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cross country important for davies

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Jonathan Davies

17 October 2013

Jonathan Davies (coach: Rob McKim) has established himself as GB & NI’s most promising male junior distance runner in the last year and the 18 year old is looking to further enhance his reputation when he lines up for the first British Athletics Cross Challenge event of the 2013-14 season in Bristol next weekend.

Davies started university in Birmingham last month and has gone from strength to strength, after setting the second fastest time overall at the National Road Relays in his new city last weekend he is confident he can perform well in Bristol.

“It’s going well, I’m settling in to Birmingham nicely. I’m in good shape, I’m not quite sure where it came from but it’s good to be in good shape coming in to Liverpool and other big races.”

The Reading AC athlete sees Bristol as a vital part of his preparations for the European Trials in Liverpool in November and is hoping to improve on his second place finish in the same race last year.

“I think it’s a good chance to prepare for Liverpool because it’s the same distance. It’s also one of the few junior races you can do that are actual junior races rather than racing against seniors as you do in local league races and relays, so it’s great in that respect. I was second last year behind Jack Gray so I’ve got to put that one right this time.”

Davies, who turns 19 later this month, set a 5,000m personal best of 14:09.46 and clinched a bronze medal in the same event at the European Junior Championships in Rieti in the summer but maintains that cross country is high on his list of priorities.

“For me cross country is very important. I see it as equal to track at the moment; I enjoy both of them in their own different way. The Cross Challenge is a great series and I’ve always tried to support it and do a fair few of them. I think last year I did four so I’ve always done a lot of them and enjoyed them.

“I think cross country and track can help each other. I do longer stuff on the track, 3,000m and 5,000m, so I think that means I can do both. I can get strength in the winter and come in to the track season in good shape.”

Davies finished 35th at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Poland in March, the first GB & NI athlete home, and he believes that the experience of competing against the best in the world has set him up well.

“The World Cross was a really good experience; it’s quite different to everything else I’ve ever done. Obviously the Africans went off quite fast but you sort of know that will happen and it’s great experience for the future.

“Being on a team with the senior guys is a cool thing as well and it’s different to the track where at the European Juniors you’re only with people your own age. It’s good being with slightly older people who have more experience and can give you advice.”

With no World Cross Country Championships taking place in 2014 though, much of the emphasis for this season is placed on the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade in December. The recent success of the British team at these championships, particularly in the junior age groups, has given Davies confidence that he can go to Serbia and compete with the best in Europe.

“To be honest I want to be as close to the medals as I possibly can and hopefully get one. I’m in good shape at the moment and I’ll go there to do well rather than go there and do nothing. I want to perform well there and for me Liverpool is half the target and the other half is to do well at the actual European Championships.

“Kieran Clements medalled last year and Richard Goodman the year before that so there’s definitely an opportunity there.”

For more information on the British Athletics Cross Challenge click here.