21 March 2013
World Junior 3000m bronze medallist Emelia Gorecka (coach: Mick Woods) headlines a strong GB & NI team heading to Bydgoszcz, Poland, for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships on Sunday 24th March.
Gorecka, who won individual silver and team gold at the European Cross Country Championships last December, will compete in the under 20 women’s race at the World Cross on the back of a convincing win at the McCain World Cross Trials in Birmingham. The 19 year old believes that her seventh Inter Counties victory will stand her in good stead for the challenge of facing some of the world’s best distance runners in Poland.
“I've been training hard for the World Cross and even without ideal preparation for the Inter Counties it was very reassuring for me and my coach that all the hard work up to date helped pull me round to victory.
“The World Cross Country Championships have been described as one of the toughest events on the planet and having already competed in two previous championships a part of me would agree. However, I won’t put any limits on myself, being a part of the World Cross is a fantastic experience and I intend to make the most of it by pushing myself to be the best that I can on the day and try to challenge the best in the world.”
Sisters Bobby and Alex Clay (both Peter Mullervy) will compete in their first World Cross alongside Gorecka, Georgia Taylor-Brown (Paul Roden), Amy-Eloise Neale (Dan Parker) and Rebecca Weston (James Roberts).
In the senior women’s race, Lauren Howarth (Peter RIley) will return to action following her sixth place finish in the 3000m at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg earlier this month. The 22 year old is hoping to build on the experience of her first her senior championships when she lines up in Bydgoszcz.
“I’m really excited for my first senior World Cross. Gothenburg was a surprise and I went there and raced well to get top six so now I need to carry my form on. That was my first senior GB & NI vest and it was great to take on the best in Europe, now I’m going to be taking on the best in the world so it was a good step towards this race.”
Howarth is joined by Louise Damen (self-coached), who finished first at the McCain World Cross Trials and was 11th at the European Cross last year, as well as Gemma Steel (John Nuttall), Steph Twell (Woods), Elle Baker (Turnbull) and Emily Wicks (Keith Donkin).
The senior men’s team is led by McCain World Cross Trials winner Frank Tickner (Clive Thomas), who will line up for his third World Cross alongside Steve Vernon (David Turnbull), who was second at both the McCain World Cross Trials and English National, Michael Skinner (Andrew Hobdell), Phil Nicholls (Bud Baldaro) and Jonathan Taylor (Gordon Surtees).
Following a tight race in Birmingham, where only nine seconds separated the top four finishers, Jonathan Davies (Rob McKim) will lead an under 20 men’s team which also contains Gordon Benson (Philip Townsend), William Paulson (Christopher Frapwell), Lewis Lloyd, Michael Callegari (Nadeem Shaikh) and Michael Ward (Paul Darney).
Following dominant performances from GB & NI athletes at the European Cross Country Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in December, British Athletics Endurance Coach Terrence Mahon is anticipating another strong showing from British athletes in what are likely to be sub-zero conditions on Sunday.
“Looking at the success we had at the European Cross Country Championships and how the athletes did in the Trials at Birmingham we have a very good team that knows how to run in the expected conditions; I think that will work in our favour over a lot of the other teams.
“If you look at the team, we have both men and women competing who will have a great chance of getting ‘A’ standards for the distance events at the World Championships on the track. Putting them against this kind of international competition will definitely help in furthering them along in their development.
“I believe the World Cross is the hardest race in the world, it tests the limits of any athlete and just being able to compete in it gives great experience of what it’s like to be in that type of event.”
GB & NI team for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships: