Great international cross country experience for England team

The Home Countries Cross Country International took place at the Billy Neill Centre of Excellence, Dundonald, Northern Ireland on Saturday 22 January.

The Northern Ireland International, also incorporating the British Athletics Cross Challenge and Celtic Games, was held on a dull, cold but dry day and was well supported by local fans of cross country. Although muddy in places the overall conditions were firm and good racing took place.

Senior Men

Star performance of the day from England's view point was that of Zak Mahamed (coach: Idris Hamud) in the Senior Men's race. Always with the leaders, Zak moved away on the last lap to win in 29.49. The young Southampton athlete came home seven seconds in front of Iliass Ouani of Italy with another Hampshire runner - Stuart McCullen - representing Scotland 3rd in 30.03. Hugo Milner (Derby AC) of England picked up 4th with a 30.14 clocking, and England won the team event as Matthew Stonier (Invicta East Kent AC, Peter Mullervy) was 7th in 39.36, while Calum Johnson (Gateshead Harriers, John Stephenson) was 17th, recording 31.05.

U20 Women

In the first International race of the afternoon, the Under 20 Women's event Hannah Ryding of Scotland ran away from the field to win easily in 13.56 and led Scotand to a clear team win. For England, Ellen Weir (Hercules Wimbledon, Anne Hegvold) was 5th in 14.29, Louise Hackett (Wolverhampton & Bilston) 7th with 14.33, Ella Greenway (Cleethorpes AC, Joanna Louise Evans; 14.48) 9th and Kiya Dee 11th (Highworth AC; 14.54). The young England team gained great experience and came 2nd.

Sam Mills at Cross Country Home Country HCIU20 Men

The Under 20 Men's race, was a triumphant one for Sam Mills of England as he raced home in 18.17, 3 secs in front of Dean Casey of Ireland, Finley Proffitt (Trafford AC, Neil Canham) was England's 2nd man home in 9th with 19.02, while Louis Small (Ashford AC) was 12th (19.15) and Alexander Melloy (Cambridge & Coleridge AC, Mark Vile) completed the England team in 14th spot with 19.21. In this age group England won the HCI, although Ireland won overall.

Senior Women

Helen Obiri of Kenya completely dominated the Senior Women's race winning by 20 secs in 26.44 and was out on her own for most of the race. Hannah Irwin gave the home fans a treat with 2nd place in 27.04 and 3rd went to Mhairi MacLennon of Scotland in 27.07. For England Eleanor Bolton (Ribble Valley AC) was 4th in 27.21, Kate Avery 6th (Shildon AC; 27.32), Jess Gibbon (Reading AC; 27.33) 7th and Abbie Donnelly (Lincoln Wellington AC, Rob Lewis; 28.01) 10th. Scotland pipped England by 1 point to win 16 to 17.

Eleanor Bolton at Cross Country Home Country HCI


Photos by Mark Shearman