Great Edinburgh Cross Country International

There was further Welsh success at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country International on Saturday.

Matthew Willis (Wrexham AAC) had made his Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team debut in the junior men's race at the Spar European Cross Country Championships in December.

After finishing as the top Briton on that occasion, Willis hit the half way point in a group of five leading athletes. With 400m to go he found himself in a three way battle, eventually missing out on victory and having to settle for third. 

Matthew Willis (centre) after the Welsh Cross Country Championships

The Wrexham AAC man again finished as the first Briton, just five seconds behind race winner, Simen Halle Haugen of the Europe Team.

Behind Willis in seventh place was fellow Welshman and European 1500m champion, Jake Heyward (Cardiff AAC).

Willis described the race saying; “I’m really proud with how I did. I started off on the back of the main pack but as people started to drop off, I made sure I was still hanging onto the group of Europeans and Americans''.

''When the bell went for the last lap it gave me a bit more to surge on. The two Europeans went back passed me at that point so I just had to hang on''.

“I would never have expected this after the trials in November. For the Europeans I just wanted to finish in the top half but to be the top Briton gave me a lot of confidence for this one.”

The junior women's race saw Wales' Cari Hughes (Swansea Harriers) continuing her steady improvement, finishing ahead of her British team mates and notably ahead of Khahisa Mhlanga (Chelmsford AC) who won the British Athletics Cardiff Cross Challenge ahead of Hughes in October.

The Swansea Harrier's performance was testament to her steady improvement, 12 months on from making her International debut in Edinburgh.

Tom Marshall (Cardiff AAC) led the British team off the mark in the mixed relay. Marshall had anchored Great Britain & Northern Ireland to European Championship glory in December and was again part of the winning team, this time anchored by Laura Muir.

Marshall (right)pictured following relay success.

Their victory came ahead of Belgium in second and Europe in third.

The four Welsh Athletes were part of a Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team that finished second overall to team Europe and ahead of the USA.

Finally there was further Welsh success with Kristian Jones retaining his Scottish Inter-District Cross Country title by nearly 40 seconds.


Following on from the success of the British Team at the Eurpoean Cross Country Championships in Samorin, five of the six Welsh athletes at those Championships will again represent Great Britain at the Great Edinburgh XCountry on Saturday 13th January 2018.

After his unfortunate withdrawal through hamstring cramp last weekend, Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans) will be looking to bounce back in the Senior Men's race. 

As the highest place British finisher at the European Cross Country Championships, Matthew Willis (self-coached) will lead the field in the U20 Men's race.  He will once again be joined by Jake Heyward (James Thie) who will be looking to recover from a chest problem that affected his run in Slovakia.

After finishing as the second British runner in the U20 Women's race last weekend and bringing home a team gold medal, Cari Hughes (Andrew Walling) will star again in Edinburgh and will look to continue her fine winter form.

After anchoring the British team to victory in the first ever Senior Mixed Relay at the European Cross Country Championships Tom Marshall (James Thie) will run as part of the 4x1km Relay that is yet to be beaten at the Great Edinburgh XCountry.

The Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh XCountry is a team competition pitting the British Athletics team against Europe and the USA, also including an exciting international mixed relay. The event takes place in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park and is free to spectate. It will be televised live on BBC One from 13:15 – 15:15 on Saturday 13 January 2018.

Andrew Davies at Edinburgh in 2016

Senior Women:
Katie Bingle (Mick Woods, Aldershot Farnham & District)
Philippa Bowden (Mick Woods, Aldershot Farnham & District)
Emelia Gorecka (Chris Thompson, Aldershot Farnham & District)
Amy Griffiths (Rob Denmark, Aldershot Farnham & District)
Jess Judd (Mick Judd, Chelmsford)
Harriet Knowles-Jones (Paul Roden, Warrington)
Phoebe Law (Mick Woods, Kingston & Poly)
Mhairi MacLennan (John Lees, Inverness)
Elle Vernon (David Turnbull, Stockport)

Senior Men:
Ben Connor (Steve Vernon, Stockport)
Patrick Dever (Andy Bibby, Preston)
Nick Goolab (Craig Winrow, Belgrave)
Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans, Swansea)
Mahamed Mahamed (Peter Haynes, Southampton)
Chris Olley (Mark Hookway, Tonbridge)
Sam Stabler (Rob Denmark, Wreake & Sour Valley)
Alex Teuten (Roderick Lock, Southampton)
Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau, Aldershot Farnham & District)

Senior Mixed Relay:
Alex Bell (Andrew Henderson, Pudsey & Bramley)
Adam Clarke (Geoff Watkin, Aldershot Farnham & District)
Tom Marshall (James Thie, Cardiff AC)
Laura Muir (Andy Young, Dundee Hawkhill)

U20 Women:
Phoebe Barker (Richard Owen, Tonbridge)
Niamh Brown (Mick Woods, Aldershot Farnham & District)
Cari Hughes (Andrew Walling, Swansea)
Khahisa Mhlanga (Mick Judd, Chelmsford)
Eloise Walker (John Lees, Edinburgh)
Erin Wallace (Dudley Walker, Giffnock North) 

U20 Men:
Jake Heyward (James Thie, Cardiff)

Ricky Lutakome (Nick Hancock, Sutton & District)
Tom Mortimer (Christopher Brown, Stroud)
Hugh Sadler (David Bedwell, Bristol & West)
Lachlan Wellington (Vince Stamp, City of Portsmouth)
Matthew Willis (Self-coached, Wrexham)

Welsh Athletics Ltd.
Cardiff International Sports Stadium
Leckwith Road
Cardiff. CF11 8AZ.

  • WAG
  • SCW
  • UKA