2023 Cardiff Cross Challenge Preview
The 26th edition of the prestigious Cardiff Cross Challenge returns to Llandaff Fields this Saturday.
As one of the most sought-after events in the UK over 2,000 athletes from across the globe have entered to take part in the UK’s only World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold Label Event.
The 2023 edition includes the inaugural Elite Mile sponsored by SportsShoes.com which boasts some of the UK’s best athletes. The event is also supported by local Welsh businesses, Dragon Signs and Sportin Wales, which form part of the Dragon Group.
James Williams, Welsh Athletics CEO shared:
"This is the biggest and best Cross Country event in the UK, and I am excited for its return this weekend. The introduction of the Elite Mile is another exciting addition to the Cardiff Cross Challenge and reflects our ambitions to continue to grow the event each year.”
Alex Donald, Head of Competitions at Welsh Athletics added:
“This year’s fields are far stronger than in previous years with notable athletes from more countries than we have previously hosted and a higher standard of domestic entries than ever before.”
Yet again some of the best athletes around the world will line up in Llandaff Fields this Saturday. Vincent Keter and Likina Amebaw top international interests. Whilst Marc Scott, Jess Warner-Judd, and our very own Dewi Griffiths and Jenny Nesbitt lead the domestic entries.
Likina Amebaw of Ethiopia leads the senior women’s field, having picked up victories this year in the 2023 Cross Internacional Zornotza and Cross Das Amendoeiras Em Flor. Among the top international entrants is Hungary’s Lili Anna Vindics-Toth, seven-time Hungarian National Champion and 2022 Hungarian Indoor Champion over 3,000m.
Welsh pairing Jenny Nesbitt (Pontypridd Roadents) and Cari Hughes (Cardiff Athletics) will battle it out on home soil, both former UK Inter-Counties Champions. Nesbitt was the runner-up at Cardiff Cross Challenge in both 2019 & 2021 and Hughes was an impressive runner-up at the Armagh Road Races in 2023.
Jenny Nesbitt shared:
“I’m really excited to line up again in Cardiff. It’s become an annual outing for me and it’s fantastic to see how the event has grown over the last few years. I think the ladies’ field is the strongest it has ever been this year and I’m really looking forward to lining up against some of the UK’s strongest runners. There is always a fantastic atmosphere in Cardiff, and I am sure it will help carry me around when it starts getting tough!”
The senior men entrants are led by Kenya’s Vincent Keter, the 2021 World U20 Champion over 1500m. He is joined by Joel Lillesso of Denmark, the 2023 European U20 Champion over 5,000m, and the European U20 record holder for 3,000m indoors, with a time of 7:48.34.
Dewi Griffiths (Swansea Harriers) leads the top Welsh entries in the senior men’s race, previous winner here and perhaps the most familiar with the course. Griffiths claimed his eight Welsh Cross Country title earlier this year at the 118th edition of the Championships.
Dewi Griffiths shared:
“I’ve raced many times at Cardiff cross over the years. The first time I raced I finished 52nd in the u13s race back in 2003. Over the years I managed to get closer to the front and in 2016 and 2017 I was lucky enough to win it!
It’s been a key fixture in my calendar for many years, and the support on the course is always amazing! This year’s race will be no different with some of the best athletes in the world competing on Saturday. It’ll be a good test of where I’m at in terms of fitness as I build up to a spring marathon.”
The event will also host the second fixture of the John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League and it was Griffiths who claimed victory in men’s first match of the competition last month in Pembrey Country Park.
The introduction of the first Elite Mile at the Cardiff Cross Challenge will see a wealth of domestic talent.
2021 European Indoor Silver Medallist (1500m) Holly Archer is the standout entrant in the supporting SportsShoes Elite Mile races. Boasting a time of 4:07 minutes for 1500m, Archer will lead the field. Archer is followed by Alexandra Shipley (Milton Keynes Distance project) who has a time of 4:15 over 1500m and took victory at the BUCS Indoor Championships earlier this year over the same distance.
Looking to take the first ever Elite Mile men’s title is Tom Dodd (Birchfield Harriers) the British Road Mile silver medallist. Dodd has a best time of 3:38 over 1500m. Competition comes from Jospeh Tuffin (Birmingham Running A&TC) who finished third at the World Athletics Challenger in Loughborough for 1500m, Tuffin’s best time over 1500m is only 3 seconds shy of Dodd.
Whilst Remilekun Adebiyi (Newport Harriers) and Ben Reynolds (Cardiff Athletics) lead the way for Wales in the men’s elite mile.
The event will be live-streamed on Welsh Athletics YouTube.
We look forward to seeing you there! Keep-up-to date via our social media channels!