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UK Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships

Hayley Yelling
Hayley Yelling

Favourites Frank Tickner and Hayley Yelling won the senior titles at the UK Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships, incorporating the UK Cross Challenge Finals, while the World Trial races for Under 20s were won by Jon Pepper and 15-year-old Charlotte Purdue.

 

Here’s a brief run through the 10-race programme…

 

Great Run Senior men (12km): Frank Tickner (Wells City Harriers) completed a great day for the Birmingham University squad by moving clear in the last 2km and completing a hat-trick of major domestic victories. The race was made by the defending champion, Dominic Bannister, who made such a positive start that he built a 50m lead within the first third of the race. But Tickner and his Avon and Somerset team mate Ben Noad reeled him in. Tickner rated this victory as tougher than his European and World Trials wins earlier this winter, adding: “I find it a tough course. Even though it was a bit muddy it didn’t slow down. We had Dominic to chase down, which pushed the early pace up. And then Ben was pushing it on. On the last lap I had a little spell of feeling good and I remembered when I won the Under 17 title here pushing up the hill and down the back straight. I pretty much did that today and it worked again.” Noad said of his third Silver medal: “I tried to keep pushing. To be fair, Frank has been stronger all season.” Of Bannister’s early burst, he said: “That was brilliant. It was a surprise but it was brilliant to see.” Bannister said: “I maybe over-cooked it a little bit but I’d got a decent start and thought ‘I’m not slowing down!’ I knew it would get muddier as the laps went on. There was no point sitting around.” Leaders: 1 F Tickner (Avon and Somerset) 39:25; 2 B Noad (Avon and Somerset) 39:35; 3 D Bannister (North East) 39:46; 4 J Mays (Kent) 40:14; 5 A Buckley (Notts) 40:25; 6 K Deighton (Humberside) 40:29; 7 G Raven (Greater Manchester) 40:33; 8 P Wicks (Surrey) 40:43; 9 T Hartley (Leics) 40:48; 10 D Norman (Greater Manchester) 40:56.

 

National Express Senior women (8km): Despite getting caught up in traffic and having no time to warm-up, Hayley Yelling (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC) romped to her third title in five years before she heads off at the head of the Norwich Union GB women’s squad for Mombasa via the UK Athletics preparation camp in Durban. The silver medal went to Louise Damen, obviously progressing well on the comeback trail, with last year’s champion Hatti Dean finishing an isolated third. Down the field, only 12 months after finishing second in the UK Cross Challenge series, Kate Ramsey (Leicestershire) was delighted to finish 54th in 33:06, having been diagnosed with a degenerative disc disease in her back. “I’m fighting back,” she smiled. Leaders: 1 H Yelling (Middlesex) 29:33; 2 L Damen (Hamps) 29:54; 3 H Dean (Oxon) 30:11; 4 J Wilkinson (Essex) 30:31; 5 V Webster (Hertfordshire) 30:47; 6 A Dixon (North East) 30:49; 7 K Green (Shrops) 30:49; 8 V Wilkinson (Yorkshire) 30:57; 9 C Martin (Shropshire) 31:05; 10 T Krzywicki (Leicestershire) 31:06.

 

National Express Under 20 men and World Trial (8km): Birmingham University student Jon Pepper (Enfield and Haringey AC) , who made his Norwich Union GB debut at the European Championships pre-Christmas, booked his place in the Worlds by moving ahead at halfway and winning comprehensively. Silver medallist Conor McNulty earned a rich reward for three years of long distance travels with his Kilbarchan AAC coach John Rogers to UK Cross Challenge meetings all over the four nations. Bronze medallist Adam Hickey was just pleased to finish a race for the first time since he was put out of action by a calf injury at the end of the track season. Title holder Lee Carey, below his excellent best, was fifth to come into the selectors’ deliberations. Leaders: 1 J Pepper (Herts) 27:04; 2 C McNulty (Scot West) 27:07; 3 A Hickey (Essex) 27:13; 4 A Livingstone (Essex) 27:18; 5 L Carey (Warks) 27:27; 6 B Lindsay (Lancs) 27:34.

 

Great Run Under 20 women and World Trial (6km): Fearless 15-year-old Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham and District AC) burst away through the heaviest of the mud at halfway and went on to seal her place in the Worlds with considerable style. Livvie Kenney, the early leader, hung on for the second automatic qualifying spot and was the first of five Birmingham University athletes, past or present, in the first 15. The crucial third spot went to North of England Champion Stevie Stockton, earning her GB debut. Leaders: 1 C Purdue (Hamps) 24:04; 2 O Kenney (Warks) 24:23; 3 S Stockton (Ches) 24:32; 4 J Coulson (Gt Man) 24:55; 5 N Stanford (Wales West) 25:00; 6 B Hayward (Notts) 25:08.

