7th March 2015

Double Delight For Partridge

7 March 2015  

After going into the race as the favourite, Lily Partridge (coach: Mick Woods) did not disappoint as the Surrey athlete won the senior women’s race at the British Athletics World Trials and Inter Counties Cross Country Championships incorporating the Cross Challenge Final.

The 23 year old, who also took the overall Cross Challenge series title, was involved in an intriguing head-to-head battle with Louise Damen who pushed the Aldershot Farnham & District athlete all the way before Partridge pulled away in the closing stages.

Partridge said: “I really enjoyed it today, I felt really strong, Training has been going well and I’ve capitalised well on that in my races.

“It was amazing (to race with Louise Damen), she was really strong up the hills and it was incredible to be part of that race and experience. I knew I was stronger on the second part of the course and decided to make my move then.”

The men’s race was equally as exciting with the Scottish, Welsh and English cross country champions fighting it out for the Inter Counties title, but it was Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton) who prevailed taking an impressive win on the day. The Scotland East athlete made the crucial move on the final lap as he pulled away from Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans) and Charlie Hulson (Paul Roden) who finished in other podium places.

A delighted Butchart said: “What a day, what a race, it couldn’t have gone any better, I’m just glad to get the job done. This is the place to win isn’t it?

“It was a tactical race. I thought, rather than going out hard like I did in Milton Keynes, I would take a step back. Dewi and Charlie put a couple of efforts in. I wasn’t sure if I had gone too early but I kept telling myself I was fine and relaxed over the final half lap.”

It was only a point which separated Butchart from winning the overall Cross Challenge as well as the Inter Counties title but that went to Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin) who finished fifth on the day.

The U20 men kicked off proceedings at Cofton Park and it was a fine victory for Greater Manchester’s Joe Steward (Harry Kelly), who secured his place on the GB & NI team for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships later this month. Joining Steward in Guiyang, China will be Jonathan Glen (Mark Pollard) and Elliot Bowker (Andrew Carter), who finished in second and third respectively.

“The World Cross was my main aim coming into the race, to qualify and anything else was a bonus. Coming off the back of London (English National Cross Country), I knew I was capable of running well here. The pace was relatively slow going into the last lap so I decided to take it on and I managed to keep hold of the lead,” said Steward.

There was disappointment for Cross Challenge leader Jac Hopkins (Kevin Tobin), as the Welsh athlete withdrew injured after the first lap. In his absence in the race, the overall series title went to Scotland West’s Glen. 

Scotland West’s Glen added: “I’m absolutely delighted; I can’t put it into words. It was a dream to come here and qualify for China that was my main goal. To win the Cross Challenge as well is just something else.”

Also securing their automatic place on the plane to China was Phoebe Law (Richard Holt), the winner in the women’s U20 race. A cluster of five athletes took control of the field, before Law saw off the challenge of Harriet Knowles-Jones (Paul Roden) and Bronwen Owen (Andrew Henderson), who crossed the line in second and third place.

Law commented: “I’m amazed – I really did not expect to do that at all so I’m really happy to win. I’ve really enjoyed the Cross Challenge. I did it last year for the first time and came fourth, and was really jealous of all the other athletes getting their plaques. I really wanted to come back and do even better.

“It’s amazing to have qualified for the World Cross and it is brilliant to wear the GB & NI vest again, it is what I have always dreamed of. I want to enjoy the experience but hopefully go better than I did in Bulgaria.”

Sabrina Sinha (Mark Newell) continued to show her undoubted talent on the Cross Country stage winning the U17 women’s title to go with the U15 and U13 crowns she has picked up in her short career so far. Hampshire’s Mahamad Mahamad (Peter Haynes) took the men’s U17 title with a 15 second victory over Leicestershire’s Ben Dijkstra.

Kathleen Faes enjoyed a commanding victory in the U15 girls race for Kent, with Zakariya Mahamad (Haynes) matching his brother’s victory in the U17 race, to take the win in the boy’s equivalent for Hampshire. 

Yorkshire’s Tommy Dawson took the victory in the U13 boys, with Cumbria’s Olivia Grace Mason winning the female equivalent.

Full Inter Counties results can be found here:  http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/competitions/the-british-athletics-cross-challenge/

The Final 2014/15 Cross Challenge standings can be found here.