The cross country season was in full swing all over the country this weekend with several 10ks and half marathons over the road as well. This weekend also saw some Brits succeed across the globe at the World Mountain Running championships and in France.

This weekend saw an absolutely huge run from the Cardiff’s U23 athlete, Jake Smith, at the Boulogne-Billancourt Half Marathon in France. Smith ran himself to not only a 2-minute half marathon PB, but also knocked 1 minute off the U23 British record. Smith ran an incredible 62:02 for the half marathon distance which saw him finish 5th with Kipkoech Felix winning in 60:12. In a return to form after his withdrawal from Frankfurt Marathon Josh Lunn ran a fine 65:08 for 10th.

In the World Mountain Running Championships, the British team had some storming results, coming home with 4 medals between them. In the men and women’s long-distance races, GB’s Charlotte Morgan finished 7th and Jonathon Albon an impressive 4th!

Over the classic distance, Phillips Williams had a phenomenal run, finishing 3rd overall, doing her nation proud. The senior women’s team also secured themselves the bronze team medal! The junior men’s team also had huge success, with Joe Dugdale claiming gold and the 3-man junior team also claiming gold.

We will have a full report on the World Mountain Running Championships over coming days.

The Braids 10k XC kickstarted the weekend’s results with some quick times through the mud and over the hills in Edinburgh University’s open event. Kris Jones claimed the victory in the men’s race, clocking a rapid 29:58 for the distance. The Swansea athlete gave a strong performance after finishing 5th in last weekend’s Scottish National Short Course Championships. Next to cross the line in 2nd place was Kevin wood in 31:42 followed by Ewan Brown, just 22 seconds behind.

The women’s race saw Leeds Uni’s Jemima Elgood take home gold in a cracking 36:19. Elgood has been in strong form after achieving a 34:41 PB at the Leeds Abbey Dash this year. Elgood was followed home by Hunters Bog Trotters’ Jill Stephen in 37:58, an impressive performance on a muddy course. Rounding off the women’s podium was Hannah Stroud in 39:30.

British & Irish Masters XC titles decided

There were some great performances as England dominated in the British and Irish International Grand Masters Cross Country in Aintree. Out of a total 18 individual titles up for grabs across all the different age groups, England took home 10 of them. A few stand out performances came from Nigel Gates in the M65 race as he improved on his silver medal from last year, taking home gold. David Butler secured a hat-trick in the M55 race, claiming his third consecutive win. Peter Giles had the biggest win of the day, leading the M75 race by nearly 2 minutes! Mark McKinstry ran a super fast 24:51 over the 8km course to retain his M35 title.

The women’s performances were just as impressive. A few noteworthy performances included England’s Kirsty Longley, who after a 33:40 10k time at Leeds Abbey Dash a few weeks ago, took home the win in the W40 event with Michelle Sandison claiming the W35 title. Claire Martin landed herself a 25-second lead in the W45 category. England were also successful winners in the W55 and W60 event, with British Masters athlete, Clare Elms being the W55 winner. England’s Angela Copson was also among the winners on the day in the W70 category.

Back on the road.

On the road, the results this weekend were just as impressive. The Derby 10 mile saw some quick names lining up. Ben Connor ran a strong race all the way to the end when there was a fight for the gold medal as second place’s Dougie Musson did not give in. Derby’s own, Connor, crossed the line at 49:42 ahead of Musson (Notts) in 49:45, just 15 seconds outside of his personal best. Third place was achieved by Bedford & County’s Jonathon Janes in 51:54, in his debut over the distance. Connor’s performance is particularly impressive as it looks like he ran the race as a strucutred session;

Getting the win in the women’s race in Derby was Natalie Bunce from Holme Pierrepont. Bunce ran an impressive 1:02:46 in what was also her 10-mile debut. Echoing the men’s race with a close finish, Tracy Hinxman took home the silver medal in 01:02:48. Third place went to Alice Thackray in 01:02:56.

The famous Brampton to Carlisle 10 mile race always sees quick times on the overall downhill gradient. This year was no different with a tight battle between Charlie Hulson and Philip Sesemann. In the end it was Liverpool Harrier Hulson who came out on top clocking 47:24 with Leeds man Sesemann a few seconds back in second with 47:45. Marc Brown of Salford Harriers also broke the 50 minute barrier with 49:41 for third.

Alison Lavender continued her fantastic recent form to cross the line as the winning women running 56:00 with a much more comfortable margin of victory than Hulson with her nearest challenger being Annabel Simpson in 58:09. Tracy Millmore of Birtley AC was third in 59:25.

