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griffiths and brough take senior wins at cross challenge opener in bristol

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Senior men

27 October 2013

The 2013-14 British Athletics Cross Challenge Series got underway at Ashton Court today (Sunday 27 October) with the Bristol Cross Challenge staged in partnership with Bristol City Council, runbristol and Bristol & West AC.

The tough undulating course was made even more difficult by strong winds and intermittent rain but Dewi Griffiths (coach: Kevin Evans) and Katie Brough (Andrew Carter) weren’t hindered as they took the senior titles whilst the under 20 races were won by Jonathan Davies (Rob McKim) and Lydia Turner (Thomas Millmore).

Senior Men: 8km approx.

Dewi Griffiths stretched out the field with a ferocious pace from the gun and it wasn’t long before a leading group of three emerged with Jonny Hay (Mick Woods) setting the pace for Griffiths and Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin).

On the third lap a gap developed back to Hay as Griffiths and Hickey battled it out for superiority. Griffiths, the defending champion from last year, eventually managed to grind down the Southend athlete and take the 2013 title and Mike Sully trophy in fine style with a time of 28:07.

Hickey was comfortable in maintaining second place, eight seconds behind Griffiths, but Hay had to rely on his trademark finishing kick to win an epic battle for third with Ben Livesey.

Swansea Harrier Griffiths was delighted to start his 2013-14 cross country season in the same way he began his 2012-13 campaign.

The 22 year old said: “I went off hard from the start which was always the intention as it’s only 8km so if you do fall off it’s not that far to go. I hit it hard, after seeing the line-up today I thought it would be tough; essentially for the under 23 team for the Europeans were here today so it was a good level and a good marker for me.

“It shows the work I’ve been doing is working and the strength and speed is there. Hopefully when it comes to Liverpool I’ll be able to show it again.”

Senior Women: 6.5km approx.

After sitting in the main pack for the first kilometre, Katie Brough went to the front of the field and established an immediate ten second lead towards the end of the first of three laps.

Firstly Lauren Deadman (Bill Foster) and then later Juliet Potter (Roy Stowell) attempted to claw back the deficit but Brough was strong enough to hold on and take the title with a time of 24:39 and be presented with the Gemma Butler Bowl.

By the finish Potter had consolidated second place, four seconds behind Brough, but there was a battle for third place between Deadman and Stevie Stockton (George Gandy) with Deadman coming out on top by five seconds in 24:54.

Brough, who finished tenth in both the Inter-Counties and English National Championships earlier this year, said: “I wanted to let other people take the wind early on to gauge what the worst parts were, then I decided to take it on. I like front running, I know it’s not always ideal in the big races but today I wanted to push it out and see what happened.

“I feel quite fit at the moment. I had a stomach injury two months ago so I’m still playuing catch up but I felt really strong today.”

Under 20 Men: 6.5km approx.

European Junior 5,000m bronze medallist Jonathan Davies quickly built up a dominant lead on the very first lap of the junior men’s race as he was tracked 20m back by Tom Hook (Tim Ash) and Corey De’ath (Mark Hookway). His lead continued to grow throughout the rest of the race as he crossed the line in 21:51, winning by a huge margin of over a minute.

Second place went to Basildon’s Thomas Richardson (Nick Wetheridge), who defeated Sam Eglen (Tim Eglen) of Aldershot Farnham and Distrist in a sprint finish for the other two podium places.

Davies said of his stunning display: “When I started off I just wanted to get into a comfortable rhythm and see how it went from there. I moved away from the field fairly quickly and wanted to stay positive throughout the race and feel good and luckily I came away with the win.

“I hadn’t really overthought it. I hadn’t seen the start lists so I just played it by ear and saw how it went from there. It was very windy and it’s also a hilly course so whatever pace you ran at it was going to hurt.”

Under 20 & Under 17 Women: 4.5km approx.

After a conservative start up the first hill, Lydia Turner and Harriet Knowles-Jones (Russell Tart) broke clear of the field in the second half of the first lap chased by a group of three consisting of Alex Clay, Georgia Malir (Andrew Henderson) and Georgia Garner (Bud Baldaro).

However, on the second lap it was Turner who raced clear to build up a considerable lead ahead of the emerging Alex Clay (Peter Mullervy) in second. Under 17 Turner maintained her form to cross the line in first place with a time of 16:51 as Clay was second overall and first under 20 in 17:00.

Ilkley Harriers’ Malir was second in the under 20 women category, followed by Amy Griffiths (Mick Woods) of Aldershot Farnham and District. Knowles-Jones was second under 17 and third overall with 17:10 while third under 17 was Phoebe Law.

Turner was delighted to take such an emphatic victory: “I didn’t expect that at all. I came into it really nervous and not expecting to finish where I did but it was great. It was a challenging course but I really enjoyed it.

“The conditions balanced themselves out; one way you would have the wind in your face but then the other it would be on your back. Hopefully I’ll continue feeling strong for the rest of the season and keep progressing.”

Returning to racing following a broken collarbone, Clay was pleased with how she started her cross country season. She said: “At the beginning I felt a bit rough but the hills really helped; the advantage I have over the under 17s is when it comes to the hills and having the bravery to push it even when I don’t think I can.

“It was a good start to the season, fingers crossed I’ll be able to qualify for the European Cross Country Championships.”

Elsewhere…

Elliot Bowker (Andrew Carter) of Vale Royal and Lydia Turner (as noted above) took the under 17 titles and the under 15 races were won by Leicester’s Ben Dijkstra and Lucy Jones (Patrick Magee). The first races of the day, the under 11s, were won by Bryn Davies and Alex Scrivener (Paul Kelsey), while the under 13 races were won by Luke Davies (Phil Banning) of Brecon AC and Kathleen Faes of Tonbridge.

Full results are available here, plus spot yourself in our highlights video on www.youtube.com/britishathleticsTV

The series continues at the Liverpool Cross Challenge, which incorporates the European Cross Country Trials, on Saturday 23 November, followed by Antrim on 4 January 2014, Cardiff on 19 January 2014 and concluding with the British Athletics UK Cross Challenge Final and UK Inter Counties in Birmingham on Saturday 8 March 2014.

For full details, including the breakdown of prize money which exceeds £30,000 in total, check out the Cross Challenge section on the British Athletics website.

To view the British Athletics selection policies for the 2013/14 cross country season, click here.