England Athletics is delighted to announce the England teams who will compete at the Lotto Cross Cup de Hannut on 22 January.
The cross country race, which takes place in the province of Liège in Belgium, attracts an elite international field and has seen a wealth of Olympic champions on the podium since its inception in the 1940s.
Team manager Eamonn Martin said:
"England frequent Belgium most seasons to compete in various venues whichever fits the England Cross Country schedule for that season. This season we visit Hannut for the Cross Cup event in January. With a range of successes over many seasons including victories in all ages at the various Cross Cup venues we will once again travel to Belgium with expectation of success. More importantly enabling all the athletes to gain experience and confidence in an event which has been held since the 1940’s. A twisting winding multi-lap typical Belgian course will test our athletes once again."
Jack Gray (coach: Mark Vile; club: Cambridge & Coleridge)
Jack has run for England many times and steps in very late for Hugo Milner who has a minor niggle that will prevent him racing.
Jack ran the Valencia 10k last week so is race ready. He finished 9th in the Inter-counties cross country last March and was 21st at the Liverpool European cross trial in November, having finished 11th in the Cardiff cross challenge (October) and 10th in the home countries international in Milton Keynes on November.
Ellis Cross (Mick Woods, Aldershot Farnham & District)
Ellis gained fame in May of this year, defeating Mo Farah into 2nd place in the Vitality London 10k winning in 28:40. He was 3rd in the European Clubs cross country in Portugal on February 22.
He came 2nd in the Great South Run in October clocking 47:32 for 10 miles. He followed that by running the fastest on leg three in the ECCA Cross Country relays in November (3rd fastest of the day). He then went on to finish 14th at the Euro Cross Country Trial in Liverpool and secured a second reserve slot. However, Ellis was drafted into the team at late notice and had a fine run in Turin with little mental preparation to be 4th senior man to finish in 37th place.
Joe Wigfield (Craig Winrow, Wirral AC)
Joe was 1st home on leg one at the ECCA National Cross Country relays at Mansfield in November. He had a lean racing season prior to this after missing the whole of 2021. He previously won the BUCS cross country in 2020.
Joe then made the Euro Cross U23 team at the Liverpool trial in November finishing 10th (3rd U23). He followed that with a superb 13th place in the European Cross U23 in Turin where the GB U23 team won gold medals.
Ned Potter (Sonia McGeorge, Newham & Essex Beagles)
Ned was 9th in the Junior Mens National Cross Country in February 22 and has shown good from as he has stepped up to the senior ranks. 16th place in the European trials at Liverpool in November (8th U23) meant he missed out on selection for the U23 European Team, despite having beaten athletes who made the team two weeks before the trial when he won the Birmingham League. He recently won his Sussex County Championships, again beating a strong field to show he is in good form currently.
Sarah Astin (Geoff Watkin, Belgrave)
Sarah finished 10th (7th Senior) in the European Cross Trial at Liverpool and just missed out being part of the GB team in Turin. This was an impressive performance off the back of PB’s this summer in 1500m and 3000m on the track. Sarah’s cross Ccuntry season started at the prestigious Atapeurca XC in Burgos, Spain in November. This along with last year’s 4th in the Southern and 13th National Cross Country sees a good cross country season ahead.
Lauren McNeil (Hallamshire)
Lauren’s first cross country race this season was in the European Trial in Liverpool where she finished 19th/7th U23 and just missed out on GB selection. Lauren has had a positive year gaining PB’s in 3000 & 5000m on the track and 5k and half marathon on the road. Lauren also finished 2nd on leg one in the ERRA National Road Relays close behind Abbie Donnelly.
Alexandra Millard (Bill Foster, Invicta)
A great season so far for Alex with her podium 3rd place in the European U23 XC in Turin. Alex started her Cross Country season in the Dublin Open International finishing 3rd and then went on to win Milton Keynes, running for England in the Home Countries. Her great form continued with an 8th place finish at Liverpool (3rd U23) gaining her GB selection in the European Cross Country Team.
