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BRITS SET FOR WORLD TEST

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Twell Euro Cross 2008
2008 European Cross Country Champ Twell

 

26 March 2009

The Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team will face the cream of international distance running at this weekend’s World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan.

GB & NI is the only European nation which has sent full teams for Saturday’s championships which has become dominated in recent years by the East African nations Kenya and Ethiopia.  Leading the British senior women’s challenge is Stephanie Twell (Aldershot, Farnham & District).

The 19-year-old - who competed in the 1500m at last year’s Olympic Games – has enjoyed a superb winter season on the country, including winning her third consecutive junior women’s crown at the European Cross Country Championships in Brussels in December and winning all four senior women’s races in the  McCain UK Cross Challenge series.

Amman will mark her first international championship as a full-fledged senior and the youngster is looking forward to the task in hand.

Twell said: “The World Cross is one of the greatest footraces in the world. It’s a hugely prestigious event and one that I look forward to every year. Every nation has brought their best distance runners and it’s a great opportunity to be exposed to that level of competition.

“Cross country running is something which has always been hugely important to me. I was a cross country runner before I was a track runner - I earned my first ever British vest at the 2005 World Cross Country Championships. A good cross country season can really make you stronger and pay dividends for the summer track season.”

Looking towards Saturday, she said: “Top twenty would be a good performance, but I really want to finish as high as I can. I don’t want to just run, I want to be competitive and really get into a good race and finish with a smile on my face.”

The senior men’s team is spearheaded by Inter-Counties & World Trials winner Andy Vernon (Aldershot, Farnham & District), the junior men’s team includes trials winner Nick Goolab (Belgrave Harriers) and the junior women’s team includes trials winner Lily Partridge (Aldershot, Farnham & District) and European junior silver and bronze medallists Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Lauren Howarth (Leigh Harriers).

The team have been preparing for the event with a week’s training camp organised by UKA at the Military Defence Medical Services Training Centre at Keogh Barracks, Aldershot. Ian Stewart, Team Leader and National Endurance Coach, UKA, says the week has been a positive experience for the team and hopes to carry it forward to Saturday’s races.

Stewart said: “We have enjoyed an excellent week’s preparation in Aldershot with some quality running at a quality facility with all our medical, nutritional and relaxation needs perfectly catered for. Distance running requires a simple lifestyle coupled with hard training in a squad-based environment. That is the blueprint for success and is the type of arrangement I would like to see repeated amongst British endurance runners in the coming years.

“Looking towards this weekend, we are under no illusion regarding the scale of the task. It will be very, very difficult for British athletes to contend for medals both individually and as a team.

“But I have been impressed with the attitude and professionalism of our athletes. This is a weekend where I want to see them truly embracing the opportunity of taking on the world’s best runners, learning and developing from it so we might be in an even stronger position to challenge in the future. They will certainly have our full support.”

AVIVA GB & NI TEAM

MEN:

 Keith Gerrard (Newham and Essex Beagles); Lee Merrien (Newham & Essex Beagles); Phil Nicholls (Tipton Harriers); Michael Skinner (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC); Frank Tickner (Wells City); Andy Vernon (Aldershot, Farnham & District)

WOMEN:

Hatti Dean (Hallamshire Harriers); Jane Potter (Charnwood AC); Sonia Samuels (Sale Harriers Manchester); Sarah Tunstall (Kendal AAC); Stephanie Twell (Aldershot, Farnham & District); Hannah Whitmore (Charnwood AC)

U20 MEN

Tom Farrell (Border Harriers); Nick Goolab (Belgrave Harriers); Jonathan Hay (Aldershot, Farnham & District); Simon Horsfield (East Cheshire Harriers & Tameside AC); Ronnie Sparke (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies); James Wilkinson (Leeds City AC)

U20 WOMEN

Kate Avery (Shildon Running); Lauren Howarth (Leigh Harriers); Laura Park (Ellenborough AC); Lily Partridge (Aldershot, Farnham & District); Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham & District); Louise Small (Aldershot, Farnham & District)