11th October 2019
ARTER AND MAHAMED HEAD STRONG CARDIFF LINE-UP FOR CROSS CHALLENGE OPENER
Charlotte Arter (coach: Chris Jones; club: Cardiff) and Mahamed Mahamed (Southampton) will head up the first Cross Challenge fixture of the 2019/2020 season as they head to Cardiff this weekend.
Arter is enjoying a strong 2019, having been part of the team that claimed gold in the European 10,000m cup back in May, adding to her fourth place finish at the Great Stirling XCountry and breaking the female parkrun record in Cardiff.
She will be challenged in the senior women’s race by Jenny Nesbitt (Chris Jones; Cardiff), who came home as third scorer for the British team at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark in March, alongside winning the Inter County Championships in Loughborough.
Verity Ockenden (Tony Houchin; Swansea) will have her sights set on victory in the Welsh capital, whilst Amy Griffiths (Rob Denmark; Aldershot, Farnham & District), who helped AFD to third place behind Nesbitt and Arter’s Cardiff at the ERRA four-stage relays and Phoebe Law (Mick Woods; Kingston & Poly) will be in contention.
Defending men’s series champion Mahamed will look to become the first man since Andy Vernon in 2011 to win three consecutive senior men’s titles on the circuit and is aiming for his first victory in Cardiff, having been pipped to victory in the last two editions of the series.
Charlie Hulson (Liverpool), who won on this course last year, arrives looking for back-to-back wins in the city, while Sam Stabler (Rob Denmark; Wreake & Soar Valley) will hope he can rediscover his form of 2017/18 when he heads to Cardiff.
Ellis Cross (Mick Woods; AFD) will hope he can rediscover his form of season’s gone by and IAU 50km World Championship bronze medallist Dan Nash (Cardiff AC) will hope to be in the mix on his home course.
For the Under-20s, Zakariya Mahamed (Southampton AC) will hope to defend his series title as he returns to Cardiff for the first time since 2017, but will face stiff competition from series runner-up, Matt Willis (Wrexham AC).
Ben West (Kyle Bennett; MK Distance Project), will look to challenge for the title and upgrade his third place finish of last year, with European Mountain Running team gold medallist Euan Brennan (Andrew Henderson; Ilkley) likely to be in the hunt on his first appearance in Cardiff.
Under-17 women’s series champion Shannon Flockhart (Mark Vile; Cambridge & Coleridge) will hope she can make her mark on the Under-20 women’s field in the U17/U20 race as she steps up an age group, but will face a tough initiation, with Amelia Samuels (John Abbiss; Wolverhampton & Bilston) looking to better her second-place finish in the U20 standings last season.
Saskia Millard (Luke Gunn; Herne Hill), who took fifth place in Borås in the women’s 3000m, will hope her progression on the track will transition onto the grass, while in the U17s side of the race, Maya Todd-McIntyre (Graham Moffatt; Rushcliffe) will be a strong contender for victory.
Beatrice Wood (Dave Amey; City of Salisbury) has proven her prowess over the track this season, clocking the fastest times by an under-17 over 1500m and 3000m will be a contender for the Cardiff crown.
Osian Perrin (Andy Walling; Menai) and Johnny Livingstone (Exeter) will be the top contenders in the men’s U17 race with many of their rivals stepping up to the U20 field this year.
After successfully defending his Under-13 boys title for a second year, William Rabjohns (Mark Pauley; Poole AC) steps up to the Under-15s this year, joined by Isaac Morris (Mark Vile; Cambridge & Coleridge) and Benjamin Peck (Thetford), completing the top three from last season’s standings.
Lewis Sullivan (St. Edmund Pacers) will be one of the favourites to kick off the season with a win following his success at the English Schools Cross Country Championships in winter, and track progression over the summer.
Scarlett Livingstone (Exeter Harriers) makes the step up to the under-15 girls race having won the under-13s title last season, with Holly Weedall (Andrew Carter; Vale Royal) once again expected to challenge.
Savana Smith (Charnwood) will look to make the best possible start in her challenge for a first Cross Challenge series win in the under-13 girls race, while the under-13 boys race will be anyone’s game.
The action at Llandaff Fields gets underway at 11:30am with the under-11 girls race and draws to a close at 2:50pm with the senior men’s race.