This weekend saw four members of the team take to the cross-country for more racing. Charlie and Eli flew over to Burgos, Spain for the famous Cross Atapuerca, whilst Andy and Jamie headed down to Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes for the first of the British Athletics Cross Challenge series.

 

Cross Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain

Over in Spain at the first IAAF Cross Country Permit meet of the calendar, Eli and Charlie donned the Welsh vest to take on some top European and African competition.

It was a great race for Eli and one of her best cross country performances to date. Over the twisty 8km course, she placed ninth in a time of 26:32 and finished fifth European athlete home ahead of some of the top British and Spanish runners. Ethiopian Teferi Senbere won the race in a time of 24:48 ahead of Agnes Tirop, the world cross-country champion, and 29:53.51 10,000m runner Alice Aprot.

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For Charlie, mid-way in to his stint of altitude training up in the French Pyrenees, this race gave him the perfect chance to drop down from the mountains and head across the border for a day of racing. A solid run out and somewhat of a sharpener ahead of the European trials in Liverpool, he finished a creditable 29th in 26:39. The race came down to a thrilling sprint finish between Bahrainian Ayalew Aweke and Ugandan Timothy Toroitich. Aweke prevailed in a time of 25:05.

 

IAAF Cross Atapuerca Results:

 Men (9km)

1 Aweke Ayalew (BRN) 25:05

2 Timothy Toroitich (UGA) 25:05

3 Imane Merga (ETH) 25:12

4 Muktar Edris (ETH) 25:22

5 Jairus Birech (KEN) 25:24

6 Phillip Kipyeko (UGA) 25:30

7 Antonio Abadia (ESP) 25:34

8 Ilias Fifa (ESP) 25:35

9 Jaouad Tougane (MAR) 25:35

10 Carlos Mayo (ESP) 25:39

29 Charlie Hulson (GBR) 26:39

 

Women (8km)

1 Senbere Teferi (ETH) 24:48

2 Agnes Jebet Tirop (KEN) 24:52

3 Alice Aprot (KEN) 24:58

4 Belaynesh Oljira (ETH) 25:11

5 Fionnuala McCormack (IRL) 25:26

6 Sofia Ennaoui (POL) 26:15

7 Trihas Gebre (ESP) 26:22

8 Kate Hulls (GBR) 26:24

9 Elinor Kirk (GBR) 26:32

10 Juliet Chekwel (UGA) 26:40

 

 

British Athletics Cross Challenge, Milton Keynes, UK

It is the second year that Teardrop Lakes has played host to the opening race of the British Athletics Cross Challenge, a series of five races that takes place annually all over the UK from November to March. Despite less mud than last year, Saturday’s race still presented a pretty testing course full of short, sharp hills and undulating terrain.

First to take up the ‘challenge’ was Jamie in her first experience of British cross-country running. Following a bout of illness and injury, this was Jamie’s first competitive race back and a rare outing over the Cross Country. It was a testing day for her on her return back to fitness but she battled on to finish 21st in 21:07. Pippa Woolven won the race in a time of 19:41.

Andy was next to toe the line. Facing a very competitive domestic field with multiple GB internationals, it was going to be a tough test in his final preparation for the European trials in 2 weeks’ time. He hung in with the lead group until 6km and then a lead pack of three moved away, he battled until the end finishing strongly to take fifth place in 29:12. The race was won by Rio 10,000m Olympian Andy Vernon in 28:42.

 

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Andy tucked in behind the leaders early on at Milton Keynes

British Athletics Cross Challenge Results:

Men

1 Andy Vernon 28:42

2 Ben Connor 28:54

3 Jonathan Taylor 29:01

4 Adam Hickey 29:11

5 Andrew Heyes 29:12

6 Matthew Sharp 29:16

7 Andrew Douglas 29:38

8 Michael Ferguson 29:45

9 Jonathan Davies 29:49

10 Jaimie Roden 29:5

 

Women

1 Pippa Woolven 19:41

2 Jessica Judd 19:46

3 Katrina Wooton 19:49

4 Gemma Steel 19:49

5 Lauren Deadman 20:18

6 Sarah Mccormack 20:21

7 Abbie Donnelly 20:23

8 Gemma Kersey 20:24

9 Sarah Inglis 20:34

10 Victoria Knight 20:36

21 Jamie Van Lieshout 21:07

 

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Eli tracking the leaders early on in Burgos.

 

by Lauren Howarth