 

Great Run Under 17 men (6km): UK School Games 1500m bronze medallist Ross Murray (Gateshead Harriers) scored an excellent victory in extremely heavy conditions. Leaders: 1 R Murray (NE) 21:33; 2 D Easter (Herts) 21:46; 3 S Hawkins (Scot West) 21:47; 4 J Brownlee (Yorks) 22:00; 5 G Divall (Warks) 22:25; 6 A Doherty (NIR) 22:11.

 

National Express Under 17 women (5km): Heather Timmins (Warrington AC) led all the way to win impressively in the absence of one of her potential biggest dangers, Laura Alexander-High, who has a slight injury. Leaders: 1 H Timmins (Ches) 19:45; 2 K Knowles (Cornwall) 19:51; 3 A Smith (Kent) 10:54; 4 R Gough (Hamps) 20:10; 5 H Bateson (Lancs) 20:16; 6 L Russell (Hamps) 20:19.

 

London Marathon Initiative Under 15 boys (4.5km): Callum Hawkins (Kilbarchan AAC), who has honed his racing tactics in the UK Cross Challenge alongside Mombasa-bound Conor McNulty, made a brave, long run for home in the thickening mud and hung on in the face of a late charge from the other medallists. Leaders: 1 C Hawkins (Scot West) 16:14; 2 D Forrester (Mersey) 16:15; 3 S Harding (Kent) 16:18; 4 A Combs (Kent) 16:24; 5 M Mason (Kent) 16:34; 6 C MacLean (Scot East) 16:37.

 

London Marathon Initiative Under 15 girls (4km): In what was the most competitive finishes in the age-group races, long-time leader Beth Potter fought off two strong challenges to strike gold. First Beth Carter strode into the lead with about 500m to go only for Potter to pick up the pace. Then Melissa Hawtin made an equally determined bid, but Potter found yet another gear. Hawtin’s considerable consolation was to win the overall UK Cross Challenge title in her first year in the age group. Leaders: 1 B Potter (Scot West) 16:00; 2 M Hawtin (Oxon) 16:03; 3 B Carter (Kent) 16:12; 4 L Park (Cumbria) 16:12; 5 K Avery (NE) 16:15; 6 K Holt (Staffs) 16:23.

 

London Marathon Initiative Under 13 boys (3km): For some mysterious reason, the names of Northern Ireland’s athletes did not make it into the official start lists so spectators and TV commentators alike spent the best part of 17 minutes thinking they were seeing mirror-image mirages. In fact, the unknown visions were twins Andrew and Patrick Monaghan from Rathfriland in County Down, who dominated from start to finish. Andrew, the younger by 7 minutes, survived a dramatic fall only metres from the line to strike gold, having won the Ulster Schools cross country title on Valentine’s Day. Patrick, the Irish 1500m champion, finished within half-a-stride much to the pleasure of their father, Andy, who was among the amazed crowd. Leaders: 1 A Monaghan (NIR) 16:58; 2 P Monaghan (NIR) 12:58; 3 Z Seddon (Berks) 13:13; 4 M Shaw (NE) 13:22; 5 F Roberts (Yorks) 13:27; 6 T Purnell (Gloucs) 13:37.

 

London Marathon Initiative Under 13 girls (3km): Emelia Gorecka became the second champion from Aldershot, Farnham and District AC, winning impressively ahead of her training mate, Ruth Haynes. Leaders: 1 E Gorecka (Surrey) 14:18; 2 R Haynes (Surrey) 14:24; 3 R Weston (Kent) 14:32; 4 A Hainine (Scot East) 14:37; 5 E Wallbank (Beds) 14:46; 6 G Bell (Mx) 14:49.

Yelling and Tickner
Hayley Yelling & Frank Tickner

National Express Under 20 men and World Trial (8km): Birmingham University student Jon Pepper (Enfield and Haringey AC) , who made his Norwich Union GB debut at the European Championships pre-Christmas, booked his place in the Worlds by moving ahead at halfway and winning comprehensively. Silver medallist Conor McNulty earned a rich reward for three years of long distance travels with his Kilbarchan AAC coach John Rogers to UK Cross Challenge meetings all over the four nations. Bronze medallist Adam Hickey was just pleased to finish a race for the first time since he was put out of action by a calf injury at the end of the track season. Title holder Lee Carey, below his excellent best, was fifth to come into the selectors’ deliberations. Leaders: 1 J Pepper (Herts) 27:04; 2 C McNulty (Scot West) 27:07; 3 A Hickey (Essex) 27:13; 4 A Livingstone (Essex) 27:18; 5 L Carey (Warks) 27:27; 6 B Lindsay (Lancs) 27:34.

