Avery and Jones take maximum points in Stirling Cross Challenge

Kris Jones Stirling 2020

Kate Avery (handicap -0.7) maintained her place at the top of the Cross Challenge standings with victory in gruelling conditions in Stirling as Kris Jones (handicap -6.0) produced an excellent performance after a mid race fall, to take maximum points in the men’s race.

Kate Avery’s second series win was done in comfortable fashion following a decisive move on the final lap to pull away from Abbie Donnelly (handicap -1.4) cutting the tape in 29:20, 11 seconds ahead of Donnelly.

Bronwen Owen (handicap 0.6) ran 29:39 for a well-deserved third place, following up her team bronze at the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon last month, pacing her race well, while Mhairi MacLennan (handicap 0.4) spent most of the race in fourth, finishing in 29:47.

In the men’s race, Kris Jones (handicap -6.0) found himself in a group of four in the first two laps and despite falling in the muddy conditions, was able to pull away on the third lap, to win in 25:33 from Scotland’s Jamie Crowe (handicap -5.8), who was 10-seconds further back. 

In dramatic fashion, Adam Hickey (handicap -5.7) chased down local favourite Andrew Butchart (handicap -6.9)  both sprinting for the line, with the former taking third spot ahead of the Olympian in fourth in 25:49 and 25:50 respectively. Early leader, James Hunt (handicap -5.0) finished in fifth position.

Jones said: “I know Jamie really well and I know that he was in top form. I was starting to worry a bit when he came back to me in the finish. I just tried to stay with the leaders and then went Andy [Butchart] fell off I thought he was gone, but then he came back to me so I knew I had to push on there. It was a really tough field and hard work but just glad to come out on top.”

Megan Keith (handicap 0.4) hunted down the male U20 competitors who had set off two minutes ahead, as she dominated the under 20 women’s race in a time of 26:14 over 7km.

The order of the top five was well-established early on as Cera Gemmell (handicap 1.0) quickly put her claim on the silver medal as she followed close behind her fellow Scot, finishing in 26:25. Olivia Mason (handicap 1.1) similarly followed behind Keith and Gemmell throughout keeping them honest as she came home as the first English athlete in the Home Countries competition in a time of 26:32.

Keith’s motivation was kept throughout by chasing her male competitors with such a large gap back to the rest in her race, “It was good to have the boys ahead of me and it gave me someone to look at and be able to reel in which helped me to keep going over such a long race. It was wet and muddy but it suited me because we train on this in Inverness, so I was used to it.”

No one was catching the under 20 men’s winner Tom Keen (handicap -4.3) who triumphed in one of the most exciting finishes of the day. Keen was part of a solid group of seven athletes, all with a chance of winning, mostly comprising of England and England North athletes. It was a burn up between the top four with only nine seconds separating them in the final stages.

Keen’s quick finish resulted in a time of 23:38 ahead of Matthew Stonier (handicap -3.4) was sixth in Liverpool. This time he would finish second – his best of the season having pipped Josh Dickinson (handicap -3.2) by two seconds in 23:41, with the Yorkshire athlete settling for bronze in 23:43.

Recently selected Olympic marathon runner Callum Hawkins (handicap -6.2) celebrated with a PB 10k run over the weekend in The 10k Valencia Ibercaja with an awesome 28:02! Ben Connor (handicap -6.6) was also in PB form with 28:10 and Jenny Nesbitt (handicap -1.5) also took a lifetime best with 32:42

Other results from the weekend are on the following links: 


Road/multi terrain


Cross country