10th November 2011

McCain Bristol Cross Challenge

10 November 2011

Gemma Steel (coach: John Nuttall) and Phil Wicks – recently crowned winners of the runbritain Grand Prix – will kick start their individual cross country campaigns at the McCain Bristol Cross Challenge this Sunday (13 November).

The event, which celebrates the 14th successive year of competition by returning to the place where it all began, will see over 200 athletes compete across all age groups.

Girl of the moment Steel, following her lifetime best performance and victory at the BUPA Great Birmingham Ran, admitted that the GP has set her up "nicely for the cross country season."

And without doubt it has, as she led Charnwood women’s team to victory at the Saucony ECCU Cross Country Relays last weekend (5 November) clocking the fastest leg. Her recent form will make for an interesting season as she makes a bid for the McCain Cross Challenge title after narrowly missing out to Charlotte Purdue (Mick Woods) last season.

Joining Steel in the women’s competition will be fellow relay teammate Juliet Doyle (Roy Stowell) in addition to Taunton AC’s Naomi Taschimowitz (Charlotte Fisher) who will be looking to continue her top form in the senior women’s event after finishing in the British top four and 46th overall at the IAAF World Cross March this year.

Wicks, who along with Ben Whitby (Andrew Hobdell) in the senior men’s event are returning to quality competition after an autumn marathon, should be ones to watch.

Whitby finished in 11th position at the Berlin Marathon in September and Wicks ran a PB at the Amsterdam Marathon just last month.

In the junior women’s, Bristol’s very own 2011 European U20 Championship 5000m bronze medal winner Annabel Gummow (Chris Wooldridge) will be in action. Gummow – second scoring athlete for the Aviva GB & NI team  at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March – finished in second place on the 2010/11 McCain Cross Challenge leader board and has been consistently improving ever since.

They will join top names including Frank Tickner – a regular on the international cross country circuit and James Walsh (Mike Baxter) in the senior men’s competition.

Event organiser’s runbristol, in partnership with Bristol & West AC and UKA, will be welcoming special guest Tim Hutchings – 1984 & 1989 World Cross Country Championship silver medallist – to the McCain Bristol Cross Challenge.

The Series will continue with events in Liverpool 26 November, Cardiff 15 January, Antrim 21 January and Birmingham 10 March.