When the Olympic Games were awarded to London in 2005, the English Cross-Country Association immediately decided that it would be fitting to hold the 2012 event in the capital as it was the South's turn to hold the event. English Cross Country Association secretary Ian Byett told Athletics Weekly: "The City of London were keen to put it on and the staff and management at Parliament Hill always give tip-top cooperation in staging the event." This was the eightieth running of the Senior Women's National Cross-Country Championships.
Defending champion Louise Damen (Winchester & District AC) was absent as she was focusing on her marathon preparation. 2010 winner Steph Twell (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) was back in contention after suffering a serious ankle injury in 2011.
On a gloriously sunny day the runners charged up Kite Hill, at the top Gemma Steel (Charnwood AC) was ahead with Lucy MacAlister (Bristol & West AC), Lauren Deadman (Havering AC) and 2009 champion Hatti Dean (Hallamshire Harriers) following. One kilometre into the race at the top of the second hill Steel was in front of Dean, Northern champion Lizzie Adams (Hallamshire Harriers), Deadman, Hannah Doran (Charnwood AC) and Sonia Samuels (Sale Harriers). As the start of the second lap, Steel and Dean had a small lead over Adams, Samuels, Hannah Walker (Birchfield Harriers), Twell and Naomi Taschimowitz (Taunton AC). During the second larger lap, Steel eased away from Dean who began to fade and was passed by Twell and Walker. Halfway around the lap Steel had a 30 metres lead on Twell with Walker, Dean, Samuels and Adams in pursuit. Into the last mile Steel still held the advantage and the race down the hill was fascinating as Twell and Samuels chased Steel.
Despite Twell and Samuels looking like they were flying Steel was able to keep them at bay with an excellent finishing run. Steel won in 27:06, three seconds ahead of Twell (second) and Samuels (third) who were given the same time.
26-year-old Gemma Steel told Athletics Weekly: "It was brilliant and it seems almost surreal to win my first National title. It was tough though - it's a real hard course. "It wasn't my plan to lead from the start, but it just happened and I felt good and once clear of Hatti, I pushed on. I'm used to running on my own. During the week I did a session of 400, 300, 200, 100 x 3 and I pushed myself on my own there so knew I could do it today alone in the race. This is a dream come true."