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UK Athletics

Weekend round up including victories for Maclean and Pidgeon

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European Junior 5000m champion Emily Pidgeon (Gloucester AC) completed her preparations for the Under 20 Women’s race at the UK Cross Challenge, incorporating the European Trials, in Liverpool’s Sefton Park on Saturday 25 November by winning the Gemma Butler Memorial Race at the BMC Bristol Cross Country Classic organised by Bristol and West AC on Sunday 19 November.


Pidgeon, who won the individual silver medal in leading Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Junior Women’s Team gold medals at last winter’s European Cross Country Championships in the Netherlands, has won two races in successive weekends in her preparations for Liverpool.


The 17-year-old earned two packets of chocolate biscuits when winning a 5-mile road race in her locality last weekend – and followed up by moving clear in the second half of the Senior Women’s 4km on Clifton Down, Bristol.


She won in 13 minutes 41 seconds from two athletes who are due to contest the Senior Women’s race at Liverpool, Sophie Morris (Army), second in 13:50, and Wales’ multi-champion Catherine Dugdale (Swansea Harriers), third in 13:57. Behind them came the second Under 20, Sarah Waldron (Gloucester AC) in 14:00; Rachel Felton (Shaftesbury Barnet) 14:11; and Gwent League double winner Heidi Moulder (Bristol and West AC) 14:14.


The Senior Men’s 4km was a cracker between three athletes who will hope to be to the fore of the Liverpool 10km next Saturday plus Australian 1500m specialist Lachlan Chisholm.


Angus Maclean (Team Southampton) charged away in the last kilometre to win in 11:40, only one second outside the course record despite muddy conditions. Rob Whalley (Bristol and West AC), three times a course winner, dug deep to snatch second place in 11:47, two seconds ahead of last year’s winner, marathon man Dan Robinson (Stroud and District AC), who had made a long run for home. After sharing the early lead with 38-year-old Whalley, Chisholm took fourth place in 11:56.


There were also some sparkling performances down the age groups over a course that remains unchanged so that athletes’ times give them a reliable guide as to their form.


Pidgeon’s training partner, Sarah Hopkinson (Gloucester AC) knocked 15 seconds off her own Under 17 Women’s 3km record in winning in 10:33, 34 seconds clear of her nearest rival.


Former UK Cross Challenge Under 13 Champion Nathan Young (Mendip AC) broke his own course record in winning the Under 15 Boys’ 2km in 6:11, 9 seconds clear of Ben Coldray (Gloucester AC).


The prodigious Naomi Speake (Bristol and West AC), who trains only twice a week, took nearly 10 seconds off the Under 13 Girls’ 2km record held by Melissa Hawtin (Oxford City AC). Her winning time of 6:59 was 22 seconds quicker than the winner of the Under 15 Girls’ race.


Scot Tom Russell (Stroud and District AC) finished 22 seconds clear in the Under 20 Men’s 4km in 12:13, equalling the course record set by Rob Bugden (Bristol and West AC).


Former Norwich Union GB Junior international Charlotte Moore (Bournemouth AC) continued to ease her way back into athletics by running the fastest lap at the Birmingham University Road Relays on Sunday 19 November.


She clocked 9 minutes 48 seconds, within 12 seconds of the course record owned by another former GB Junior, Katrina Wootton, to lead a Birmingham team 1-2-3. Another Birmingham student was fourth over the finishing line – Nikki Archer (Vale Royal AC) ran all three stages in preparation for two forthcoming half marathons and, in due course, a marathon.


Fastest in the Men’s relay was Rory Fraser (Leeds Met), who clocked 8:30 but could not prevent Birmingham winning the team race.


Former Norwich Union GB cross country international Billy Farquharson returned to winning ways in the low-key Midland 7 at Bramcote Park near Nottingham on Saturday 18 November.


Finally over knee problems that have hampered him for the best part of two years, he led home a Notts AC cleansweep of the medals ahead of Nick Talbot and Tim Hartley. To underline Notts’ domination, Nicola Bamford won the women’s 5-mile race by more than a minute.