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cross challenge curtain raiser set for milton keynes 

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MK
11 November 2016 


The 2016/17 British Athletics Cross Challenge series gets underway at Teardrop Lakes in Milton Keynes on Saturday 12 November, as the UK’s best cross country athletes on the terrain compete for the domestic honour over the next five months.

The men’s race is an open affair with Andy Vernon (coach: Nic Bideau, Club: Aldershot Farnham & District), fresh from victory over the half marathon distance in Birmingham last month, leading the provisional entries. Last year’s Milton Keynes winner Jonny Davies (Rob McKim, Reading AC) will once again be a contender. The 22 year-old athlete won the European Cross Country U23 title in 2015, and will be targeting more success this winter.

Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin, Southend) has been in fine form on the roads so far this Autumn so he will be hoping to translate that into cross country success this weekend. With the likes of Andrew Heyes (Keith Whitelam, Hallamshire) who ran the fastest leg at the English National Cross Country Relays last Saturday, Jonny Taylor (Gordon Surtees, Morpeth), and Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman, Edinburgh AC) also potentially involved, it has the makings of a highly entertaining contest.

The senior women’s race is equally as exciting; with Pippa Woolven (Luke Gunn, Wycombe) and Jess Judd (Mick Judd, Chelmsford) two names to look out for after their impressive displays at the relays at Berry Hill. 2014 European cross champion Gemma Steel (Rob Denmark, Charnwood) could make her first cross country appearance of the season in Buckinghamshire. Lauren Howarth (Steve Vernon, Leigh) is another one to keep an eye on.

In the U20 races, Paulos Surafel (Craig Winrow, Enfield & Haringey) headlines the start lists in the men’s contest alongside the fastest leg runner at Berry Hill, Sam Stevens (Leicester Corinthians) who will be hoping to repeat his Cross Challenge victory from Cardiff earlier this year.

Whilst in the women’s race, 2015 European Cross junior silver medallist Harriet Knowles-Jones (Paul Roden, Warrington) will be the favourite for victory with European Youth 1500m silver medallist Sabrina Sinha (Peter Mullervy, Cambridge) another aiming high.

The races get underway at 11:30 with a full complement of age-group races. More details can be found here: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/competitions/the-british-athletics-cross-challenge/