On Sunday 19 January over 2,000 athletes from all over the world came together to compete in the annual international cross country event, that takes place amongst the ruins of the Roman city of Santiponce in Seville. The ECCA athletes running for England produced sterling performances in the unique and stunning Spanish setting.
The first race that England athletes were in action was the U20 Women’s Team, which saw a superb set of performances, with Georgia Hays taking the win in a time of 18.06 ahead of two Spanish athletes. Holly Smith (Club: Vale Royal, Coach: Andrew Carter) finished 4th in 18.41, Imogen Wood (Club: Cornwall AC, Coach: Diarmuid Devery) 5th, and Courtney Howard (Club: Exeter, Coach: Brian O'Hare) came 6th – all gaining great experience.
The three England U20 Men all ran competitively with Josh Cowperthwaite (Club: Middlesbrough (Mandale), Coach: Martin Peevor) getting an excellent 2nd place in 23.41, 10 seconds down on the winner, Etson Barros of Portugal, who was 4th in the European U20 Championships recently. Then came Will Barnicoat (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Coach: Trevor Raggett) placing 3rd and Henry McLuckie (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet, Coach: Geoff Watkin) coming 4th in 24.01 – fantastic results and effort by all.
The Senior Women tested themselves in a very classy field – the race was won by Margaret Chelimo of Kenya in 28.37, with Beatrice Chebet 2nd and a host of African athletes behind. England’s Kate Avery (Club: Shildon) ran strongly taking 10th place in 31.04, then came Dani Chattenton (Club: MK Distance Project/Imperial College, Coach: Kyle Bennett) 9 seconds back in 14th, Jessica Gibbon (Club: Reading AC/Bath Uni) came 19th and Hannah Irwin (Club: Guildford & Godalming/Surrey Uni) 25th.
Some promising performances for the future – congratulations and well done to all.