The Scottish National XC in Falkirk has attracted the biggest entry field for 21 years – with 2213 names put forward.
And the tally of 331 Senior Women on start-lists for the big day at Callendar Park on Sunday 22 February is the largest number of those available on record.
The figure is up by 101 athletes on the entry list from 2014 and just four years ago the tally of runners was 1799 – so the marked upward trend is clear, with this year’s figure 23 percent of that 2011 total.
To give you one more compelling, telling headline figure – entries for the Scottish National sit at almost exactly 25 percent of those for the English National XC in London over the same weekend. When you think of population ratios, that really is remarkable.
It is another marvellous endorsement for the sport in this country with the continued rise in participation demonstrating real commitment by clubs, coaches, athletes, parents and volunteers.
At scottishathletics, we are absolutely delighted that National Championship events are proving so popular and once again we pass on our thanks to those who make this possible – most specifically the clubs themselves and also, particularly, officials and marshals at events which, at the National XC this year will include former XC champion and Olympian Freya Ross.
Here’s the breakdown on entries for Callendar Park:
U13 Girls 216; U15 Girls 149; U17 Women 73; U20 Women 42; Senior Women 331
Female Total 811
U13 Boys 214; U15 Boys 157; U17 Men 130; U20 Men 78; Senior Men 823
Male Total 1402
Total number of athletes entered for 2015: 2213
‘I am delighted to see such a great entry for the National Cross Country Championships,’ said scottishathletics chairman, Ian Beattie.
‘This is one of my favourite days in the athletics calendar, and I am looking forward to seeing such a large number of clubs taking part across all age groups – the highest number of entries since the first joint championships were held in Irvine 1994.
There have been some top quality cross country performances so far this season from Scottish athletes – at home, down south and in Europe. I am sure we will see more quality performances a week on Sunday; not just at the front of the races but at all points throughout the large fields.
‘This is the 10th consecutive year that the National Cross Country Championships have been held at Falkirk. We are hugely grateful to Falkirk Community Trust for their continued support, also to the host club, Falkirk Victoria Harriers, and to all of the officials and helpers who put in so much work to make this day such a success.
‘I think it says a lot about our inclusive nature of our sport that one of the marshals will be Freya Ross, a many time winner of the Women’s title, and one of the GB marathon team at the 2012 London Olympics.’
The Senior Women’s race entry figure tops last year by two at 331 and that is the biggest figure ever for those years where records are available. It is the fourth year in a row that the tally for Senior Women has been over the 300 mark.
This winter, of course, has formed the first year of a three-year agreement with law firm Lindsays for the Lindsays Cross Country Season and it is great that partnership has coincided with numbers continuing to grow across events like the 4K Champs, the Districts and the National XC itself.
The 2015 figures above show growth at U13 Girls and U13 Boys and that the Senior Men’s numbers are climbing steadily. Young and old, people are committing to cross country while we’ve already highlighted a really terrific response to the Age Group Champs at the Emirates Arena.
Here are the overall National XC numbers for the past four years at Falkirk:
2011 – 1799; 2012 – 1905; 2013 – 1956; 2014 – 2102; 2015 – 2213
There is £4000 of prize-money up for grabs at the National XC as part of the scottishathletics Cross Country Grand Prix. The current leaders are Morag MacLarty (Central AC) and Tewolde Mengisteab (Shettleston Harriers). There are also Scotland vests on offer for the Home Countries International event in Ireland in March in the older age-groups.
More at www.scottishathletics.org.uk