 

Great Run Under 20 women and World Trial (6km): Fearless 15-year-old Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham and District AC) burst away through the heaviest of the mud at halfway and went on to seal her place in the Worlds with considerable style. Livvie Kenney, the early leader, hung on for the second automatic qualifying spot and was the first of five Birmingham University athletes, past or present, in the first 15. The crucial third spot went to North of England Champion Stevie Stockton, earning her GB debut. Leaders: 1 C Purdue (Hamps) 24:04; 2 O Kenney (Warks) 24:23; 3 S Stockton (Ches) 24:32; 4 J Coulson (Gt Man) 24:55; 5 N Stanford (Wales West) 25:00; 6 B Hayward (Notts) 25:08.

 

Great Run Under 17 men (6km): UK School Games 1500m bronze medallist Ross Murray (Gateshead Harriers) scored an excellent victory in extremely heavy conditions. Leaders: 1 R Murray (NE) 21:33; 2 D Easter (Herts) 21:46; 3 S Hawkins (Scot West) 21:47; 4 J Brownlee (Yorks) 22:00; 5 G Divall (Warks) 22:25; 6 A Doherty (NIR) 22:11.

 

National Express Under 17 women (5km): Heather Timmins (Warrington AC) led all the way to win impressively in the absence of one of her potential biggest dangers, Laura Alexander-High, who has a slight injury. Leaders: 1 H Timmins (Ches) 19:45; 2 K Knowles (Cornwall) 19:51; 3 A Smith (Kent) 10:54; 4 R Gough (Hamps) 20:10; 5 H Bateson (Lancs) 20:16; 6 L Russell (Hamps) 20:19.

 

London Marathon Initiative Under 15 boys (4.5km): Callum Hawkins (Kilbarchan AAC), who has honed his racing tactics in the UK Cross Challenge alongside Mombasa-bound Conor McNulty, made a brave, long run for home in the thickening mud and hung on in the face of a late charge from the other medallists. Leaders: 1 C Hawkins (Scot West) 16:14; 2 D Forrester (Mersey) 16:15; 3 S Harding (Kent) 16:18; 4 A Combs (Kent) 16:24; 5 M Mason (Kent) 16:34; 6 C MacLean (Scot East) 16:37.

 

London Marathon Initiative Under 15 girls (4km): In what was the most competitive finishes in the age-group races, long-time leader Beth Potter fought off two strong challenges to strike gold. First Beth Carter strode into the lead with about 500m to go only for Potter to pick up the pace. Then Melissa Hawtin made an equally determined bid, but Potter found yet another gear. Hawtin’s considerable consolation was to win the overall UK Cross Challenge title in her first year in the age group. Leaders: 1 B Potter (Scot West) 16:00; 2 M Hawtin (Oxon) 16:03; 3 B Carter (Kent) 16:12; 4 L Park (Cumbria) 16:12; 5 K Avery (NE) 16:15; 6 K Holt (Staffs) 16:23.

 

London Marathon Initiative Under 13 boys (3km): For some mysterious reason, the names of Northern Ireland’s athletes did not make it into the official start lists so spectators and TV commentators alike spent the best part of 17 minutes thinking they were seeing mirror-image mirages. In fact, the unknown visions were twins Andrew and Patrick Monaghan from Rathfriland in County Down, who dominated from start to finish. Andrew, the younger by 7 minutes, survived a dramatic fall only metres from the line to strike gold, having won the Ulster Schools cross country title on Valentine’s Day. Patrick, the Irish 1500m champion, finished within half-a-stride much to the pleasure of their father, Andy, who was among the amazed crowd. Leaders: 1 A Monaghan (NIR) 16:58; 2 P Monaghan (NIR) 12:58; 3 Z Seddon (Berks) 13:13; 4 M Shaw (NE) 13:22; 5 F Roberts (Yorks) 13:27; 6 T Purnell (Gloucs) 13:37.

 

London Marathon Initiative Under 13 girls (3km): Emelia Gorecka became the second champion from Aldershot, Farnham and District AC, winning impressively ahead of her training mate, Ruth Haynes. Leaders: 1 E Gorecka (Surrey) 14:18; 2 R Haynes (Surrey) 14:24; 3 R Weston (Kent) 14:32; 4 A Hainine (Scot East) 14:37; 5 E Wallbank (Beds) 14:46; 6 G Bell (Mx) 14:49.

Full results can be downloaded below: