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cross challenge on the horizon

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Cross Challenge

The 2014/15 British Athletics Cross Challenge is just weeks away and endurance athletes up and down the country are gearing up for the four-race series over the winter months. Suitable for elite athletes and club runners alike, with races on offer for all age groups from under 13 to senior, the British Athletics Cross Challenge hosts some of the UK’s premier cross country events.

Points will be awarded for finishing positions in each race and a total of more than £25,000 of prize money is on offer throughout the season, as well as the honour of joining an illustrious list of past Cross Challenge series winners that includes the likes of Andy Vernon (coach: Nic Bideau), Stephanie Twell (Mick Woods) and Chris O’Hare (Terrance Mahon).

The season gets underway on Saturday 29 November at Liverpool’s Sefton Park as senior, under 23 and junior athletes also do battle for a place on the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for the European Cross Country Championships in Bulgaria.

The 2013 staging of the Liverpool leg of the Cross Challenge saw Andy Vernon, a double European medallist in Zurich this summer, take the senior men’s title while road specialist Gemma Steel (John Nuttall) was victorious in the senior women’s race before going on to finish second at the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade.

In the New Year the series rolls on to Blackweir Fields in Cardiff on Sunday 18 January 2015. Always a competitive event, with regional and international representative teams taking part, the 2015 event will be no different.

For the first time, the British Athletics Cross Challenge will head to Milton Keynes as Tear Drop Lakes plays host to the inaugural event in the city. The third leg of the series will take place there on 7 February 2015.

Exactly one month later on 7 March 2015, the familiar setting of Birmingham’s Cofton Park will be the backdrop to the 2014/15 Cross Challenge Final, incorporating the Inter Counties Championship and the Trials for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, which take place in March.

Double Cross Challenge points will be on offer in Birmingham, but athletes must have competed in two of the previous three events to be eligible for the overall series standings. In 2014, the two senior races were exciting affairs with Richard Goodman (Woods) winning a tight men’s race and Lily Partridge (Woods) overcoming a strong field to win the women’s title.

In total over 4,000 athletes competed last year, proving that this is an event welcoming cross country enthusiasts of all abilities.

Entries are now being taken for the first three Cross Challenge events; simply follow the links below to book your place on the start line.

Enter the Liverpool Cross Challenge: https://secure.onreg.com/onreg2/front/step1.php?id=2458

Enter the Cardiff Cross Challenge: https://secure.onreg.com/onreg2/front/step1.php?id=2505

Enter the Milton Keynes Cross Challenge: https://secure.onreg.com/onreg2/front/step1.php?id=2490

For more information on the British Athletics Cross Challenge visit www.britishathletics.org.uk/competitions/the-british-athletics-cross-challenge