22nd November 2019


The best Cross Country runners in the United Kingdom will descend on Sefton Park tomorrow (Saturday, 23 November) to battle for spots on the British team for next month’s European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon.

Charlotte Arter (coach: Chris Jones; club: Cardiff) and defending series champion Kate Avery (Shildon) won the respective Cardiff and Milton Keynes legs of the Cross Challenge series and will be strong contenders to take maximum points in Liverpool.

Dani Chattenton (Kyle Bennett; MK Distance Project), who leads the senior women’s standings heading in, has shown good form in the first two meets and will be in contention, along with Inter Counties champion Jenny Nesbitt (Chris Jones; Cardiff), while Emily Hosker-Thornhill (Mick Woods; Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Amy Griffiths (Rob Denmark; AFD) will not be far away.

For the Under-23s places, which will be decided within the senior races, the field will be led by Abbie Donnelly (Rob Lewis; Lincoln Wellington), who will hope to transition her road form onto the grass, and Bronwen Owen (Andrew Henderson; Leeds City), who came home third in Milton Keynes behind Avery & Griffiths.

Cari Hughes (Andy Walling; Swansea) makes her return to the Cross Country scene for the first time since the U20 race at the 2018 Euro Cross in Tilburg, the Netherlands, with Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods; Bracknell AC) expected to again showcase her pedigree on the terrain in Liverpool.

Winner of last year’s senior men’s race Ross Millington (Steve Vernon; Stockport) will be back looking to defend his crown and arrives in good form having finished second at the Leeds Abbey Dash 10K, lowering his personal best by one second to 28:39.

Alex Teuten (Roderick Lock; Southampton AC) has shown consistency in the previous two meets and could be in contention, while former series champion Sam Stabler (Rob Denmark; Wreake & Soar Valley) impressed with a second-place in Milton Keynes.

Overall Series leader Mahamed Mahamed (Southampton AC) will lead the Under-23 contenders as he looks to extend his lead atop the standings, but European U23 Championship 10,000m bronze medallist Emile Cairess (Philip Townsend; Leeds City) will be a strong contender.

Triathlete Alex Yee (Kenneth Pike; Kent) could be in the hunt, along with twin brothers Petros Surafel (Mick Woods; Thames Valley) and Paulos Surafel (Thames Valley) while Tom Mortimer goes looking for a first vest as an Under-23 having stepped up from the junior ranks.

In the junior women’s race, Tia Wilson (Bedford & County) heads the standings and will be favourite to continue her run of form, while Saskia Millard (Luke Gunn; Herne Hill) and Eloise Walker (John Lees; Edinburgh), winners of the opening two legs of the series respectively, will be back looking for top spot in Liverpool.

Becky Briggs (Mick Woods; City of Hull), Charlotte Alexander (Wayne Vinton; Herne Hill) and Olivia Mason (Graeme Mason; Border) and Amelia Samuels (John Abbiss; Wolverhampton & Bilston), all of whom were part of the British team at the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, will be in the mix for victory, as will under-17 runner Maya Todd-McIntyre (Graham Moffatt; Rushcliffe).

The unbeaten Matt Willis (self; Wrexham) will be one of the top contenders for the junior men’s race, alongside Oliver Barbaresi (Andy Walling; Thames Valley), both of whom have started the season in fine form.

Rory Leonard (Morpeth), who was forced to withdraw from last year’s trial through illness, is looking to end his season on a high, with European Under-20 800m champion Oliver Dustin (Graeme Mason; Border) a strong contender along with Euan Brennan (Andrew Henderson; Ilkley).

The men’s U17 race will pit Flynn Jennings (Bideford) and Johnny Livingstone (Exeter) against each other with the former looking to reclaim the series lead, with Jenson Connell (Richard Massey: Mansfield Harriers) also in good form.

The U15 girls field is led by the unbeaten Kiya Dee (Highworth), but she will face competition from Elsie Robinson (Robert Griffiths; Saffron AC), Valencia Wright (Giffnock North) and Scarlett Livingstone (Exeter), who have all pushed each other in the previous two meets.

Lewis Sullivan (St Edmund Pacers) and Frank Morgan (Carol Jones; Carmarthen), who won in Cardiff and Milton Keynes respectively, both go in search of a second series win in the U15 boys race, while Ben Peck (Thetford) will aim to extend his series lead.

Alden Collier (Chiltern Harriers) and Kian Dee (Highworth) lead the U13 boys challenge, while the girls equivalent is led by Zoe Gilbody (Nick Hughes; Chiltern Harriers), who won in both Cardiff and Milton Keynes.

The action commences at 11am on Saturday with the combined Under-11 Girls & Boys race, with the senior men’s race closing the programme at 2:05pm.