27th November 2021



Several athletes booked their places at the European Cross Country Championships as the British Cross Challenge Series headed to Liverpool.

Jess Judd claimed a stunning victory in the senior women’s race, while Jack Rowe held off the challenge of Andrew Butchart to take the men’s title.

Alex Bell will represent Great Britain in the mixed relay after taking the win in the women’s Short Course Relay Trial, with Benjamin West emerging the victor in the men’s equivalent.

Megan Keith won the Junior Women’s race with rising star Jess Bailey, 15, taking second and claiming the U17s title.

Judd (Coach: Mick Judd, Club: Blackburn Harriers) broke clear on the second lap of the 8.1km to finish in 26:29 minutes as Jenny Nesbitt (Chris Jones, Cardiff AAC) came home in second, 17 seconds back.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympian, Judd, said: “It was really windy and really cold, so I thought I’d just sit in and see what goes on, and everyone in front of me was smaller so I wasn’t getting any shelter from the wind, so I thought just go on and I went and won!

“I felt really strong, it’s probably the strongest I’ve felt on the cross all year. I felt really strong halfway through the second lap and at the end, I thought ‘hold it together the best you can’.”

Abbie Donnelly (Lincoln Wellington AC; Rob Lewis) and Jess Gibbon also secured their places at next month’s European Championships in Dublin.

Amelia Quirk (Bracknell AC; Mick Woods) was the fastest Under 23 to finish, earning fourth place while Izzy Fry (Newbury AC; Steve Vernon), Eleanor Bolton (Ribble Valley AC; Chris Barnes) and Eloise Walker (Edinburgh AC; Andy Young) booked their places on the U23 team.

Jack Rowe (Tim Eglen, Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) took the men’s title in a time of 28:05, while Butchart (Central AC) completed the 9.8km course in 28:16, as the pair confirmed their places on the British team in Dublin.

Rowe said: “We got here, had some nice weather, I was a bit worried it was going to be a mudbath with all the rain yesterday, but the course was really good, it was firm, it was fast.

“It went out pretty slow, Butchart came through and really picked the pace up and it thinned out quite quickly.

“It was nice to race him, I have been on the back end of Andy quite a while now so it was nice to actually get a win.”

Butchart’s clubmate Jamie Crowe (Central AC) will also head to Ireland while Tom Mortimer (Stroud & District AC; Chris McGeorge) was the fastest U23 finisher in fourth.

The Under 23s to book their place at the European Championships are Rory Leonard (Morpeth Harriers AC), Matthew Stonier (Invicta East Kent AC; Peter Mullervy) and Zakariya Mahamed (Southampton AC; Idris Hamud).

The day began with Benjamin West (Milton Keynes Distance Project; Kyle Bennett) taking victory in the men’s Short Course Relay Trial, finishing three seconds ahead of Luke Duffy (Mansfield Harriers; Richard Massey) with a time of 4:28.

Their top two spots confirm their place on the British relay team at the Europeans and will be joined by Bell (Pudsey & Bramley AC; Andrew Henderson), who will look to defend the title she won in Lisbon in 2019, coming home just one second ahead of Hannah Nuttall (Charnwood AC; John Nuttall), in a time of 5:03

In the junior categories, Keith (Inverness Harriers AAC; Megan Cairns) was well clear of the pack to win the Junior Women’s race, completing the 4.4km course in 14:45, finishing eight seconds ahead of Bailey (Leven Valley AC; Matthew Long) who claimed the Under 17 Girls’ title.

Next to follow were Alice Garner (Aldershot Farnham & District AC; Mick Wodds), Beatrice Wood (City of Salisbury AC; Dave Amey) and Phoebe Anderson (Herne Hill Harriers; Wayne Vinton).

There was a solid win for Henry McLuckie (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers; Geoff Watkin) as he stormed the Junior Men’s race, the Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier’s run took top spot on the podium by 17 seconds from Will Barnicoat (Aldershot Farnham & District AC).

That pair will be joined at the Championships by Liam Rawlings (Shrewsbury AC; Colin Lancaster), Hamish Armitt (Giffnock North AAC) and Lewis Hannigan (Kilbarchan AAC; Robert Hawkins) who rounded out the top five.

The U17 Boys race was won by Edward Bird (Poole AC), who was the only athlete to dip below 17 minutes around the 5.5km course, as fellow south coast runner Ben Brown (Southampton AC) came home in second.

Robert Price (Vale Royal AC) edged Craig Shennan (Giffnock North AAC) in the Under 15 Boys race, coming home in 9:20 – just three seconds ahead of Shennan.

Shaikira King (Wreake and Soar Valley AC) topped the Under 15 Girls’ podium, completing the 3km race in10:29 to finish ahead of clubmate Zoe Gilbody.

Bailey Hughes headed a Liverpool Harriers 1-2-3, winning the under 13 girls race in a dead heat with teammate Isabella Doran, with Lexie Ellis just three seconds back, while Calum Dick (Giffnock North AAC) secured the Boys’ title.

There were clear winners in the U11 races, as Jack Baranowski (Blackburn Harriers) took victory in the boys’ race by 26 seconds, while Polly Kershaw (Blackpool Wyre & Fylde AC) had a winning margin of 21 seconds over Alice Carr (Rossendale Harriers) to win the Under 11 Girls’ event.

Central AC (senior men) and Aldershot Farnham and District (senior women) were the winners of the European Champions Clubs Cup Cross Country Trial, so they have qualified for next year’s event in Oeiras, Portugal on the 6 February.

Jamie Crowe – second counter for Central AC men in the ECCC XC Trial (3rd overall in the race)