There were two England Teams, with a total of 28 athletes putting on England vests in action over the past weekend and the ECCA Team Managers worked hard to give the athletes the opportunity to compete at either El Goibar in Spain or Cardiff where the Cross Challenge event took place.
In Cardiff a number of athletes were given the chance to run for England for the first time and took on teams representing Wales. A winning debut came from Sam Stevens in the Under 20 Men’s race, he had a close tussle with Jonathan Shields throughout the race eventually getting away on the last lap to win in a time of 26.01 just 5 secs ahead of his England teammate. Another winner was Harriett Knowles-Jones who cruised away from the rest of the field to win by an impressive margin of 1 min 32 secs in a time of 15.42. Her England Colleagues all ran well with Lucy Holt 5th, Yoyo Barnsley 6th and Catrina Thomas 9th, this young squad all gaining good experience.
The Senior Women had Elle Vernon as their lead athlete, Elle finishing 3rd in 27.22 while Amelia Pettitt a late addition to the Team when Kate Hulls dropped out having a great run to finish 6th. Kate Holt sister of Junior runner Lucy finished 7th and Alexandra Bell placed 9th. The Senior Men’s race held over a distance in excess of 10 K saw debut tee Graham Rush battling for 3rd for a lot of the way but the glutinous mud took it toll and Graham eventually finished 6th in 36.32. Alex Teuten hung on well for 7th while Andy Greenleaf placed 15th.
In Spain on a warm sunny day, this time the England athletes faced a lot of African opposition. Again the Under 20s went well with Mahamed Mahamed leading the the Men home in 2nd with a time of 20.49, Stephen Ferroni took 3rd and Emile Cairess 4th while Will Richardson had a bad day and failed to finish. Another 2nd place went to Gemma Holloway in the Under 20 Women’s race recording 15.56, then came Lucy Pygott 3rd, Kate Waugh 4th and Niamh Bridson-Hubbard 7th. Jenny Nesbitt was the lead Senior English Women home with the first year senior finishing 11th in 27.03, then came Rebecca Murray 10 secs down in 12th, while Lauren Deadman was 15th and Beth Hawling 20th. The Senior Men faced tough opposition in their race and Jonathan Taylor after featuring in the top 10 early on eventually finished 13th in 33.54, Jonathan Thewlis came home 22nd just 2 secs in front of Dan Cliffe 23rd.