Elgoibar international cross-country report

Aldershot, Farnham and District’s Jonny Hay was the star performer of a fifteen-strong England squad at the LXVII Cross Internacional Juan Mugerza in Elgoibar, Spain yesterday, writes Nicola Bamford.The event held on a course around the Sports Centre attracted athletes from far and wide with Kenya, Uganda, Argentina, Russia, Italy, France, Portugal and Spain being represented.

Junior Men

In heavy rain and mud-drenched conditions, the 17-year-old took a three-second victory in the junior men’s race over team-mate, Richard Goodman. Fresh from third place in the Cardiff leg of the McCain UK Cross Challenge and twenty-third position in the European under20 Championships in Dublin, Hay improved on fifth in the same competition last year to underline his promise.

Goodman; 16 of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, continued his fine vein of form from his recent fifth place in the Continental junior Championships to push Hay all the way to the line.

Warrington’s 18-year-old Harry Ellis; the recently-crowned Northern 3,000m indoor junior Champion placed seventh, whilst World School Games’ 3,000m 5th-placer, Tom Curr (17, Stroud) completed the team in ninth.

Junior Women

Team England’s junior ladies sqad, though incomplete, was the most successful team of the day for the English lions. Runner-up to Frederica Bevilacqua of Italy, fifth in the recent Europeans, Bedford and County’s 16-year-old Emily Wallbank – second under17 in the European cross trials last November – was first home, shortly followed by Ruth Haynes (16, AFD) in third position. Melissa Courtney (16, Poole AC) and the winner in Cardiff the previous weekend, finished a fine fourth.

Senior Men

Neilson Hall; the 27-year-old Bedford and County runner, ran strongly to place inside the top-ten of a classy international field. In his debut race of 2010, Hall put in a sterling performance to mix it with some of the best mud-larks on the cross circuit in tenth position.

Following a solid sixteenth-place in the BUPA Great Edinburgh international cross earlier this month, Altrincham’s 31-year-old Dave Norman finished in nineteenth, with Phil Nicholls (26, Tipton) shortly behind in twentieth. 23-year-old Jonathan Mellor of Liverpool Harriers; twelfth in Edinburgh and making his England debut finished in twenty-third position to complete the England squad. The winner in this event being Komon of Kenya.

Senior Women

In an equally-impressive international field, Sale Harriers’ 30-year-old Sonia Samuels; fresh from a fine twenty-first place in Dublin, ran solidly to place eighth just behind Moreira of Portugal, 10th in Dublin.Rebecca Robinson (27, Kendal) finished second counter in tenth-place, just ahead of masters’ athlete,Tara Krzywicki (35, Charnwood) and Julia Bleasdale (28, Hillingdon AC) in eleventh and thirteenth, respectively. The race being won by Goshu of Ethiopia.