19th January 2019


Emily Hosker-Thornhill (coach: Mick Woods; Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Sam Stabler (Rob Denmark; Wreake & Soar Valley) took maximum Cross Challenge points in Dundonald at the Northern Ireland International Cross Country this afternoon.

Hosker-Thornhill followed up her eighth-place finish in the Great Stirling XCountry last weekend to stop the clock in 24:20, the first home nations athlete home, with series leader Kate Avery (Shildon) extending her lead further, finishing seventh overall in 27:29 and taking second place in the Challenge points.

Mhairi McLennan (John Lees; Edinburgh Uni Hare & Hounds) continued her good winter form with an eighth place finish, three seconds behind Avery, with Emelia Gorecka (Chris Thompson; AFD) back on the cross country circuit for the first time in over a year, finishing a respectable 11th. Meskerem Mamo (ETH) pipped Hawi Feysa (ETH) on the line to take victory in 26:10

Stabler, making his return to Cross Challenge action since competing at Loughborough last March, ran a strong race and finished fifth in 30:33, holding off Charlie Hulson (Chris Jones; Liverpool), who was 10 seconds further back in sixth.

The result sees the latter move to the top of the series standings heading with one race remaining, while Alex Teuten (Roderick Lock; Southampton AC) continued his strong winter, a further three seconds behind Hulson.

Birhanu Balew (BRN) claimed victory in a tight finish in 29:42, pipping fellow international competitor Richard Yator (KEN).

There were strong performances from England in the IAAF Junior races, with Grace Brock (Cornwall AC) and Zakariya Mahamed (Peter Haynes; Southampton) romping to victory in Northern Ireland and taking full Cross Challenge points in the process.

Mahamed kicked at the perfect time to make it an easy run-in for himself, holding off fellow England teammate Ben West (Kyle Bennett; MK Distance Project), the duo clocking 19:05 and 19:07 respectively.

Matt MacKay (Graham Wright; Rossendale Harriers) was the first Under-17 home in 19:34, to surge up the Cross Challenge standings, with Nicolas Harhalakis (Mark Vile; Cambridge & Coleridge) jumping into top spot with a second-place finish, 10 seconds further back.

The women’s Under-17/U20, which doubled as the IAAF Junior Women’s race, saw Brock (Cornwall AC) continue her fine run of form and blew the field away to take individual and team victory for England, winning in 14:12.

Brock powered away from the field and opened up a near 15-second advantage on her nearest rival, Amelia Samuels (John Abbiss; Wolverhampton & Bilston), who finished second in 14:25.

Anna Hedley (Fife AC) was the first Under-17 across the line, finishing in third position overall, but Maya Todd-McIntyre (Graham Moffatt; Rushcliffe) and Charlotte Alexander (Wayne Vinton; Herne Hill) produced excellent efforts to earn team victory for England.

Giffnock North dominated the Under-15 girls race, taking four of the top five spots, with Zoe Flower (Dudley Walker) cutting the tape first in 11:42, ahead of club-mate Hannah Ryding, who clocked 11:45. Katie Parker (Wreake & Soar Valley) took a hard-fought third place in 11:52.

Dylan McBride (Lawson Cochrane; Willowfield Harriers) ran out a comfortable winner from Dafydd Jones (Carol Jones; Camarthen) in the boys’ equivalent, with 10:14 being his winning time, Jones ended five seconds further back, with Lucas Cairns (Ross Cairns; Inverness) third in 10:22 after a solid run.

Fergus Currie (Garscube Harriers) denied Isaac Morris (Mark Vile; Cambridge & Coleridge) a hat-trick of wins in the Under-13 boys race, saving enough energy to win in 7:15, with the latter two seconds further back. Oliver Patton (Robert Hawkins; Kilbarchan) rounded out the top three in 7:25.

Isabelle Price (Wolverhampton & Bilston) claimed fourth place to move to the top of the Under-13 girls Cross Challenge standings after her 8:02, with Erinn Leavy (Dunleer AC) winning in 7:44. Isla Thoms (Fife AC) followed up her win in Liverpool with a sixth place finish, one second behind price.