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Top class cross country

Friday 15 January 2010

Blackweir fields will host the winter's top cross country event on Sunday next,17th January, when the McCain Cross Challenge comes to Cardiff. The race makes a welcome return to the McCain Cross Challenge series after a 2 year absence and will include a mixture of British international and local athletes over a series of races.

Cardiff will be the third fixture this season, the first having taken place in Gateshead on 14th November and the second in Liverpool on 28th November, the latter hosting the trials for the European Cross Country Championships.
 
The Cardiff Cross Challenge incorporates Schools races, and an Inter-area match in the Senior Age groups.
 
Entries are promising, with Andy Vernon and 2005 winner Peter Riley probably the best known competitors in the Senior Men's race. Current New Zealand 10,000m champion Rowan Hooper, and regular to the Cardiff event Kevin Heywood also line up. Club interest comes in the form of Nat Lane and Andrew Hunt (running for Wales), Andres Jones, Mike Johnson, Alex Hains, Matt Collins, and Lewys Winfield-Young (returning from injury).
 
The Ladies' race includes three previous winners Hatti Dean, Tara Krzywicki, and Andrea Whitcombe although the favourite is in-form youngster Jessica Sparkes, who won Under 23 Bronze in last month's European Cross Country Championships in Dublin. Also in the frame will be Lauren Deadman, Faye Fullerton, Jo Wilkinson, and home favourite Cardiff AAC's Ava Hutchinson, who also ran in Dublin.
 
Richard Goodman & Jonny Hay finished 1st and 3rd in the U20 European Trials and also line up in the Bute Park event.
 
In the U17 boys' race will be Ross Matheson & Joshua Grace, who placed 1st and 2nd in the first two fixtures (Gateshead & Liverpool).
 
The Cardiff Cross Challenge is known as a spectator friendly event so come along and watch. The first race is at 11:00.

This popular event has been organised in Cardiff for many years with four Cardiff AAC Presidents leading the behind the scenes organisation. Former President Graham Finlayson created the event and has been the head of the organisation, ably supported by current President Jeff Kirby and former Presidents Paul Darney and John Penny (John is the current Welsh Athletics President). Many other Cardiff AAC officials are also involved either in the organisation or as team managers. What would we do without them?

The weather of the past few days means that the preparation of the course and other facilities will be very difficult and we must pay tribute to those who will be out all day today, tomorrow and Sunday ensuring that the event goes ahead successfully.

For further details including the timetable, etc. go to the event's website by clicking on Cardiff Cross Challenge