The Home Countries Cross Country International took place at the Billy Neill Centre of Excellence, Dundonald, Northern Ireland on Saturday 22nd 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.
Star performance of the day from England’s view point was that of Zak Mahamed 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 in 7 secs in front of Iliass Ouani of Italy with another Hampshire runner Stuart McCullen representing Scotland 3rd in 30.03. Hugo Milner of England picked up 4th with a 30.14 clocking and England won the team event as Matthew Stonier was 7th in 39.36. While Calum Johnson was 17th, recording 31.05.
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. Team mate Louisa Brown came 2nd in 14.11 and led Scotand to a clear win. For England Ellen Weir was 5th in 14.29, Louise Hackett 7th with 14.33, Ella Greenway 9th – 14.48 and Kiya Dee 11th – 14.54. The young England team gained great experience and came 2nd.
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 was England’s 2nd Man home in 9th with 19.02, while Louis Small was 12th – 19.15 and Alexander Melloy completed the England team in 14th spot with 19.21. In this one England won the HCI, although Ireland won overall.
Helen Obiri of Kenya completely dominated the Senior Women’s race winning by 20 secs in 26.44. Out on her own for most of the race the Kenyan came home untroubled. 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 Elanor Bolton was 4th in 27.21, Kate Avery 6th – 27.32, Jess Gibbon 7th – 27.33 and Abbie Donnelly 10th – 28.01. Scotland pipped England by 1 point to win 16 to 17
Full results can be found at: