Another busy couple of days saw muddy cross-country courses and windy road races as defining features. James Rhodes brings you the best of the weekend action.

Muddy in Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill is one of the spiritual homes of cross country and on Saturday it played host to the London XC Championships. The course is hilly, tough and traditionally muddy, and this edition was no different. Cambridge Harrier Holly Dixon and Dom Nolan of Croydon Harriers won the respective senior races over 6k and 10k respectively.

Photo: James Rhodes

Dom was followed across the line by London Heathside’s Seyfu Jamaal and Dulwich Runners’ Edward Chuck, the trio finishing within one minute of each other. Holly built up a seventeen second lead over the two laps of the women’s race from Yvette Lock of Thames Valley Harriers and Blackheath & Bromley’s Morgan Squibb.

Across the Pond

It has been a busy week for cross country outside of the UK also, including with the NCAA XC Championships. The Division 1 races took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, on a (by American standards) tough course.

Running over 6k, the best performance in the women’s race came from Phoebe Anderson, representing Columbia University. The Herne Hill Harrier finished 29th, an impressive improvement on her 191st place finish last year. Also racing and finishing inside the top 100 were 1500m European U23 Championship bronze medallist Shannon Flockhart (69th) and steeplechase specialists Elise Thorner (75th) and Maisie Grice (76th).

Best in the men’s race over 10k was David Mullarkey, finishing 40th. It is the Leeds and Isle of Man athlete’s first NCAA XC Championships, having joined Florida State earlier this year. Connor Nisbet (59th), Joe Hudson (60th) and Joseph O’Brien (81st) also finished in the top 100.

On the (Windy) Roads

Strong winds were a defining feature across many of the road races taking place this weekend, particularly on Sunday. Of the handful of half marathons taking place over the weekend, John Sanderson (68:21) recorded the fastest time at the multi-lap Battersea Park Half Marathon. The flat and fast course once again lived up to its reputation. Caitlin Bradley (87:07) was the fastest female.

Elsewhere, Tom Butler (68:46) ran well at the St Neots Riverside Runners Half Marathon, finishing over three minutes clear of the rest of the field. Hannah Berry (80:33) was the fastest female. Lesley Locks (82:21) and Ben Tyler (70:46) won the Gosport Half Marathon. Worksop Harrier Thomas Shaw (74:59) and Nicola Squires of Hallamshire Harriers (85:06) recorded victories at the Clowne Half Marathon.

Across the border in Wales, Morgan Kendall (71:55) and Alison Campbell (82:05) won the Conwy Half Marathon. In the Isle of Man, victories at the Haldane Fisher Syd Quirk Half Marathon went to Christa Cain (78:42) and Samuel Jones (72:05).

Finally, Lucas Parker (71:53) and Chelsea Baker (76:44) won RunThrough’s Run Tatton Half Marathon. Sue McTigue (39:21) and Jordan Jones (32:08) were quickest in the associated 10k.

Plenty of Hills

The NN Zevenheuvelenloop takes in 15km of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. It is also known as the ‘seven’ hills race; in short, it isn’t a flat race! Charlotte Purdue finished fifth (49:06) in a strong women’s race won by steeplechase World Record holder Beatrice Chepkoech. She finished ahead of multiple international medallist Vivan Cheruiyot.

Photo: Bjorn Paree

Continuing his return to competitive racing, Jake Smith finished eighteenth (45:30). Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo won in 41:05, equalling the fastest time for the distance set by his compatriot Joshua Cheptegai on the same course in 2018.

Photo: Bjorn Paree

Shorter Distances

If you fancied a fast but windy race on Sunday morning, the Brighton 10k may have been one for you. It certainly was for James McMurray (30:59) and Helen Hall (33:38) who won having contested strong headwinds for much of the second half. It was a close finish in the men’s field, with James closely followed by Alex Teuten (31:02) and Ross Skelton (31:06). Helen’s margin of victory was more sizable, joined in the top-three by Sarah Winstone (35:33) and Cassie Thorp (35:44).

Staying on the south coast, Briony Walsh (43:11) and Alex Dugard (36:35) went quickest at the Coastbuster 10k in Broadstairs. Jordan Skelly (30:04) and Sophie Wallis (33:31) ran well at the Gainsborough & Morton 10k.

Bryce Raeside (33:38) and Charlotte Ward (37:16) were victorious at the Matthew Walker 10k, as were Anya Culling (35:14) and Josh Holman (33:52) at the EAMA 10k in Wymondham. Bryan Bett (36:03) and Becky Phillips (40:02) won the Crowborough 10k, with Oliver Waymark (16:58) and Aurelia Dinnage (21:49) taking the associated 5k. Race two in the Tempo Winter 10k Series provided wins to Andy Lawrence (36:11) and Louise Andrews (46:50).

Annabelle Wallace (39:31) and Alastair Campbell (33:15) crossed the finish first at the Total Guide Chilly 10k in Bath. Less than 24 hours after racing the London XC Championships, Ollie Garrod (34:03) was victorious at the Hampton Court Palace 10k. He was joined by Kat Alpe (40:40) on the winners podium.

On more challenging courses, there were wins for Oliver Hucks (37:37) and Leonie Glasson (45:05) at the Rugged Radnage 10k, and for Adela Murray-Browne (51:17) and Lee Thomas (40:13) at the Dark Valley 10k.

Imperial Racing

Alfie Manthorpe recorded the fastest five-mile time of 2023 at the Wolverton 5, with 23:29. Just two seconds behind was Jack Goodwin (23:31), with Joshua Grace (24:19) rounding out the top-three. Tessa McCormick (27:18) was joined on the podium by Lara Bromilow (28:46) and Elle Roche (29:18).

Racing over ten miles continued to be ever-popular this weekend. Dougie Musson (49:21) and Hayley Gill (60:22) were victorious at the Derby 10. Further north, the Preston 10 went to Joanna Marsden (59:51) and Brandon Quinton (49:53) and the Tadcaster 10 to Harry Johnson (53:19) and Heather Townsend (56:14). Finally, Gill Pearson (63:13) and Jonathan Cornish (50:34) won the Wimbourne 10.