Strong fields for the British Athletics Cross Challenge opener in Cardiff, plus the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run, Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Manchester Half and Yorkshire Marathon
PHOEBE LAW, JESS JUDD AND KATE AVERY TAKE ON SOME CLASSY EUROPEAN VISITORS AT THE OPENING CROSS CHALLENGE MEET OF THE WINTER
THE 2018-19 British Athletics Cross Challenge series kicks off this weekend with leading domestic runners facing a sprinkling of international opponents.
Last weekend, Cardiff staged the Commonwealth HalfMarathon Championships, but on Saturday the action switches to Llandaff Fields, just north of the city centre, on a course that runs alongside the River Taff.
Sophie Duarte, the 2013 European cross-country champion, adds an overseas element to a largely British lineup. The Frenchwoman was coached to her European title five years ago by the former GB international runner Dave Heath and takes to the turf in South Wales this weekend aged 37.
Imana Truyers, a Rwandaborn Belgium runner, will also be a strong contender. The 24-year-old won the women’s race at the Brussels CrossCup last winter and is improving fast after settling in her new country (see News, p9).
Also in the women’s line-up is Sara Treacy of Ireland. As a Birchfield Harrier and doctor working in Birmingham, Treacy is well known to the British runners and her achievements include competing in the steeplechase at the Rio Olympics.
For an early-season race, an unusually large number of top domestic runners are out in force. They include reigning English National and InterCounties champion Phoebe
Law, Jess Judd and Kate Avery.
In addition, senior women’s entries include Emily Hosker Thornhill, Mhairi Maclennan, Louise Small, Stevie Stockton, Lydia Turner and Beijing Olympian Kate Reed.
Alex Teuten and English National champion Adam Hickey lead the men’s fields along with former Inter-Counties winner Richard Goodman, Jonny
Hay, Mahamed Mahamed,
Ellis Cross, Corey De’Ath and Cardiff-based Dan Nash.
There are also several runners making the trip from Malta.
In the young athletes’ races, entrants include English National under-17 champion Mo Ali, European under-20 800m gold medallist Khahisa Mhlanga, English Schools senior boys’ cross-country champion and triathlete Matt Willis, National and Inter-Counties under-13 champion William Rabjohns, Inter-Counties junior women’s winner Grace Brock and
Scottish under-20 champion Anna Macfadyen.
Jake Heyward, meanwhile, a local man who was fourth in the 1500m at the World Under-20 Championships this year, is racing in an under-20 men’s race at a Cross Challenge meet that includes the Gwent League.
No doubt the international competitors have been attracted by the £800 winning prize for the top senior man and woman, which goes down to £50 prize for fifth place, plus additional British-only prize money. In total, athletes will be racing throughout the winter series for a prize pot of £28,580.
Jess Judd: the Loughborough athlete (433) returns to Cardiff after her 2017 win