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UK Athletics

European Cross Country Trials Report

Hayley Yelling
Hayley Yelling
Peter Riley
Peter Riley

24 November 2007


Peter Riley and Hayley Yelling were the main winners in Saturdays’ Liverpool Cross Challenge at Sefton Park, Liverpool.


With the first three positions guaranteed selection for the European Cross Country Championships in Spain on 9 December, the competition was a winter warmer for the athletes stepping out in the freezing conditions.


Riley (Leigh Harriers) 30.18 enjoyed a two-second victory over second placed Frank Tickner (Wells City) 30.20, with Michael Skinner (Blackheath & Bromley) in third.


Riley, who opened his cross country season in the trial race admitted he was confident of making the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team, but not of winning.


He said: “I’ve recently change coach to Dave Cannon, although I have to say John Downes, my previous coach was great and if it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t still be in the sport. Dave has got me running less miles, albeit slightly faster and I felt good today.”


In fourth position Andy Baddeley (Harrow) said he’d run the race thinking he might just surprise a few people.


“Steve Ovett was a fine cross country athlete as well as a 1500m runner… so my coach is always telling me,” he laughed. “I felt really strong, and it makes me feel very confident about the work I’m doing for next year.”


In 11th position was first in the race for Under 23 team places, Kevin Deighton (Bridlington) narrowly out-sprinting Keith Gerrard (Newham & Essex Beagles)  to the line.


Main Senior Men's Results

1 Peter Riley (Leigh) 30.18 ; 2 Frank Tickner (Wells) 30.20; 3 Michael Skinner (Blackheath & Bromley) 30.23; 4 Andy Baddeley (Harrow); 5 overseas athlete 30.43; 6 Billy Farquharson (Notts) 30.45.


In the women’s trial race Hayley Yelling (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) stormed to one of her mot emphatic domestic cross country victories – leading from start to finish, she finished in 27.42 – 16 seconds clear of sister in law Liz Yelling (Bedford & County) in 27.58 and Louise Damen (Winchester) 28.04.


Yelling explained that her winning margin was harder work than it appeared: “It’s not great conditions underfoot, it was really quite tiring but I was worried Liz was going to get back to me any second.”


Hatti Dean (Hallamshire) ran strongly for 4th in 28.24 with fifth position going to Felicity Milton (Durham) who was first in the Under 23 race. One of the day’s most surprising outcomes was in 6th position with Rochdale’s Carly Needham clocking 28.34 – running herself into European Cross Country team consideration despite only previously having performed well this season in her local Red Rose and South Lancs Cross Country league fixtures.


The 23-year-old radiographer, who took a break from running in 2006 to allow an injury to clear up, began getting back into her training in April of this year. Needham admitted she started Saturday’s trial race with modest hopes of finishing in the top 30.


Main Senior Women’s Results

1 Hayley Yelling (Windsor Slough Eton Hounslow) 27.42; 2 Liz Yelling (Bedford & County) 27.58; 3 Louise Damen (Winchester)28.04; 4 Hatti Dean (Hallamshire) 28.24; 5 Felicity Milton U23 (Durham) 28.32; 6 Carly Needham (Rochdale) 28.34.


The men’s junior race was won by David Forrester (St Helens) in 20.55 ahead of Lee Carey (Nuneaton) 21.04 and Ben Lindsay (Aldershot Farnham & District) in 21.05. Forrester was clearly aiming to finish a successful 2007, which saw him selected for the World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, and a strong summer on the track over 1500m where he made the final of the Senior UK Championships in Manchester.


The race was full of incident with Adam Hickey (Southend) taking a tumble that ended his hopes of a high finish. In addition, Conor McNulty’s (Kilbarchan) subsequent disqualification for unsporting behaviour - for an incident which took place during the race - meant that he lost out on registering a top six finish and is unlikely to be amongst the junior men’s names when the European Cross Country team is named on Tuesday.


Main Results Junior Men

1 David Forrester (St Helens) 20.55; 2 Lee Carey (Nuneaton) 21.04; 3 Ben Lindsay (AFD) 21.05 ; 4 Mitch Goose (City of Norwich) 21.20; 5 Ross Murray (Gateshead) 21.22; 6 Craig Ruddy (Inverclyde) 21.23. 


Finally the Junior women’s race saw a victory for plucky Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot Farnham & District) who ran the second half of her race without her right spike after it was clipped off her heel running through the wooded part of the course. Losing ground whilst attempting to slip it back on, Purdue opted to ditch the shoe and set about regaining lost ground.


It was the right decision as she later ran away from the field to win in 15.13 ahead of Joanne Harvey (Exeter) 15.25 and Laura Park (Ellenborough) 15.29. Stockport’s Jess Coulson – one of the pre-race favourites – finished in 39th after suffering a fall mid race whilst leading the field alongside Purdue.


Main Results Junior Women

1 Charlotte Purdue (AFD) 15.13; 2 Joanne Harvey (Exeter) 15.25; 3 Laura Park (Ellenborough) 15.29; 4 overseas athlete 15.32; 5 Charlotte Roach (Vale Royal) 15.34; 6 Sarah Waldron (Shaftesbury Barnet) 15.37.


Many apologies for the late posting of this report and results. Unfortunately the UKA website developed a major system fault over the weekend which meant that no news could be posted on the site following the initial European Cross Country report yesterday afternoon. The problem has now been rectified.