8th November 2019
AVERY AND MAHAMED AIMING TO REPEAT 2018 SUCCESS IN MILTON KEYNES
Mahamed Mahamed (club: Southampton) and Kate Avery (Shildon) are seeking to repeat their senior wins from last year as the British Athletics Cross Challenge series moves on to Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes, on Saturday.
After the opener at Cardiff provided an early-season form guide, athletes continue their build-ups to the European Cross trial held with the third stage of the series in Liverpool in two weeks’ time.
Mahamed, who is bidding to claim his third consecutive Cross Challenge title, will be keen to bounce back from defeat to Marc Scott in Cardiff. With the latter absent, Inter-Counties champion Adam Hickey (Southend; Eamonn Martin) could be one of his closest challengers as he competes for the first time since his 2:16 marathon debut in Berlin.
Adam Craig (Inverclyde; Steve Vernon) is trying to build on his recent 28:45 at the Leeds Abbey Dash 10km. Others to watch out for should be Alex Teuten (Southampton; Roderick Lock), who was third here last year, Jack Gray (Cambridge & Coleridge; Mark Vile), who recently set a half-marathon PB of 63:16, and Sam Stabler (Rob Denmark; Wreake & Soar Valley), who ran the fastest opening leg at last week’s national cross relays.
Former European silver medallist Avery will make her season’s debut as she returns to the mud for the first time since her 30th place at the World Cross in March. However, National champion Emily Hosker-Thornhill (Aldershot, Farnham & District; Mick Woods) should at least run her close. She ran the fastest open leg at the national cross relays last weekend as she helped her club to victory. Amy Griffiths (Aldershot, Farnham & District; Rob Denmark), who was seventh in the Europeans at under-23 level last winter, will also be seeking a positive start to her season, whilst former European under-23 silver medallist Naomi Taschimowitz (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers; Charlotte Fisher) will hope to be in the mix too.
Looking to duplicate their top-ten placings from Cardiff are Dani Chattenton (Milton Keynes Distance Project; Kyle Bennett), Holly Archer (Cambridge & Coleridge; Mark Vile) and Kate Maltby (Bristol & West; Christopher Frapwell).
In the under-20 men’s race, last year’s winner, Matthew Willis (Wrexham), returns having since won the Inter-Counties and finished 25th at the World Cross. Arguably the strongest field of the day sees him up against three of his team-mates from Aarhus: Zakariya Mahamed (Southampton; Peter Haynes), Euan Brennan (Ilkley Harriers; Andrew Henderson) and Ben West (Milton Keynes Distance Project; Kyle Bennett). Joshua Dickinson (Leeds City; Andrew Henderson) and Oliver Barbaresi (Thames Valley Harriers; Andy Walling) are other contenders.
Hoping to mix it up with their seniors in the same race will be the leading under-17s. Flynn Jennings (Bideford AC), the winner in Cardiff, and Oliver Smart (Tavistock Run Project), whom he beat into second, are back. Keen to push them will be National runner-up Will Barnicoat (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow; Trevor Raggett), European 1500m bronze medallist Joshua Lay (Rugby & Northampton; Anthony Love) and Hamish Armitt (Giffnock North).
On the women’s side, Olivia Mason (Border Harriers; Graeme Mason), third in the Inter-Counties last season, is notable among the under-20 contenders. Shannon Flockhart (Cambridge & Coleridge; Mark Vile) and Tia Wilson (Bedford & County) hope to step up from fourth and fifth respectively in Cardiff. Eloise Walker (Edinburgh University; John Lees) should be in the hunt too and looking to be top under-17 in that race will be Ella Semple (Birchfield Harriers; Catherine Muth), who was second in Cardiff.
In the under-15 boys’ race, Lewis Sullivan (St Edmunds Pacers) seeks to match his win from last year. Hoping to stop him adding to his victory in Cardiff will be Ben Peck (Thetford), the National and Inter-Counties under-13 winner last season, and Isaac Rothwell (Cambridge & Coleridge; Mark Vile).
Another under-15 who is after a second series win already is Kiya Dee (Highworth AC). Last year’s national under-13 champion, Scarlett Livingstone (Exeter Harriers), could challenge in her new age group.
In the under-13 races, Henry Sheffield (Cirencester) and Zoe Gilbody (Chiltern Harriers; Nick Hughes) hope to maintain their winning streaks after successful starts in Cardiff.
The event, which is held in conjunction with the Chiltern League, kicks off with the under-11 girls’ race at 11.30am.