25th November 2021
LIVERPOOL SET TO HOST THE 2021 CROSS CHALLENGE FIXTURE & EURO CROSS TRIALS THIS SATURDAY
Hundreds of athletes will arrive in Liverpool on Saturday 27 November for the highly anticipated British Athletics Cross Challenge fixture which incorporates the trial for both the 2021 European Cross Country Championships in Ireland, and next year’s European Champion Clubs Cup Cross Country 2022 in Portugal.
The event at Sefton Park, which returns after cancellation due to the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, has acted as the trial for the European Cross Country Championships since 2003, so it is familiar ground for the country’s top endurance athletes.
In the senior women’s field, Charlotte Arter (Chris Jones, Cardiff) and Jess Gibbon (Reading) – winners of the opening two 2021/22 Cross Challenge fixtures in Cardiff and Milton Keynes respectively – will both be looking for a high placing. Arter has several GB & NI vests to her name, while Gibbon is seeking her first call-up.
Other athletes to watch out for in a strong senior women’s field are Jess Judd (Mick Judd, Blackburn), always a competitive figure whether on the cross country, road or track, Jenny Nesbitt (Chris Jones, Cardiff) who has been in second place in the previous two fixtures in the series, two-time European cross silver medallist Kate Avery (Shildon) and Abbie Donnelly (Rob Lewis, Lincoln Wellington).
There are a number of U23 athletes who will be looking for a strong performance in the senior women’s race including Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods, Bracknell) who returns after injury, Izzy Fry (Steve Vernon, Newbury) and Eloise Walker (Andy Young, Edinburgh) to name a few. It is all set to be an entertaining race; it starts at 13:05 on Saturday.
As for the U20 women’s race, Megan Keith (Ross Cairns, Inverness), who has enjoyed an impressive track season, will be looking to build on her cross country victories in Cardiff and Milton Keynes to make her third British team of the year. Charlotte Alexander (Luke Gunn, Tonbridge) is another contender is an open field.
The senior men’s race will be one of the highlights of the programme with several athletes vying for the win at the prestigious fixture.
With Hugo Milner (Derby) (U23) showing excellent form during the Autumn fixtures to date, he’ll be looking to make it three Cross Challenge wins in a row at Sefton Park.
After recently winning at the Scottish National Short Course Championships, Andrew Butchart (Barry Fudge, Central) joins the stacked field alongside Jack Rowe (Tim Eglen, Aldershot Farnham and District) and Jake Smith (James Thie, Cardiff) who have been in solid form during 2021.
U23 athletes to watch out for in this race include Zakariya Mahamed (Idris Hamud, Southampton) who was second in the senior men’s race at Teardrop Lakes a fortnight ago, European U23 fourth placer over 5000m Tom Mortimer (Chris McGeorge, Stroud), and Thomas Keen (Mark Vile, Cambridge and Coleridge) and many more.
In one of the most open races of the weekend, the U20 men’s contest will be a tightly fought one. Hamish Armitt (Giffnock North) leads the way following his win in Milton Keynes but the likes of Kane Elliott (William Sharp, Falkirk) and Henry Mcluckie (Geoff Watkin, Shaftesbury Barnet) have been in good form during the Autumn months.
For the first time in recent years, there will be a dedicated short course trial for the mixed relay team for the European Cross Country Championships. With two men’s and two women’s spots up for grabs, several athletes will race over the 1.5km lap to earn a place in the Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad.
On the men’s side, Tiarnan Crorken (Andy Bibby, Preston), George Mills (Jon Bigg, Brighton Phoenix) and James McMurray (Deborah Steer, St Albans) – the latter was part of the gold-medal winning team in Lisbon two years ago – will be three of many athletes staking a case to reach Fingal-Dublin.
For the women’s race, Olympic fourth-placer Alex Bell (Andrew Henderson, Pudsey and Bramley) and European Indoor fourth-placer Ellie Baker (Jon Bigg, Shaftesbury Barnet) are two standout names on the entry lists. However, Isabelle Boffey (Luke Gunn, Enfield and Haringey), Beth Kidger (Joel Kidger, Brighton Phoenix), Hannah Nuttall (John Nuttall, Charnwood) and Jenny Selman (Fife) are among those who will fancy their chances in an open field.
The racing gets underway at 10:30am on Saturday 27 November with the short course races.
Event information is available here.
The selection policy for the 2021 European Cross Country Championships is here.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE BRITISH ATHLETICS CROSS CHALLENGE IN LIVERPOOL
Here are the key links to information:
- Event information including timetable / course maps here.
- Live results will be available here.
- Follow @BritAthletics on Twitter for live updates during the day. @AthleticsWeekly will also be providing updates from the event.
- The end of key races will be streamed across Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
- A highlights package of the days action will be available on the British Athletics social media channels on Sunday.
Unfortunately for reasons beyond our control we are unable to bring the races to supporters via a live stream this weekend.
Interim CEO Mark Munro said:
“I am personally disappointed that for various reasons we can’t achieve the access for our infrastructure which would enable us to bring the races to supporters via a live stream on Saturday.
“Whilst we will bring a full update service across our social channels, we know this is disappointing especially with key GB team places at stake. But we will ensure that everything is done to bring key events live to our audiences in future.
“In the meantime, best of luck to everyone competing in Liverpool this weekend in what is sure to be a brilliant day of cross country competition.”