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cross challenge heads to antrim 

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Pippa Woolven
13 January 2017


Milton Keynes Cross Challenge winners Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau, Aldershot Farnham & District) and Pippa Woolven (Luke Gunn, Wycombe) will both return for the third instalment of the British Athletics Cross Challenge – incorporating the Antrim International - at Greenmount Campus in Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Woolven finished a magnificent 8th at the Great Edinburgh XCountry last weekend, and after her recent exploits for her country, she will be targeting another strong performance in the event which includes international athletes. Donning the England vest, she will be joined by Claire Duck (Mike Baxter, Leeds City) and Louise Small (Mick Woods, Aldershot Farnham & District).

Fionnuala McCormack (IRL), second in Edinburgh last weekend, headlines the field at the IAAF event which sets up a contest with 2011 World 10,000m finalist Birtukan Adamu (ETH) and the home country athletes.

Vernon, fifth at the recent European cross country championships, leads the British challenge in a race which includes Olympic 3000m steeplechase gold medallist Conseslus Kipruto (KEN). Jonny Taylor (Gordon Surtees, Morpeth) was 17th in the Scottish capital last Saturday, and will line up alongside Olympian Derek Hawkins (Robert Hawkins, Leeds City/Kilbarchan), who is running his first race since competing in the Rio marathon last August.

With cross challenge points up for grabs in the age-group races as well, Greater Manchester U20 cross country champion Katy Whiteoak (Pete Torrance, Stockport) and British international mountain runner Bella Williams (Rob Lewis, Lincoln Wellington) are ones to watch in the U17 / (IAAF) U20 junior women’s race.

A matter of seconds separated them in the junior men’s field last week with Jonathan Shields (Michael Thompson, Sheffield & Dearne) gaining the upper hand on compatriot Hugo Milner (Chris Woodhouse, Derby) by one place and three seconds in 10th. They will face a re-run of that encounter in Antrim, with crucial points on offer.

For more information on the event and entry lists, please visit the Antrim pages here: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/competitions/the-british-athletics-cross-challenge/