This Saturday will bring about the next round of the British Athletics Cross Challenge in Sefton Park, Liverpool and with it the Great Britain & Northern Ireland trial races for the forthcoming European Cross Country Championships, which will feature a strong Welsh contingent. This year’s European Championships take place in Šamurin, SVK on 10th December.
British Athletics will send full male and female teams (6 athletes) in the Senior, U23 and U20 age groups. Automatic qualification will be awarded to the top 4 finishers in the senior races and U23 races, with the top 5 finishers gaining automatic selection in the Junior races. For the first time ever this year, a mixed Senior relay team of 2 men and 2 women will also be selected.
Leading the charge in the Senior Men’s race will be the in-form Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans) who last year was part of the European Cross Country Gold medal winning team that travelled to Italy. Dewi will look to retain his place on the team and will be joined in Liverpool by World Championship steeplechaser Ieuan Thomas (James Thie) and Charlie Hulson (Steve Vernon) who has good pedigree in this discipline, winning the English National Championships in 2015 and also representing Great Britain at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships alongside Griffiths in the same year.
Fresh from running a Commonwealth Games ‘A’ standard in her marathon debut in Amsterdam, Caryl Jones will contest the Senior Women’s race alongside Melissa Courtney (Rob Denmark) who has two Commonwealth Games ‘A’ standards to her name on the track (1500m & 5000m). Bronwen Jenkinson will compete in the U23 age group after a series of strong performances as a junior including an individual bronze medal at the World Mountain Running Championships last year.
Returning to the country in the Junior Men’s race after his fine win at the Cardiff Cross Challenge last month will be Cardiff’s Jake Heyward (James Thie). The European Junior 1500m Champion from this year firmly announced his off-track ambitions in the first race of the British Athletics Cross Challenge series, securing an impressive win over a strong field. Joining Jake will be Wrexham’s Matthew Willis who has several Welsh titles, an English Schools Cross Country title, and a SIAB International to his name.
Cari Hughes (Andrew Walling) will look to replicate her fine form across the country from earlier this year in the Junior Women’s race, which saw her gain selection for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Also joining Cari will be Naomi Reid (Phil Banning) who represented Wales at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in 2017.
Each year, a Welsh club also earns the right to compete in Liverpool within a trial race for the European Clubs Cup. Swansea Harriers men will face opposition from nominated English and Scottish clubs and the winner will represent Great Britain at the annual ECCC Cross Country in Mira, Portugal on 4th February. Dewi Griffiths, Jonathan Tobin (Kevin Tobin), Jack Gooch (Kevin Tobin), Marc Hobbs, Kristian Jones and Liam Lloyd (Adrian Webb) will make up the Swansea contingent.
Welsh Athletics would like to wish all athletes competing the best of luck.
British Athletics will announce their selections for the European Cross County Championships on Tuesday 28th November. Further information on the selection policy can be found here.