29th March 2019
PREVIEW: IAAF WORLD CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
The IAAF World Cross Country Championships take place in Aarhus, Denmark on Saturday, with four full British teams taking to the challenging course.
After winning the Trials event in Loughborough earlier this month, Adam Hickey (coach: Eamonn Martin; club: Southend) is excited to be wearing the British vest in competitive action for the first time since the European Cross Country Championships in Hyeres in 2015.
Speaking at the IAAF press conference prior to the event, Hickey said:
“The trial was a tough course but not as tough as this one. As hills [the museum roof] go, it is one of the steepest hills I’ve ever been on. I think you are going to have to pace yourself on this course or pay the price.”
On the performance that qualified him for this championship, he said: “I can come in to this race with a lot of confidence after winning the Inter-Counties. I won that race as a junior, so it is nice to do it as a senior as well, it meant a lot. I’ve got two young children, so it was nice for them to see me win that one and be back in a GB vest.”
He added: “My last World Cross was in Mombasa in 2007, unfortunately that one ended up with a calf tear, but it is good to be back 12 years later.”
Joining Hickey in the senior men’s race for Great Britain & Northern Ireland are Ross Millington (Jon Brown; Stockport) who took senior team silver in December’s Euro Cross, with Under-23 team silver medallists from Tilburg, Oliver Fox (Richard Llewellyn Eaton; Wells City) Mahamed Mahamed (Peter Haynes; Southampton AC) and Patrick Dever (Andy Bibby; Preston) earning senior spots. Luke Traynor (Robert Hawkins; Giffnock North) completes the team and comes into the race in good form having set a 5km PB on the roads in Monaco last month.
In terms of the international field, look no further than Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor who either an U20 or senior title at the last three World Cross Country Championships, but he will have fierce competition from Rhonex Kipruto (KEN), the World Junior 10,000m champion, Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) who won the U20 title in Kampala two years ago, and Selemon Barega (ETH), World Junior 5000m champion from 2018.
Team captain Jess Piasecki (Robert Hawkins; Stockport) will lead the senior women’s squad, with fellow 2018 European Cross senior team silver medallists Kate Avery (Shildon) adding experience to the team. Under-20 team gold medallist from Tilburg, Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods; Bracknell AC), makes the step up as she earns her first senior vest.
Winner of the trials Jenny Nesbitt (Chris Jones; Worcester), earns her first British vest on the cross-country circuit since 2016, while Mhairi MacLennan (Helen Clitheroe; Edinburgh Uni Hare & Hounds) and Emily Hosker-Thornhill (Mick Woods; Aldershot, Farnham & District) complete the team facing the best in the world in Aarhus.
Hellen Obiri leads the Kenyan charge in Denmark despite making her maiden appearance at these championships, having won a world title on the track. Keep an eye on Lilian Rengeruk (KEN) who was third two years ago, 3000m steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN) and Ethiopia’s Letsenbet Gidey who will likely be fierce contenders for the title.
On to the junior men’s races, and Inter Counties champion Matt Willis (self; Wrexham) leads the junior men’s field after his trials win, alongside English under-20 cross champion Rory Leonard (Morpeth), and under-20 European Mountain Running Championship team gold medallist from 2018, Euan Brennan (Andrew Henderson; Ilkley)
Under-20 Cross Challenge champion Zakariya Mahamed (Peter Haynes; Southampton AC) achieves his first British vest – and joins his brother Mahamed who is in the senior men’s team – as do Ben West (Kyle Bennett; MK Distance Project) and Josh Cowperthwaite (Martin Peevor; Middlesbrough Mandale).
They will face among others, six-time European champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) who aims to be first European to win the race in 35 years, following his incredible results indoors in Glasgow at the start of the month.
The U20 women’s race will be the first individual race getting underway on Saturday morning with several team members earning their maiden British vests.
Under-20 team gold medallist from Tilburg, Inter Counties and 2018/19 Cross Challenge champion Grace Brock (Cornwall AC) is among the British squad, along with under-17 English National Championships winner, Olivia Mason (Graeme Mason; Border Harriers).
Charlotte Alexander (Wayne Vinton; Herne Hill) earns another British vest following on from her run in the Great Stirling XCountry, while Becky Briggs (Derek Ricketts; City of Hull), Eloise Walker (John Lees; Edinburgh AC) and Amelia Samuels (John Abbiss; Wolverhampton & Bilston) make their first appearances for GB & NI this weekend.
World U20 5000m champion Beatrice Chebet (5000m world rank: 54) leads the international names having won the Kenyan Cross-Country Championships a few weeks ago.
The IAAF World Cross Country Championships will be shown live on the BBC Red Button from 9:45 – 14:00, see more here.
The British Athletics team selected for the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships on March 30:
Patrick Dever (Andy Bibby; Preston)
Oliver Fox (Richard Llewellyn Eaton; Wells City)
Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin; Southend)
Mahamed Mahamed (Peter Haynes; Southampton AC)
Ross Millington (Jon Brown; Stockport)
Luke Traynor (Robert Hawkins; Giffnock North)
Kate Avery (Shildon)
Emily Hosker-Thornhill (Mick Woods; Aldershot, Farnham & District)
Mhairi MacLennan (Helen Clitheroe; Edinburgh Uni Hare & Hounds)
Jennifer Nesbitt (Chris Jones; Worcester)
Jessica Piasecki (Robert Hawkins; Stockport)
Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods; Bracknell AC)
Euan Brennan (Andrew Henderson; Ilkley)
Josh Cowperthwaite (Martin Peevor; Middlesbrough Mandale)
Rory Leonard (Morpeth)
Zakariya Mahamed (Peter Haynes; Southampton AC)
Benjamin West (Kyle Bennett; MK Distance Project)
Matt Willis (self; Wrexham)
Charlotte Alexander (Wayne Vinton; Herne Hill)
Becky Briggs (Derek Ricketts; City of Hull)
Grace Brock (Cornwall)
Olivia Mason (Graeme Mason; Border Harriers)
Amelia Samuels (John Abbiss; Wolverhampton & Bilston)
Eloise Walker (John Lees; Edinburgh AC)