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

Athletics Weekly - - Be Your Greatest -

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

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