Team Announcement: Home Countries International Junior Mountain Running Championships

England Athletics are pleased to announce their Junior Team for the Home Countries International which is incorporated into the British and Irish Junior Mountain Running Championships to be held on Saturday 20th September at Glendalough, Ireland.

This event is brings the mountain running season to a close and is the target race of many of our aspiring mountain runners. The competition is at a good level as the best of the English runners battle it out with their Welsh, Scottish and Irish counterparts.  The British and Irish Junior Mountain Running Championships is hosted in turn by each of the participating countries and this year Ireland are providing the competition. Last year England won the overall trophy.

U20 Women's A team

Lizzy Apsley (Club: Stockport Harriers & AC, Coach: Syd Bates) (pictured top, by Dave Woodhead)
Zara Knappy (Club: Keighley and Craven, Coach: Andy Henderson)
Lydia Sharpe (Club: Gateshead, Coach: David Lowes)
Lauren Munro- Bennett (Club: Helm Hill, Coach: Duncan Richards)

U20 Men's A team

Liam Burthem (Club: Warrington, Coach: Julian Field)
Lewis Byram (Club: Holmfirth, Coach: Katherine Farquhar)
Richard Evans (Club: Liverpool Harriers, Coach: Adrian Webb) (pictured)
Jack Willis (Club: Middlesborough & Cleveland)

U20 Men's B team   

James Best (Club: Tavistock AC, Coach: Caroline Lawson)
Jack Hindle (Club: Blackburn)       

U17 Girls' A Team  

Fiona Bunn (Club: Abingdon, Coach: Bernard Wilkins) (pictured, by Dave Woodhead)
Erica Byram (Club: Holmfirth Harriers, Coach: Kath Farquar)
Lucy Byram (Club: Holmfirth Harriers, Coach: Kath Farquar)
Elizabeth Greenwood (Club: Blackburn, Coach: Richard Taylor)

U17 Girls' B Team

Lucy Haines (Club: Ilkley)    
Connie Hurton (Club: Eden Runners)
Victoria Merrick (Club: Bingley, Coach: Andy Nicoll)
Heidi Murray (Club: Lancs & Morecambe, Coach: Colin Gemson)

U17 Boys' A Team   

Robbie Brown (Club: City of York) (pictured, by Dave Woodhead)  
Elliott Matier (Club: Carlisle Aspatria, Coach: Stuart Robinson/Frank Davidson)
Chris Richards (Club: Helm Hill, Coach: Duncan Richards)
Matthew Senior (Club: Helm Hill, Coach: Duncan Richards)

U17 Boys' B Team

Matthew Merrick (Club: Bingley Harriers, Coach: John Merrick/Andy Nicoll)
Ruaridh Mon-Williams (Club: Ilkley Harriers, Coach: Anne Buckley)
Jacob Steele (Club: Dallam)    
Jamie Ward (Club: Mercia, Coach: John Abbiss)

Team managers

  • Anne Buckley
  • Jackie Newton
  • Neil Wilkinson
  • Duncan Richards
  • Carol Evans

About the athletes

Lizzy Apsley made her mountain running debut for England at the Karrimor Great Trail Race in June this year before going on to the International Youth Cup a few weeks later, where she finished 17th and first counter for the England team.  After only one year on the mountains, Zara Knappy was part of the silver medal winning team at the 2014 European Mountain Running Championships where she represented GB & NI in July this year. She also represented England at the Karrimor Great Trail Race where she finished 4th.  Lydia Sharpe has established herself as a high performing athlete on the mountains after representing Great Britain and winning medals at both the 2013 and 2014 European Mountain Running Championships. This is Lydia’s third year representing England at the British and Irish Championships.  Lauren Munro- Bennett has a strong background in fell and mountain running. She represented England at the International Youth Cup in Slovenia in 2011 and has represented England at the British and Irish Championships each year since.

