Cross Country Report, 12-13 March

Cheltenham Harrier Beth Hawling finished her winter season with a team silver medal and a fantastic individual twelfth place as she represented Britain in the World University Cross Country Championships held in Cassino, Italy. In the twentieth staging of the championships, which are held every two years, fifty athletes competed in the championships from across the globe and from as far away as Australia and Canada. The 6.2km course comprised four laps with each lap having four testing hills, two shorter and steeper and two longer and gentler. The pace of the race was extremely fast from the start, with the Japanese team especially packing well at the front of the field. On the first lap among a lead group of ten were the two Great Britain athletes: Jenny Nesbitt and Pippa Woolven, while the other four members of the team including Beth were all very close together further down the field just inside the top thirty positions. On the second lap Hawling began to steadily move up the field and away from her British team mates Amelia Pettit, Rebecca Murray and Mari Smith to lie in twentieth place at the halfway stage. During the third lap the Matt Richard’s coached athlete again demonstrated her usual physical strength and mental toughness; continuing to pass more athletes and moving into in sixteenth place as the last lap began. As she has all season, Hawling finished the race strongly too and with a fine sprint finish secured twelfth place to become the third and final scorer on the Great Britain team behind Nesbitt (4th) and Woolvern (9th),earning them the team silver medal behind Japan whilst Italy took the bronze.

Phil Wylie produced the stand out Cheltenham Harriers performance at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships at Cofton Park in Birmingham. The Dave Newport coached athlete put in an excellent performance to finish eighth in the 12km men’s race, his highest ever finish in the event. Wylie’s run also helped his native North East team to the team gold. Representing Gloucestershire Harry Bishop ran very well for 78th place and Richard de-Camps placed 12h. In the under 20 women’s race Rachel Longstaff returned to action with an impressive 33rd place whilst Jacob Pickering ran well for 70th in the under 20 men’s race and Rachel See finished the ladies race in 228th place. At the British Masters Cross Country Championships in Bath, Marc Fallows ran well to finish fifth overall and earn the silver medal in the 40-44 age group.