The eighty-second Senior Women's English Cross-Country Championships took place at Wollaton Park in Nottingham. The venue was used many times for the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships, but this was the first time for the 'National'. The 8km course was undulating and consisted of rough grass and parkland.
Gemma Steel (Charnwood AC) was a hot favourite as she sought her second individual National title. Others in the mix were Southern champion Jess Andrews (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) along with clubmates Lily Partridge and Steph Twell, Jane Potter (Charnwood AC) the Midland title winner and holder of the Northern trophy Katie Walshaw (Holmfirth Harriers).
On the first lap the leading group consisted of Gemma Steel, Steph Twell, Ashley Gibson (Morpeth Harriers) and Katie Brough (Vale Royal AC) and at the end of the lap Steel led by four seconds from Twell who was followed Brough and Lily Partridge. Steel continued to build on her lead on the second lap and ran out winner in 27:42, 17 seconds ahead of Steph Twell with Lily Partridge in third.
Gemma Steel told Athletics Weekly: "I felt a bit flat as I didn't taper down for the race and I'm upping the mileage so my legs felt heavier than usual. I've been doing more mileage and less speedwork. With it being a tough course I just go to grind it out and I got away with it. I was a bit worried about today with the training being a bit different I thought it might find me out. "She added: "Last time I didn't get the whole trophy. I just got half of it so I didn't get to see my name on it, so I wanted to come back and get the whole thing. "The Inter-Counties might be a big event, but to say you're 'national' champion sounds good. Regular people identify with it more, I think."