22nd November 2018


The country’s best Cross Challenge runners will flock to Sefton Park on Saturday (24th November) to fight it out for a handful of spots on the British team for the European Cross Country Championships next month.

The race in Liverpool, the final series meeting of 2018, doubles as the official trials for the British teams and all fields are stacked in preparation for the battle ahead.

A strong senior men’s field sees multiple British team medallist Dewi Griffiths (coach: Kevin Evans; club: Swansea) and former Liverpool champion, Ross Millington (Steve Vernon; Stockport), front the line-up, along with Cardiff champion, Charlie Hulson (Steve Vernon; Liverpool).

European Championship 5000m finalist Marc Scott (Jerry Schumacher; Richmond & Zetland) last raced the course in 2014, but took U23 team silver in 2015, while Alex Teuten (Roderick Lock; Southampton AC) will want to follow-up his team bronze medal in Samorin last year with another British vest.

Cross Challenge series leader Mahamed Mahamed (Peter Haynes; Southampton AC) will race in the U23s division within the senior men’s race, battling it out with fellow 2017 U23 team bronze medallists Patrick Dever (Andy Bibby; Preston) and Jack Rowe (Mick Woods; AFD), who returns after racing the NCAA Cross Country Championships in the snow in Wisconsin last Saturday.

Paulos Surafel (Craig Winrow; Thames Valley) and Ellis Cross (Mick Woods; AFD) claimed U20 and U23 team bronze respectively in 2016’s instalment and both will battle it out for spots in the U23 team, while Oliver Fox (Richard Llewellyn Eaton; Wells City) can hope to cause another stir following his second-place finish in Milton Keynes.

In the senior women’s field, Kate Avery (Shildon) is looking to continue her rampant start to the season, but the resurgent Jessica Piasecki (Robert Hawkins; Stockport Harriers), who claimed second place in Milton Keynes, and 2016 course runner-up Charlotte Arter (Chris Jones; Cardiff AC) will be pushing her all the way.

Like Piasecki, Pippa Woolven (Wycombe Phoenix) showed excellent form on her first Cross Challenge outing of the season in Milton Keynes, but Emily Hosker-Thornhill (Mick Woods; Aldershot, Farnham & District) and 2017 U23 team gold medallist Jess Judd (Mick Judd; Blackburn) will be in the mix.

U23 team gold medallists Amy Griffiths (Rob Denmark; Aldershot, Farnham & District) and fit again Phoebe Law (Mick Woods; Kingston & Poly AC) will fight it out in the U23 class once more for automatic spots on the team.

Abbie Donnelly (Rob Lewis; Lincoln Wellington) and Bronwen Owen (Andrew Henderson; Leeds City) will be optimistic of staking their claims for a spot in the U23 team, following respectable ninth and 14th place finishes in Milton Keynes a fortnight ago.

Cross de Atapuerca & Cardiff Cross Challenge victories make Jake Heyward (James Thie; Cardiff) the strong favourite in the men’s U20 race, but Matt Willis (Wrexham), Rory Leonard (Morpeth) and Zakariya Mahamed (Peter Haynes; Southampton AC) will make it a tasty encounter for the top five U20 places on offer.

U17 series leader Mohamed Ali (Steve Mann; Ealing, Southall & Middlesex) steps up to the U20 race but the 15-year-old is ineligible for selection for the British U20 team due to his age.

The women’s U17/U20 field is rammed with quality as 2017 team gold medallists Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods; Bracknell AC), Cari Hughes (Andy Walling; Swansea), Khahisa Mhlanga (Mick Judd; Herts Phoenix), Niamh Brown (Mick Woods; Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Phoebe Barker (Richard Owen; Tonbridge AC) face off against each other.

Further competition comes from Cardiff champion Grace Brock (Cornwall AC), Burgos bronze medallist Zoe Wassell (Christopher Frapwell; Bristol & West), World Junior 1500m finalist Erin Wallace (Dudley Walker; Giffnock North) and in-form U17 athlete Charlotte Alexander (Wayne Vinton; Herne Hill).

Away from the trials, Matt Stonier (Peter Mullervy; Invicta East Kent) has the chance to overtake Ali at the top of the U17 Boys standings, with Archie May (Jason Marchant; Dartford Harriers) also targeting another podium.

Kyle Rabjohn (Richmond & Zetland) and Sam Smith (Wharfdale Harriers) go head-to-head again in the Boys U15 race, the former heads the standings on 53 points. Samia Jones’ absence in the Girls’ equivalent gives Kiya Dee (Highworth) and Moli Lyons (Arwyn Davies; Cardiff) an opportunity to climb top of the standings. The duo are five and seven points respectively behind Jones, who leads on 52 points.

Under-13 Girls joint-leaders Josie Robertson and Scarlett Livingstone are both absent in Liverpool, leaving Isabella Wrightham (Wreake & Soar Valley) as strong favourite for victory. U13 Boys leader Isaac Morris (Mark Vile; Cambridge & Coleridge) will once again battle William Rabjohns (Poole AC) and Benjamin Peck (Thetford AC) for the podium places.

The action kicks off from 10:45am with the U11 Boys race and concludes at 2:05pm with the senior men’s race, incorporating the U23s race.

Full start lists are available under the Liverpool tab here.