The ‘Downs League’ is a cross country running event for boys and girls. It has been held on Epsom Downs every autumn and winter since the 1980s. So, by competing you are following in the steps of generations of runners and taking part in an event with a long and exciting history of racing over the Downs. We believe a certain Martin Rooney was out on the Downs before he became famous as an International 400m and relay runner.
There are 4 fixtures at monthly intervals over the autumn and winter. Runners are all members of local athletic clubs including Croydon Harriers who were the founder club who in John Hazeldene and John Woolmer provided the earliest League secretaries. More recently David Barrington (2005-2013), Susanne Dietrich (2013-2016) and Nigel Bongers (2016-2020) have ensured that results were produced even if it meant drying them out on washing lines after wet race days. When Susanne Dietrich took over form David as League coordinator, the clubs included Croydon, Sutton, Epsom & Ewell, and K&P sending teams, with Holland Sports and Thames Turbo and some schools also sending runners or teams. The League evolved from originally being only for boys (welcoming girls to compete in 1998-99), to being open to all clubs and schools in the region and remains today the only opportunity for U11s to get into cross country running. Recent initiatives from Epsom have included establishing separate team trophies for boys and girls along with the introduction of an U17 race in 2020- 21 (delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions and a temporary move to Morden Park).
Races are organised by experienced officials from the clubs many of whom will be licensed by England Athletics as technical officials (which includes positive DBS vetting) under the supervision of a fully licensed Race Referee.
With the continued support of the conservators of Epsom Downs, we hope the Downs League will continue to welcome young athletes to cross country running. So why not come and join us on the Downs?