Credit: Dave Norman

Speedy times were present at the Preston 10. Stockport Harrier, Andrew Davies, had a strong race resulting in the win in a time of 49:10. It was then Matthew Crehan of St. Helens Sutton AC and Michael Cayton of Ribble Valley Harriers who followed in 2nd and third respectively. The race was close, but it was Crehan who took silver in 49:32 and Cayton bronze in 49:35.

For the women, Swansea Harriers’ Elinor Kirk came out on top with a noteworthy 55:51, and a 40-second lifetime best. Following behind Kirk in second place was Emily Japp (Blackpool Wyre & Fylde AC) in 56:45, just under 4-minutes faster than her previous best time! It was then Laura Hesketh who was third woman home in 59:06 for Clayton-le-Moors Harriers.

Down on the south coast was the Brighton 10k. On what was a morning with perfect conditions, fast times were in abundance. Finn McNally was the strongest athlete on the day and claimed himself the win in 30:23. The Brighton Phoenix athlete ran a seasons best by 16 seconds. Following McNally was Michael Kallenberg, back in some great form recently. Kallenberg (Cardiff) finished in second-position with a time of 30:44. Completing the men’s podium was U23 athlete Archie Davis in 31:14 for his first 10k of the year.

The female athletes matched the men with some high-quality performances. Beth Kidger was the first woman home in her club town in 34:20. Kidger held a strong lead with second place’s Chloe Richardson following in 35:10. It was Maisie Trafford of Arena 80 who claimed the final top 3 position in 35:31. A speedy race down in Brighton!

Also over the 10k distance, the Adidas City Runs Fulham 10k took place. It was Hercules Wimbledon’s William Woodcock who won the overall title in 31:47. This was a huge 63 second lifetime best for the runner. Settling for second, only eight seconds behind Woodcock was Patrick Leonard. Markhim Lonsdale was the third male runner, stopping the clock at 32:05 as he crossed the line. It was interesting to see Lonsdale, one of Britain’s fastest ever juniors over 800m racing the longer distances.

The Fulham 10k did not disappoint for the women either as Katy Gomes ran a time of 34:29 for the win. Jackie Skinner had a strong race to finish in second place. Skinner also ran a huge PB by over a minute of 36:23. The final woman in the top 3 was Ania Gabb (Dacroum & Tring) with yet another big personal best of 38:48.

The County Down 5km saw some excellent performances. Returning after his recent Frankfurt Marathon run Eoin Hughes took the men’s win with 15:09 to see off the challenge of Omagh man Eoin Mullan by one second in a tight finish. Gareth Lyons was third with 15:46. Northern Ireland & Ulster 1500m Champion Rachel Gibson ran a new 5km PB to win in 16:50 ahead of Catherine O’Connor who ran 17:50 for second with Mari Troeng third in 18:44. ANother notable performance as racing machine Tommy Hughes. Approaching his 60th birthday the Olympian ran 16:13 in another record breaking performance.

In the Matthew Walker 10k it was previous European Cross Country silver medalist, Gemma Steel than claimed the women’s gold medal. Steel ran 36:47 for the clear win. Highgate’s Chris Rainford was the men’s winner in a time of 32:56, with yet another strong margin of victory.

The Runthrough Victoria Park 5k, 10k, and half marathon took place with some speedy times to note over all the distances.

To start the event off, the 5k winners were on top form. Patrick Townsend of Notts took home the win in the men’s race, securing himself an 11 second PB of 15:28. The women’s gold medal position was claimed by Anne Hansen in a time of 18:49.

Over double the distance in the 10k event, Nick Harris-Fry secured himself the overall win. The Orion athlete ran a powerful race, crossing the finish line in 32:56, a 56 second PB! A great position to be in at the close of the year and has he prepares for Valencia Marathon in two weeks. Following Harris-Fry was Rodrigo Santos in 33:15 and James Stewart in 33:21 second and third respectively with a close finish.

For the women, it was Fiona Eagle who secured the gold medal in 38:35. Eagle was shortly followed by Kent’s Eliza Grant in her first ever sub 40 10k (39:12). The bronze medal went to Marina Johnson in 40:30.

A race over twice the distance (well slightly more) was the Runthrough Victoria Park half marathon. The Cambridge Harrier, Ben Shearer, was the strongest runner on the day, storming to the top of the podium. Shearer ran a solid 69:30. The second male across the line was Victoria Park & Tower Hamlet’s own Ewan Cameron. Cameron followed shortly behind Shearer in 69:51. The third male runner, in 72:28, was Matt Wood.

In the women’s event Rose Harvey of Clapham Chasers had an absolutely cracking run. Harvey secured the win in an impressive 3 minute 55 second lifetime best of 76:04. Rose Harvey was followed by club mate, Lucie Custance, who crossed the finish in 83:23. Completing the top three women, just one second behind Custance, was Laura Carsen.

