Cross-country round-up

Mark McKinstry

The weekend saw many impressive performances at the British Masters International in Swansea. Mark McKinstry (V35), from Northern Ireland, ran the fastest time over  the 8km course as he won  the M35 - 49 race. Teresa Doherty (V40) was the fastest over the 6km women's and M65 course. Further afield, some of the UK's younger talent performed well on the collegiate circuit in the USA.

British Masters International, Singleton Park, Swansea

The 31st British and Irish Masters Cross Country International took place at Swansea’s Singleton Park.on Saturday.

The first race of the day was the women’s race which also incorporated the men’s M65-plus races. Ireland’s W40 Teresa Doherty, ran 21:19 to win the 6km race on her debut in the event but the 16:30 5km runner (this year) was chased hard by England's W40 Kirsty Longley (handicap 0.4) who finished just five seconds down in 21:24.

Fiona Matheson (handicap 3.1), of Scotland, achieved her third successive victory in the W55 category in 23:15.

Ireland’s Pauline Moran won the W60 race in 25:11 and England’s Yuko Gordon won the W65 race in 27:34. 

Angela Copson (handicap 9.8) was a class apart in the W70 race as she ran 27:34 and won her 11th successive title in all age groups.

In the men’s M65 race, Wales’ Alan Davies (handicap 3.2) ran 22:35. Strong running in the second half saw him pull away from five-time winner and all-time Masters great Nigel Gates (handicap 3.5) who, after focusing on triathlons, was seeking his first win since his M50 success in 2004.

England’s Ben Grant (handicap 6.1), won the M70 race in 24:47 while Scotland’s Bobby Young (handicap 10.7), won the M75 race in 27:57.

Tim Hartley (handicap 6.1), who won the M40 race on this course 10 years ago, was a class apart as he eased to his sixth success in 26:38 for a 29-second victory.

There was a good battle for second with Northern Ireland’s Steve Cairns (handicap -0.4)  proving too strong for England’s multi medallist Andrew Leach (handicap -1.3).

Ireland’s Mick Byrne put in a strong performance for the M55 win in 28:25.

The M60 race saw an impressive win for Scotland’s world masters 10km champion, Alastair Walker (handicap 1.2),  who went one place better than in Derry last year.

The final international race was the M35-49 race. Mark McKinstry (handicap -3.2) was first across the line in 25:10 as he made his debut in major masters competition at the age of 35. Mark, who has been runner-up in the Northern Ireland senior championships for the last four years, surprised his competitors with a very fast first lap and then held them at bay over the last three laps.

England’s M40 Alastair Watson (handicap -4.1) finished third overall in 25:52 to take a clear win in the M40 category. The M45 title went to James Skinner (handicap -2.2), in 26:25.

NCAA DI Championships, Wisconsin, USA

Ryan Forsyth (handicap -4.0), from Northern Ireland, impressed at the 2018 NCAA Cross Country Championships held on a snowy course in Wisconsin. In a closely fought race, where the top 11 were separated by a mere 13 seconds, Forsyth fought hard all the way for 11th. Stuart McCallum (handicap -3.3), from Winchester, finished in 48th place just 10 seconds outside All-American status (top 40).

There was further success in the women’s race as Hannah Nuttall (handicap 4.0) finished 71st. Julia Paternain (handicap 1.2), who will fly back to the UK to compete in this weekend’s European Cross Country trials in Liverpool, came home in 125th for Penn State.


Also in the USA, Omagh's talented twins Eilish Flanagan (handicap 3.7) and Roisin Flanagan (handicap 1.2) were in awesome form as they led their university (Adams State) to the Division 2 regional title in Denver. Eilish, who has run 10:00 for the 3000m steeplechase,  made the podium with an individual 3rd place. Roisin, who has run 4:22 for 1500m, took 4th place. 

Wirral athlete, Emily Kearney (handicap 1.3) was in podim form with a 2nd place at the NAIA cross country championships  in Cedar Rapids.