Senior men and women will both compete over 10km at the British Athletics Cross Challenge final in Loughborough

Senior men and women will run the same distance of 10km at the UK Inter-Counties Championships in Prestwold Hall, Loughborough, on March 9.

The event doubles as the British Athletics Cross Challenge final and trial for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus and, as reported in the September 27 edition of AW, the organisers are adjusting the races from the usual distances of 12km for men and 8km for women.

The Saucony English National Cross Country Championships has come under pressure in the last 12 months to also reduce its distances, however a poll of athletes at this year’s event showed most runners wished to continue racing the traditional distances, with fears that the size of the women’s field might be hit if the distance was increased.

Read more on the topic of cross country equality in a blog post by Paul Halford here

Nigel Holl, head of strategy and partnerships at UK Athletics, said: “Working with the UK Counties Athletic Union, we are excited to pilot the equalising of distances at the Cross Challenge Final and Inter-Counties Championships for the first time.

“We, alongside CAU, have listened to the athletes taking part in our Cross Challenge events up and down the country, and support this move at one of the biggest fixtures in the domestic calendar.

“The senior races at the world cross country championships are 10km, so with this as the selection race, we seek to replicate the conditions and distances as closely as possible.”

The Cross Challenge series again kicks off at Llandaff Fields in Cardiff on October 13, while Teardrop Lakes in Milton Keynes will host its fifth event in a row on November 10.

On November 24, Sefton Park in Liverpool hosts the European Cross Country Championships trials, while Dundonald in Belfast hosts the fourth leg of the series for the first time on January 19.

Further details on the series can be found here.

» Have you voted in our cross-country greats poll? Have your say as to the top runners here and see the September 27 edition of AW for more