Also over the 21km distance was the Gosport Half Marathon. Louise Damen won the women’s title for Winchester & District AC by just over one and a half minutes. Damen ran 76:52 for her first half in seven years. The Commonwealth Games marathon runner also has many GB cross country vests to her name and in 2013 held both the English XC champs and UK Inter-Counties XC titles! Second female across the line was Jen Granger of Southampton in 78:34, over a 15-minute improvement on her time since 2013! It was Worthing & District Harriers’ Sarah Kingston who claimed the bronze medal with a time of 81:05.

The mens winner was Daniel Eckersley who ran 69:41 to just edge out Elliot Robinson 69:54 with local man Max Costley a few seconds further back in third with 70:14.

Just outside of Sheffield and Rotherham in the Rother Valley Country Park was the Rother Valley Running Festival, spanning the whole weekend.

There were plenty of winners at the event, starting with the ultra-marathon. Helen Hygate landed herself the women’s win in a time of 4:57:09 and James Wilson took home gold for the men in 3:47:53 with a new men’s record for the event.

Over the marathon distance, it was Lorna Hulme of Dudley and Stourbridge Harriers who claimed the winning title. Hulme also ran herself to a new course record of 3:08:23. George Ravenhall was yet another winner on the day in 2:36:40.

David Stewart won the half marathon event at the running festival this weekend. Stewart stopped the clock at 1:16:36. For the women, Ackworth Road Runner, Sarah Hunter, took home the gold medal with a solid 1:26:49, beating her own course record set last year! Hunter knocked 2 minutes 17 seconds off her own previous time.

The Long Sutton 10k was yet another 10k to occur this weekend. Iain Bailey claimed the overall title in 33:14 and Juliet Potter took home the win for the women in 35:35. At the Adnams Southwold 10k, Peter Miller won in 33:42 and Juliette Watkinson was first female finisher in 39:03.

Back in the mud.

Back in the cross country mud was the Welsh Inter-Regional Championships in Brecon. The senior women’s title was obtained by Alaw Beynon-Thomas on what was a wet, grey, and rainy day, followed by Lucy Marland with Megan Carter-Davies third.

Matthew Edwards had a strong race, fixing himself the winning position as he ran through the tape well clear of Ewan Short in second with Luke Williams third.

Credit: Welsh Athletics

At the home of English Cross Country in Parliament Hill were the London Cross Country Champs. As always, the course lived up to its muddy, and hilly, reputation. The women’s race took place over a distance of 6k, but the shorter distance didn’t mean it was any the sweeter. First-place went to Rebecca Piggott of London Heathside, who also secured both the men and women’s team gold medal.

The men were faced with the slightly longer distance of 10k at hilly Parliament hill. It was Seyfu Jamaal who took the victory title for the men as well as being first U20, continuing on the success for London Heathside.


Mixing up the terrains.

Natalie White had a strong race across the seas in Italy. At the 21km Balcone Del Biellese Trail race, in what can only be described as brutal weather, White took home the win. Through incessant rain and slippery conditions, she stormed home in a cracking time of 1:58:59. In the 37km event Robbie Britton came 2nd, with an excellent performance on his return to running after a recent step into long distance bike racing.

Down in the west country the multi-terrain Drogo 10 saw some competitive racing with Chichester stalwart James Baker winning in 61:37 ahead of Sam Hopton (64:18) and Sam Kelly (64:29). Elizabeth Dyson was the wining woman in 73:56 with Elizabeth Kendon 2nd (74:18) narrowly pushing Charlotte Benning (74:55) into 3rd. GB trail runner Jo Meek was 4th in 75:43.

In the Peak District, the tough Kendal Mountain Festival 10k trail race saw some gutsy performances from both men and women. The trail run took place around Kendal with plenty of natural obstacles, including 4.5km of climbing throughout! Out of the women, it was Emma Clayton who secured herself an impressive lead. The Leeds City athlete had a strong race and crossed the line in 44:09. The next female athlete across the finish line was AFD’s Sally Ratcliffe. After a solid run at last weekend’s Milton Keynes Cross Challenge, Ratcliffe continued to prove her winter strength with a second-place finish in 46:51. In third position was Harriet Wingfield, just 8 seconds outside of second-place.

In the men’s race and taking the overall win was Tom Adams of Ilkley. The athlete boasts an impressive 31:25 10k road PB and translated this into a strong performance on the trails. Adams secured himself the win in 38:17. It was Chris Richards who achieved a silver medal finishing position in 39:02. Ambleside AC’s Jack Wright completed the podium positions coming in third. Some super results on a tough course.

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