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victories for hickey and purdue at cardiff cross challenge

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Adam Hickey

19 January 2014

The fourth leg of the British Athletics Cross Challenge took place today (Sunday 19 January) at Cardiff’s Blackweir Fields.

On a dry and sunny day, conditions remained favourable but there were muddy sections of the course. The senior titles were won by Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin) and Charlotte Purdue (Mick Woods) while the under 20 races were won by James Hall and Bobby Clay (Peter Mullervy).

Senior men – 10.37km

A highly competitive senior men’s race was won by Southend’s Adam Hickey. The 25 year old led through the first of the four laps alongside local favourite Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans) of Swansea, who shared the series lead with Hickey before today. However, soon after that Hickey was able to break clear and never looked back.

At the halfway point he had established a winning lead and the race for second place was fought out between Griffiths and Jonathan Hay (Mick Woods). Griffiths pushed on in the closing two kilometres and was able to hold off Hay in the last 300m as he unleashed his trademark sprint to the line.

Hickey’s winning time was 33:05, 13 seconds ahead of Griffiths and a further six ahead of Hay, and the Southend athlete was delighted with his performance. He said: “That was probably my best ever senior race.

“It started off quite quickly with Dewi (Griffiths) running by my side. We knew Jonny Hay had a good kick so it was us two keeping the pace going early on and I felt good.

“Before I knew it I had a bit of a gap and I just tried to extend that and I’m buzzing. I’m really happy with how my season has gone.”

Senior women – 6.99km                 

Charlotte Purdue led from gun to tape as she won the senior women’s race by a huge margin. The 22 year old went to the front from the start and had a lead of around ten metres after the first of the three laps.

On the second lap Purdue made a decisive move and by the 4km mark had established a 30 second gap over Laura Whittle (George Gandy) and Andrea Whitcombe (David Sunderland) who were chasing her.

The Aldershot athlete’s lead only continued to grow though, and she crossed the line in a time of 25:09, a total of 59 seconds clear of Whittle who managed to hold on to second ahead of a fast-finishing Whitcombe.

Afterwards, Cross Challenge series leader Purdue said: “I started off quite steady to see how I felt. I hadn’t tapered down for this at all but I wanted to come here because I like the course and I wanted to pick up some Cross Challenge points. I love racing and I’ve missed it.

“I have to be careful which cross country races I choose because of my injury but this was perfect. I’m missing an Aldershot session today so I wanted to make it as tough as that I didn’t slow down at all

“I’m definitely looking to win the Cross Challenge; obviously I’ve got tough competition from the likes of Gemma (Steel) so I’ll need to keep training hard and look towards Birmingham.”

Under 20 men – 6.99km

In the closest race of the day, the top three were separated by a matter of seconds as the race was decided by a sprint finish. It was James Hall who outkicked Toby Smith (Woods) for the win and Kieran Wood (Mark Vile) had to settle for third.

There was nothing between the leading contenders early on but Wales’ Alex Carter began to stretch out the field until only five remained in the leading pack. Those five were eventually reduced to three and Hall’s winning time was 23:55.

Hall said: “It was quite a fast start, Alex Carter took it and it picked up but there were a few of us still together. On the last lap I just tried to stay in there and kicked with around 150m to go and luckily I got the win.”

Under 20 women – 4.97km

The Clay sisters finished as the top two for the second consecutive weekend to follow up their performances from the Great Edinburgh XCountry with a repeat in Cardiff.

Bobby Clay went to the front early on and wound the pace up gradually as she was tracked by her sister Alex (Mullervy) and Ireland’s Siobhra O’Flaherty, who won the under 20 women’s race in Antrim two weeks ago.

The lead for Bobby continued to grow and she eventually crossed the line ten seconds ahead of Alex with a time of 18:08.

The 16 year old was delighted to notch up another victory. She said: “It was quite fast at the start but at the end of the first lap I thought there were too many of us still there so I tried to kick on and get a bit of a gap to try to relax and keep my footing in the woods where it was really muddy.

“I’m really pleased. I’ve got things to work on which me and my coach will work on in the coming weeks. I know I’m in good form but I could be even better.”

Elsewhere…

The under 17 races were won by Jordan Rowe (David Smith) of Colchester and Claire Wilson (Mark Vile) of Cambridge and Coleridge. Rob Huckle (Vile) of Cambridge and Coleridge won the under 15 boys race and Cari Hughes (Andrew Walling) of Menai Track and Field was victorious in the under 15 girls race. In the first races of the day, the under 13 boys and girls, Team Bath’s Hayden Bailey and Grace Copeland (Bob Smith) of Wimborne took the titles.

Full results can be viewed here. Highlights will be available shortly on BritishAthleticsTV.

The final of the British Athletics Cross Challenge takes place at Birmingham’s Cofton Park in conjunction with the UK Inter Counties on Saturday 8 March. For more information on the British Athletics Cross Challenge click here.