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McCain UK Cross Challenge Launches

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Mo Farah



11 September 2008




Two televised events, two major championship trials, five superb venues and thousands of cross country enthusiasts all add up to what promises to be a superb McCain UK Cross Challenge series this winter.

The well-established series is the focus of the domestic endurance running scene over the winter months and this year it has been given a huge boost by the support of McCain for the first time ever.  There is a prize fund of £30,000 for the 2008/09 season, more than double the amount from last winter’s series.


Nick Vermont, Regional CEO of McCain Foods (GB) Ltd, Title Sponsor of the event says, "We are looking forward to an exciting McCain UK Cross Challenge series.  We hope that our support for the series of UK challenges will inspire and encourage young people to take up athletics across the country".


The five race series will begin at Gateshead on Saturday 15 November.  Further races will follow at Liverpool on 29 November, Antrim on 3 January, London (exact venue to be confirmed) on 14 February and Nottingham on 7 March. 

The Liverpool event incorporates trials for the European Cross Country Championships, whilst Nottingham doubles as the Inter-Counties and incorporates trials for the World Cross Country Championships. The UK Athletics selection policies for these events will be confirmed before the end of September. Antrim will be hosting a race from the series for the first time ever.

The opener at Gateshead will be recorded and later televised by Sky Sports, whilst Nottingham will be covered live by the channel. Senior men’s and women’s winners at each race will collect £500 and the overall series winners of the senior competitions will win £2000. In the under 20, under 17, under 15 and under 13 age groups winners will be awarded trophies and prize vouchers worth an increased amount on previous years.

The event format sees athletes in the top 50 of each senior race earning series points, whilst the top 25 in the younger age group classes will be scored. Michael Skinner (Blackheath & Bromley) and Felicity Milton (Durham City AC) are the defending senior champions from the 2007/08 series.


Former European cross country champions Hayley Yelling (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) and Mo Farah (Newham & Essex) and World Junior 1500m champion Steph Twell (Aldershot, Farnham & District) have been amongst the notable names who have appeared in the series in recent years.

To find out more about the McCain Cross Challenge, including how to enter on-line, follow this link to the UK Cross Challenge section