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UK Athletics

hickey and partridge star in cardiff

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18 January 2015

Blackweir Fields was bathed in blue skies for the second stage of the Cross Challenge in Cardiff where Adam Hickey (coach: Eamonn Martin) and Lily Partridge (Mick Woods) ran out dominant winners in the senior races.

Hickey defended his title in style with a perfectly judged race to earn the win in Cardiff. The Southend athlete continued his fine form to move away from long-time race rival Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans) who was competing in his first race since the Commonwealth Games last August. The third lap was the decisive moment in the race when Hickey opened up a convincing lead to take the win with Dean Lacy (Mark Newell) finishing strongly to pip Swansea’s Griffiths on the line for second.

The Southend athlete commented: “I’m really happy to win again here in Cardiff. Liverpool wasn’t great for me so it is good to get the win here (in the Cross Challenge) and I’m looking forward to Milton Keynes now. I was looking to make it an honest race and I did that.”

Cardiff’s Jonathan Hopkins (Ridley Griffiths) was next back in fourth after a strong run ahead of Newham and Essex Beagles' John Beattie (Gavin Smith). Charlie Joslin-Allen (Mark Hookaway) enjoyed a solid performance in the senior race to finish in sixth place.

Lily Partridge was the outright winner in the senior women’s race after a dominant display. After a cagey opening lap, all the main protagonists were bunched together. However, it was the Aldershot Farnham & District athlete who made the first move towards the start of the second lap as they came out of the woods alongside the banks of the River Taff. A ten metre gap at halfway soon turned into a convincing lead by the last lap where Partridge celebrated a fine victory in South Wales.

Partridge said after the race: “It was nice to get a run out to give me a confidence booster. I wanted the pack to stay together for the first couple of laps but I wanted to pick up the pace coming out of the woods on the second short lap. No one came with me so I went from there.”

The chasing group was headed by Sarah Astin (Woods) who finished in an impressive second place ahead of Imogen Ainsworth (Keith Brackstone) with GB & NI Mountain running international Emma Clayton (Andrew Henderson) just outside the podium places in fourth. 

GB & NI Junior international Jac Hopkins (Kevin Tobin) earned a good win in the U20 men’s race as he made a breakthrough early on in the race to finish ahead of Jordan Rowe (David Smith) and fellow Welshman Iolo Hughes (Andrew Walling). The Swansea Harrier has been the highest placed British athlete at both the European Cross Country Championships and Great Edinburgh XCountry recently so it was no surprise that Hopkins performed impressively on home turf.

Hopkins spoke after his race: “I’m coming off the back of two GB & NI vests and I know I’m fit. I pushed it on the first two laps to see who would go with me. Iolo (Hughes)and Jordan (Rowe) stuck with me for a while but on that last lap I just found that extra bit and I won quite comfortably.

“It’s a privilege to win here – I won here as an U15 and an U17 so to come here and do it on home soil again is brilliant.”

It was a Welsh showdown in the U20 women’s event as Olivia Gwynne (Tobin) stole the show ahead of Browen Owen. Gwynne said after the race that she was “over the moon” but said the last 250m “lasted forever”, nevertheless she held on to win her first Cross Challenge event.

The U17 women’s race was won by Kate Waugh (Thomas Millmore) of Birtley AC who bided her time before overtaking long-time leader Heidi Davies who did not have a response to Waugh’s final kick in the home straight. Ben Djikstra was a comfortable winner in the U17 men’s race ahead of Bingley’s Emile Cairess in the final race of the day.

The U15 boy’s race produced one of the highlights of the day with a thrilling finish between Brecon’s Luke Davies and Burton’s Callum Abberley (Simon King) which ended in a photo finish. Davies dived for the line after leading for most of the race and won by the narrowest of margins. It was a highly entertaining race with Reece Curtis (Stephen Shaw) claiming the final podium spot.

Jasmine Cooper improved upon a third place finish at the first Cross Challenge event in Liverpool to win the U15 girls race at Blackweir Fields. The Derby AC athlete comfortably pushed on in the closing stages to beat Sian Temple and Naomi Kingston (Andy Frankish) who rounded off the podium places.

The Scottish athlete Hamish Armitt made the long journey worthwhile with a convincing win the U13 boy’s race. The Giffnock AC held onto his lead in the final stages despite been closed down by David Dow (Mark Vile). Eluned King gave the home crowd plenty to shout about as the Swansea Harrier earned victory in the U13 girl’s race earlier in the day. 

Full race results can be found here.