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mccain antrim cross challenge

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2011 McCain Liverpool Cross Challenge

11 January 2013

European Under-23 Cross Country champion Jess Coulson (coach: Mick Woods) will go head to head with Ireland’s senior European Cross Country champion Fionnuala Britton in the senior women’s race at the McCain Antrim Cross Country event tomorrow.

Coulson finished fourth at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country on 5th January as Britton ran out as a convincing winner but the Stockport Harrier will look to turn the tables in Antrim, which is an IAAF International Permit Meet. Also in the senior women’s race is the Kenyan duo of Eunice Kales, who ran a 10km personal best of 32:46 in Swansea last March, and Magdalyne Masai who lowered her personal bests over both 3000m and 5000m during 2012.

Steph Twell (Mick Woods) continued her resurgence after serious injury problems as she placed 15th in Edinburgh last weekend and the 23 year old will hope for another strong performance when she lines up in Antrim. Britton’s Irish teammate Linda Byrne finished 66th in the Olympic marathon in London and will step down in distance to compete over the 5.6km course.

In the senior men’s race Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau) will lead the British challenge after an impressive third place finish at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country. An established cross country runner, Vernon has been in fine form this season and won a silver medal as part of the senior men’s team at the European Cross Country Championships in Budapest in December.

Multiple GB&NI cross country representative Frank Tickner (Clive Thomas) finished fifth in Antrim in 2012 and is well placed for another top five finish tomorrow after placing third at the McCain Bristol Cross Challenge in October and then sixth at the McCain Liverpool Cross Challenge in November.

There will be a strong Kenyan representation in the senior men’s race as London Olympian Thomas Ayeko, 2:08:13 marathon runner Julius Kiplimo Maisei and Commonwealth bronze medallist Joseph Birech all take to Greenmount Park. Scott Bauhs is another international athlete with strong pedigree; the American boasts personal bests of 13:28.92 for 5,000m and 27:48.06 for 10,000m and is sure to pose a threat over the 10.8km Antrim course.

English National Cross Country champion Matthew Shirling (Adrian Webb) will go up against GB&NI European Cross Country representative William Paulson (Christopher Frapwell) in the 5.6km junior men’s race. The 3.6km junior women’s field is led by Becky Straw (Bud Baldaro), who was eighth in the under-17 race at the McCain Liverpool Cross Challenge in November and her England teammates Elizabeth Bird (George Harrison), Charlotte Taylor and Sophie Forman.

There is a full timetable of age group races beginning with the under-13 girls’ race at 11am.