At the Atapuerca Cross Country meeting held in Burgos, Northern Spain, the England selected athletes had mixed fortunes. The IAAF permit meeting has grown in quality and importance over the years and the 2016 version saw African runners fill the top 6 places in the Men’s Race and top 4 in the Women’s Event with runners also from all over Europe taking par. There were however some notable individual results from the England runners.
The organisers, aware of the tragic loss of the two Aldershot runners – Lucy Pygott (who had been selected to run for England at this meeting) and Stacy Burrows held a minutes silence and distributed black ribbons for athletes to wear, as well as displaying a Union Jack with a large black ribbon before the Junior Women got under way.
In this race Zoe Wassel (Stroud AC) had a great run finishing 2nd in a time of 13.21, Niamh Bridson-Hubbard (Blackheath & Bromley AC) placed 14th in 13.54 while Sophie Burnett (Birtley AC) was 17th in 14.03. The Junior Men’s race had Mahamed Mahamed (Southampton AC) in the lead 800 m from home but in a frantic finish he was outkicked to finish 4th in 17.40. Behind him came Will Richardson (Birchfield Harriers) in 10th place with 17.50 and William Fuller (Blackheath & Bromley AC) who placed 13th in 18.18. Also running was Isaac Akers (Corby AC) who sustained an injury and did not finish.
As stated the Senior Women’s Race was led by African runners while the leading European was Fionnual McCormack in 5th place. A further 3 places back came Kate Hulls (Bristol & West AC) with a great run in such company recording 26.24, then for England came Charlotte Arter (Cardiff AAC) 11th, 14 secs down while Sonia Samuals (Sale H Manchester) was 15th a further 10 secs back. Completing the quartet for England came Emily Hosker-Thornhill (Aldershot Farnham & Dist AC) finishing 22nd on what must have been a difficult day for the AFD runner who finished in 27.16.
The Senior Men were up against but performed gamely, leading UK runner was Dewi Griffiths finishing 15th in a time of 25.49. Alex Teuten (City of Portsmouth AC) led home the England selected runners finishing 30th in 26.41, then came Daniel Cliffe (Liverpool H &AC) 57th in 27.25. While Alex Brecker (City of Stoke AC) finished 70th, 20 secs back. Phil Wicks started but failed to finish due to injury.
In the past athletes competing in this event have gone on in general to run well at the Trial at Liverpool, time will tell if any those competing at Burgos will make the GB team for the Europeans.