Alex has had a successful 2022, winning the Junior National Cross Country Title, 4th in the BUCS, 10th in Elgoibar running as a Senior for England. PB’s in 800/1500/3000/5000m and winning the 3000m at the Loughborough International.
Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods, Bracknell AC)
Amelia’s start to the Cross Country season saw her finish 2nd in the Cross Challenge in Cardiff behind Pamela Kosgei from Kenya. Her 6th place in last year’s European Trial at Liverpool and 12th place U23 finish at the European Cross Country in Dublin in 2021 gives Amelia great cross country experience backed up with her 5000m PB on the track this summer. She missed this year’s Liverpool trial with illness but is now bidding for a successful second half of the winter.
Luke Birdseye (Shireen Higgins, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow)
To say Luke is enjoying an excellent cross country season is an understatement. Luke started his season back in November with victory at this year’s Home Countries International when representing the South of England. This was followed up with a 3rd place in Liverpool which booked his place on the team for the European Cross-Country Championships in Turin where he finished in 5th place. As the second eligible junior in Turin Luke has satisfied the selection criteria for the World Cross Country Championships in February.
James Dargan (Mick Woods, Aldershot Farnham & District)
James enjoyed a good 2021 - 2022 cross-country season with the highlight being his silver medal in the ESAA English Schools Championships in March. James clearly likes the English Schools Championships as he won gold in the 3000m in July before going on to take silver in SIAB Schools International T&F Competition a week later in Belfast. James was 13th in Liverpool which in this case is a lucky number.
Jacob Deacon (Katie Hewison, Chorley ATC)
Jacob is another one of our fine crop of younger juniors. He finished 3rd in the ECCA Under 17 National Cross Country Championships in February before concluding his season with another 3rd place in the Under 17 Inter-Counties in March. Jacob has clearly taken a step up this season with a 4th place finish in Liverpool which booked his place on the team for the European Cross Country Championships in Turin where he finished in 28th place.
Daniel Maydew (Simon Prior, Wells City Harriers)
Daniel has put down a marker this winter with a much-improved run in Cardiff (4th Englishman). Sadly, illness has delayed his progress this winter but he is now back on track and looking to maintain his development and upward trajectory.
Innes Fitzgerald (Gavin Pavey, Exeter Harriers)
Innes won all schools races in 2022 including the Schools International Athletic Board 3000m and the Cross Country Championships. This cross country season she won the Cardiff Cross Country Challenge in October. She then won the European Cross Trial at Liverpool, gaining selection for GB Junior team at the European Cross Country championships in Turin where she finished an excellent 4th place.
Rebecca Flaherty (Bingley)
Rebecca finished 3rd in the English Schools Track & Field Championships in the 3000m. In last season’s cross Country season she was 3rd at the North of England Championships and following this result she was 5th in the Inter Counties. This season Rebecca has continued to improve finishing second in the World Mountain & Trial Running Championships in the Junior group. At the Cross Country Trials she finished 5th, gaining selection for the European Cross Country Championships where she ultimately finished 18th.
Yasmin Kashdan (Vince Golding, Crawley AC)
Yasmin came 15th in the U17 English Schools Cross Country Championships 2022, 4th U17 at the National Cross Country Championships 2022, 2nd U17 (9th overall) at the Cross Country Challenge at Milton Keynes, 1st U17 at the South of England Inter Counties Championships, and is the U17 Sussex County Champion for 2023.
Hattie Reynolds (Tim Ash, City of Norwich)
Hattie won the South of England Championships in the under 17 age group. This form carried on as she finished second in the National Under 17 Championships. This cross country season she has picked up where she left off last season, finishing 7th at the recent Cross Country Challenge at Milton Keynes. At the European Cross Country Trials she finished 13th. With these good results Hattie finished second in the South of England Inter-County Championships under 20 in December.
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- Image: Lauren McNeil competing at the Copenhagen Half Marathon