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UK Athletics

Mombasa trio star back home

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Colin McNulty
Colin McNulty In Dublin

Three of the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland debutants at last weekend’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships – Phil Nicholls, Phil Wicks and Conor McNulty – were outstanding closer to home over the weekend of 31 March-1 April.


Nicholls (Tipton Harriers) stormed through wind and rain to the fastest long stage, 25 minutes 58 seconds, at the Midlands 12 Stage Road Relay at Sutton Park, Birmingham, and Wicks was similarly dominant at the Nike South of England event at Milton Keynes, covering the 7826m in 23:20.


Nicholls described his run as “a good end to a perfect month” while Wicks also drew on the benefits of three weeks at the UK Athletics acclimatisation camp in Durban followed by the inspirational experience of helping GB to become the leading non-African nation in the heat and humidity of Mombasa.


McNulty (Kilbarchan AAC) followed-up his run in the Junior Men’s race in Mombasa by winning the Universities race that was added to the KitKat SIAB Cross Country International on at St Clare’s, Dublin City University. He finished an impressive 16 seconds clear of the field.


Jo Wilkinson (Bedford and County AC), a member of the Norwich Union GB team at the Chiba Ekiden Relay earlier this winter, was the leading performer in the Women’s 6 Stage Relays, covering the 5356m at Milton Keynes in 17:41. Former Norwich Union GB Junior Freya Murray led Chester-le-Street AC to victory at the North of England Champs at Sunderland.


Meanwhile, Wallsend Harriers made a great bid for a place in the next Guinness Book of Records by breaking the world record for the 100 mile relay. Their 10-man squad, running in pairs to satisfy the rules, ran just over 402 laps of the track at Whitley Bay in 8 hours 38 minutes 5 seconds. It meant they knocked 63 minutes – that’s right, 1 hour 3 minutes – off the previous record held by Dulwich Road Runners.


The record-breakers were Dave Moir, Tony Carter, Dave Young, Dave Anderson, Paul Leigh, Dave Daniels, Gareth Huxley, Mark Hall, Steve Hargreaves and Steve O’Gara.


Club captain Anderson said: “We’ve had a good year. We finished second in the Harrier Cross Country League to Sunderland Harriers, who always win it. And we’ve had great help from the lads who did the backroom work to set-up the world record. When we had a dummy run over 50 miles in October, we thought we were looking at knocking 45 minutes off it but we surpassed our wildest dreams by a mile.”


For results from the Midlands and North of England Road Relay Championships please go to the Race Results website.


Find results from the Nike SEAA Road Relay Championships at the Open University website.


For details of the Kitkat Schools Cross Country International, go to the Athletic Association Of Ireland website.