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the 2015/2016 cross challenge after three events

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20 January 2016 


With the fourth and penultimate leg of the British Athletics Cross Challenge taking place in Cardiff this weekend, we review what has happened so far in the five-event series.

Jonny Hay (coach: Mick Woods, club: Aldershot Farnham & District) and Kate Avery (Tony Simmons, Shildon) currently lead the overall senior men’s and women’s rankings respectively after securing impressive results in the opening three fixtures.

Avery was the first British finisher at the Antrim International last weekend, which incorporated the third leg of the Cross Challenge. This followed a second place finish in Liverpool at the European Cross Country Championship trials in November last year and both results combined saw her overhaul Elle Vernon (Steve Vernon, Stockport) in the rankings.

After completing all the Cross Challenge fixtures so far, Hay spearheads the senior men’s rankings after crossing the line as the second Briton in Antrim. He was seventh overall in the field and continued his improvements in 2016 to move ahead of Welshman Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans, Swansea) who did not compete in Northern Ireland. Hay leads by two points on 105 with Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin, Southend) one point further back in third.

In the junior ranking, Bobby Clay (Rob Denmark, Invicta East Kent) leads the way in the women’s event after two victories in 2015. She narrowly beat Euro Cross Junior silver medallist Harriet Knowles-Jones (Paul Roden, Warrington) on those occasions.

Ben Dijkstra (Alan Maddocks, Leicester) marginally leads the junior men’s standings by one point ahead of Mahamed Mahamed (Peter Haynes, Southampton), both sharing a victory apiece at the opening two rounds. Euan Gillham (Robert Hawkins, Kilbarchan) won the junior men’s race in Antrim to move up to third in the rankings ahead of the Cardiff race.

In the age groups, Morven Goodrum (Shireen Higgins, WSEH) and Liverpool winner Tom Mortimer (Christopher Brown, Stroud) lead the U17 Cross Challenge standings whilst Zakirya Mahamed (Haynes, Southampton), brother of Mahamed, leads the U15B charts. Grace Copeland (Bob Smith, Wimborne) heads the U15G leaderboard after three fixtures while Rachel Nealon (Nicki Nealon, Wreake and Soar Valley) and Samuel Almond (Eden Runners) take charge of the U13 contest.

The Cross Challenge offers five high quality and competitive cross country opportunities for athletes which culminate at the series finale in Birmingham on 12 March 2016. In order to be eligible for prizes at the final, athletes must have competed in two of the previous four Cross Challenge fixtures. Cardiff will host the fourth event before the grand finale at Cofton Park on March 12.

For more information on the Cardiff Cross Challenge, follow the link: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/competitions/the-british-athletics-cross-challenge/

The 2015/16 British Athletics Cross Challenge ranking after three events.