Liam Burthem was first English runner in the International Youth Cup this year finishing 7th and leading the team to bronze medals. He also represented England at the Karrimor Great Trail race, finishing 4th.  Lewis Byram is a regular England Mountain Running team member. This year he was in the bronze medal winning England team at the International Youth Cup. Last year he finished 6th in this event, helping England to team victory.  Richard Evans gains his first England vest at this event, having won the trial race. He has previously represented the NW at Mini-Marathon, and races predominantly on track and XC.  Jack Willis combines a career as a GB triathlete with his running. He is current FRA U18 champion, and was part of the silver medal winning England team at the 2013 International Youth Cup. 

James Best gains his first England vest, usually competing in XC, but has experience in the fell running scene finishing 3rd in the English Schools fell Running Champs 2013.  Jack Hindle is another mountain runner who also competes at a high level as a triathlete.  A consistently strong performer, Jack has already run for England at the International Youth Cup in Italy this year.  

A strong orienteer, Fiona Bunn made her debut for Great Britain in the European Youth Championships earlier this year. She adds an England debut in mountain running after her victory in the trial race. As Oxford County cross country champion, she has also posted some fine results with placings of 9th in the Southerns, and 17th in both the English National and English Schools cross country championships in 2014.  A strong triathlete, Erica Byram makes her debut for England in mountain running following her fine 3rd place at the trial race. She also finished 4th in the U16 FRA championships. Earlier this year, she represented Yorkshire & Humberside in the London Mini Marathon.  Lucy Byram, also a strong triathlete, joins her twin sister making her England debut. Her automatic selection comes with her 2nd placing at the trial race. It is backed up by her consistent form on the fells and securing 5th in the U16 FRA championships.  Lizzie Greenwood successfully retained her U16 FRA title from 2013 after another strong year in cross country, on the track and over the fells. She adds another England vest following her win at this event last year, and a fine run earlier this year at the International Youth Cup in Arco, Italy. 

As runner-up in the competitive U16 FRA championship, Lucy Haines secured automatic selection for this event as she makes her England debut. This was backed up by another solid run in the trial race where she finished 5th.  Connie Hurton has focused on the fells this year and, following her consistent results in the U16 FRA championship races and a 4th placing in the trial race, has gained a well-earned England vest.  A prolific racer over cross country, on the track and over the fells, Vicky Merrick is another of the team to have secured a well-earned England vest. Earlier in the year she  represented Yorkshire & Humberside in the London Mini Marathon.  Finishing strongly in 6th position at the trial race, Heidi Murray adds another England vest following her debut at last year’s Junior Home International.

Robbie Brown is an accomplished track and cross country runner. He makes his England debut at the event after winning the trial, which was his first mountain race.  Elliott Matier's first season running on the fells resulted in an excellent joint 2nd place in the FRA U17 Championship and thus automatic selection for the team. Elliot came 2nd in the CAU Inter Counties Fell Championships and is an excellent triathlete & track athlete, Elliott's speed, strength & enthusiasm showed this season on the mountains.  Chris Richards has a great season and is the 2014 FRA U17 Champion. The highlight of the season however would be an impressive 14th at the International Youth Cup in Italy earlier this year. Chris won his first England vest at this event in Scotland last year, being part of a winning England team.  Matthew Senior has stepped up his training this year and the introduction of speed training on the track and has been rewarded by coming joint 2nd in the FRA U17s Championships with some very good races. A strong cross country runner, his excellent track speed allied with a cross country background has resulted in a big improvement on the mountains.

Matthew Merrick joins his sister Victoria in making his England debut at this event. He is also a prolific racer for Bingley Harriers on both fell and country.
This is Ruaridh Mon-Williams’ England debut. He is from a fell running background but has worked hard on the track to improve his speed and has made big improvements this year.  Jacob Steele has been developing steadily on the fells over the years but made a breakthrough this winter winning the Kendal Winter League title over a series of 12 mountain races.  A consistent performer over the summer, Jacob's trial position of 4th gained him selection for this event.  Jamie Ward is from a track and xc background. He has been doing some fell races this year and had a fine 5th place at the Inter-Counties Fell Race in May. This is his England debut.

We wish them all the best!

All photos by Dave Woodhead

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