The Senior Women's National Cross-Country returned to Herrington Park, Sunderland for the eighty-first running of the championships, the race was last at the site of the former colliery in 2007.
A blizzard hit the northeast of England on the day of the race and runners and organisers arrived to find Herrington Country Park covered in three inches of snow and the races prior to the senior women churned up the 8km course to make it wet and very sticky.
Defending champion Gemma Steel (Charnwood AC) was on the comeback trail after injury, the women's title looked to be between mud-lover and 2011 winner Louise Damen (Winchester & District AC), Midland champion Juliet Doyle (Charnwood AC), Northern champion and 2009 winner Hatti Archer nee Dean (Hallamshire Harriers), Sonia Samuels (Sale Harriers) and Aldershot, Farnham & District AC trio Lily Partridge, Steph Twell and Emily Pidgeon.
Frances Briscoe (Coventry Godiva Harriers) got off to a flyer and opened up a 50-metre gap on the rest of the field but by the time the runners approached the halfway point on the first lap Louise Damen had reigned Briscoe in. Damen hit the front as was never headed and with a determined look on her face she stretched the field out and built on her lead to win by a minute from Sonia Samuels. Gemma Steel battled gamely for bronze.
30-year-old Louise Damen told Athletics Weekly: "The National is always a special race to me. I love the history and it's a highlight of the domestic calendar."