Inter-Counties. Fraser Gordon (Tonbridge AC, Peter Mason, Kent) finished sixth last year and fourth in this year’s Inter-Counties. Finally Will Barnicoat (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC, Trevor Raggett, Surrey) who was ninth Junior last year recently won the Inter-Counties.

Senior Boys (7.2km)

Last year Matthew Willis (Wrexham AC, Cheshire) finished in third place and was sixth in the recent Inter-Counties, Nathan Dunn (Preston Harriers, Peter Crook, Lancashire) finished in 18th place last year but he was second in the Inter-Counties this year. Two others are looking forward to Senior competition; Zakariya Mahamed (Southampton AC, Peter Haynes, Hampshire) finished last year in first place and was placed third in the Inter-Counties and finally also from Hampshire Lachan Wellington (City of Portsmouth AC) was third last year in the Intermediates and this year finished in fourth place at the Inter-Counties.

Junior Girls (3.24km)

Bethany Cook (Bodyworks, Sussex) was second last year and won the Inter-County match last Saturday. Emily Shaw (Wimborne AC, Dorset) finished in fourth place in 2017. Finally Faye O’Hare (Liverpool Harriers, Merseyside) finished 42nd last year but finished seventh in the recent Inter-Counties.

Intermediate Girls (4.1km)

This group have three very good athletes, two having come up to the Intermediate age group this year but ran very well as Juniors last year at Norwich. Sian Heslop (Macclesfield, Alison Hartopp, Cheshire) was first and Alex Scrivener (Banbury, Graham Button, Gloucestershire) finished third. Holly Smith (Vale Royal, Andrew Carter, Cheshire) who finished in 19th place last year in the Intermediates finished second in the Inter-Counties this year.

Senior Girls (4.5km)

There are several athletes who are likely to be in the leading pack. Julia Paternain (Club: Cambridge & Coleridge, School County: Cambs) finished tenth last year and was placed second at the Inter-Counties last week. Kirsty Walker (Reading AC, Rob McKim, Berkshire) was fourth last year, Holly Page (Dartford Harriers, Jason Marchant, Kent) finished seventh and Isobel Fry (Newbury, Andy Tuttle, Berkshire) finished in 15th place. All ran last weekend at the Inter-County match at Prestwold and finished in high positions.


Entry to the event is by virtue of athletes being selected by County Team Managers to represent their County. Teams comprise a maximum of 12 athletes, of which only 8 are allowed to compete. The first 6 finishers in each team count towards the team competition - finishing positions are added up, and the team with the lowest score wins. Click here for ful team lists.


  • 12.30 pm - Intermediate Girls (3800m)
  • 1.00 pm - Junior Boys (4100m)
  • 1.30 pm - Junior Girls (3100m)
  • 2.00 pm - Intermediate Boys (5200m)
  • 2.35 pm - Senior Girls (4100m)
  • 3.05 pm - Senior Boys (6800m)

More information

Click here for more information on the event including full timetable, directions and course maps.