England’s Amelia Quirk and Emile Cairess were the first home country runners to cross the line at the British Athletics Cross Challenge in Cardiff on Saturday, finishing overall second and fourth respectively in their races.
In what is without question one of the highlights of the cross country season, the women’s race over 6.4km was won by Kenya’s Pamela Kosgei in a time of 20:21, 13 seconds ahead of Quirk (coach Mick Woods; club: Bracknell). Reading’s Jess Gibbon was third in 20:44, followed by Elle Twentyman (Taunton) in 20:50.
The men’s race over 9.6km was won by another leading Kenyan Edward Zakayo (26:20) in a similarly top-class field with Cairess (Alan Storey; Leeds City) crossing the line in a time of 26:39 in the event which is also on the World Athletics Cross Country Tour.
The course at Llandaff Fields played host to a fabulous day’s racing in sunny weather with thousands of runners taking up the opportunity to compete in the Welsh capital.
Under-17 Innes Fitzgerald (Exeter Harriers), racing in the under-17/under-20 4.45km race, finished in a time of 14:10, followed by under-17s Zoe Gilbody (John Skevington; Wreake) and Jess Bailey (Matt Long; Leven Valley). Alice Bates (Shane Smith; Kettering) was top under-20 in 14:44, finishing fourth overall.
Ed Bird (Mark Pauley; Poole) won the under-20 men’s 6.4km race by two seconds in 18:49. Ben Brown (Peter Haynes; Southampton) was second and Lewis Hannigan (Kilbarchan) third.