Juan Muguerza Cross Cup, Elgoibar

 England Athletes faced strong opposition when they travelled to Northern Spain for the Juan Muguerza Cross in Elgoibar. The English Cross Country Association team management always consider this event as the top event they go to each winter for several reasons. One being the quality opposition they face, two a well organised event and three the welcome they always receive from their Spanish hosts. Again some of the Team were having their first taste of International competition and number performed exceptionally well.
The most successful quartet was the junior women’s team, with Rebecca Straw finishing 2nd, Phillippa Woolven 3rd, Poppy Blake 6th and Cali Thackery 7th. The junior men’s results were not far behind the women with Jack Goodwin 4th, Jonathan Davis 5th, Kieran Clements 7th and Elliott Giles 14th. The senior women had some very experienced members in their squad and Jessica Sparke continued her return after a long spell of injury with an 8th place, up and coming Naomi Tashimowitz took 11th and Natalie Harvey 16th. Both the men’s and women’s races had some classy Kenyans and Ethiopians competing in them and the men faced a number of these,  finding the competition tough. Jonathan Taylor came though as best placed English runner in 9th, in the race won by Paul Tanui of Kenya. Next was Jon Pepper 15th, then Andy Greenleaf 27th and Phil Berntsen 28th. All gained good further experience of this type of competition setting them up for the domestic championships to come this winter.
Ian Byett