22nd November 2023


The second fixture in the 2023/24 British Athletics Cross Challenge series takes place at Sefton Park in Liverpool this Saturday (25 November) in an event which incorporates the official trial for the European Cross Country Championships.

With athletes targeting a place in the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for Brussels next month, the senior and U20 races will be highly competitive encounters with a full complement of age groups races also in the programme of events.

The women’s race will see the defending champion from 2022, Jessica Warner-Judd (coach: Mick Judd, club: Blackburn Harriers), take on a stellar field including Cardiff Cross Challenge winner, Megan Keith (Ross Cairns, Inverness). Warner-Judd has excelled at the Sefton Park event in recent years, while Keith will be seeking a first senior race victory after finishings second last year.

Just a handful more athletes to watch out for in a very strong field are GB & NI international Abbie Donnelly (Rob Lewis, Lincoln Wellington), Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods, Bracknell AC) who was the first English athlete over the line at the recent Cross Italica international in Seville, Jess Gibbon (Reading), Izzy Fry (Newbury) and world 1500m finalist Melissa Courtney-Bryant (Rob Denmark, Poole AC).

The senior men’s race will be an interesting contest with the first Briton across the line in Cardiff, Zakariya Mahamed (Idris Hamud, Southampton), among the contenders. Mahamed won individual silver in the U23 race at the 2022 edition of the Euro Cross, so he will be targeting another GB & NI call-up for the Championships next month.

Olympian Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins, Kilbarchan) returns to the event nine years after he won the senior race in Sefton Park. Runner-up last year Hugo Milner (Derby) and 2021 winner Jack Rowe (Tim Eglen, Aldershot Farnham and District) are also among the entries, as are World Road Running mile silver medallist Callum Elson (Cambridge & Coleridge), and 2022 Euro Cross U20 champion Will Barnicoat (Aldershot Farnham and District).

The U20 women’s race will see last year’s winner Innes Fitzgerald (Exeter) in action as she follows on from a commanding victory at the Cardiff Cross Challenge fixture earlier this month. She will face competition from Holly Weedall (Andrew Carter, Vale Royal) who was recently a winner for England at the Cross Italica meeting. In an open field, athletes such as Pippa Roessler (Mick Woods, Aldershot Farnham and District), Megan Harris (Hayley Hemmings, Chelmsford) and Lizzie Wellsted (Colchester) will be among those looking to book their spots on the British team for Brussels in two weeks’ time.

Rowan Miell-Ingram (Wendy Miell-Ingram, Radley) has been one of the in-form junior athletes during the 2023 cross country season to date, and he will face a stacked field including Cardiff winner Sam Hodgson (Shireen Higgins, Windsor Slough Eton Hounslow), and Ed Bird (Mark Pauley, Poole AC) – first Briton in the U20 race at the World Cross Country championships earlier this year – in the U20 men’s race.

Sam Mills (Exeter) and Luke Birdseye (Shireen Higgins, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) – fourth and fifth respectively in the U20 race at the Euro Cross last year – will be among the challengers, while Noah Campion (Bedford & County), Joseph O’Connell (Mick Woods, Aldershot Farnham and District) and Ethan Primett (Andrew Hobdell, Herts Phoenix), who all had strong performances for Team England in Seville earlier this month, will be among some other athletes to look out for in the field.

Once again, the programme will kick off with two short course relay trial races with last year’s men’s winner among the entries, James Heneghan (James Thie, Pontypridd). Khahisa Mhlanga (Andrew Hobdell, Herts Phoenix), runner up last year, leads the entries for the women’s event.

The action – which is free to watch – gets underway in Sefton Park at 10:30am on Saturday 25 November.

The Liverpool Cross Challenge will be streamed live in British Athletics TV from 10:30am on Saturday 25 November HERE

More information on the event can be found HERE