Dannatt and Mahamed crowned Counties Athletic Union cross country champions for 2020

Charlotte Dannett CAU winner 2020

Charlotte Dannatt (handicap -0.4) and Mahamed Mahamed (handicap -6.2) headlined the victors at the Inter Counties Championships in Loughborough, as Kate Avery (handicap -1.0) and Mahamed took the senior Cross Challenge titles.  

Charlotte Dannatt took arguably the biggest win of her cross country career as she kicked powerfully to win the senior women’s race in 43:01 and claim her maiden Inter Counties crown.

She was in the leading group throughout the race and with one lap remaining, began to string the field out and opened up a good lead from Jessica Gibbon (handicap -1.0), who came second in 43:08, with Phillipa Williams (handicap 0.1) third in 43:13, while Kate Avery (handicap -1.0), retained her series title courtesy of a fifth place finish.

Dannatt, who was supposed to be at the World University cross country championships and  admitted she did not know how to celebrate her success but beamed from ear to ear as the  new champion was heralded. She said: “I don’t really win many things so I didn’t know how to celebrate but I can’t believe that I’d done it.

Olivia Matthews (handicap 3.2) appears to to be performing well above her handicap score in an awesome 10th place! Likewise for Claire McGuigan (handicap 4.7) in 27th place.

Yorkshire retained the team title courtesy of Jennifer Walsh and Claire Duck leading the way in respective seventh and 11th positions.

In a another hard-fought senior men’s race, Mahamed Mahamed  and Adam Hickey (handicap-6.4) fought it out from the offset but it was the former who reclaimed his third Inter Counties title

He kicked with around two kilometres to do go and opened up a 15-second winning margin from 2019 Inter Counties champion Hickey, clocking 37:21 and 37:36 respectively. 

Tom Evans (handicap -4.3) took the final spot on the podium in 38:15 with yet another strong run as he rounded off his Cross Country season in style.

For Mahamed, it was a return to form and another Cross Challenge title for the Hampshire man and retaining the title is another special moment for him.

“It’s a great feeling to have the title back and I’m delighted that I managed to win again on this course. Adam is a really strong runner and he pushed me all the way once again.

“Compared to previously, I found the run quite hard but I had time to have a look around at the end and could take in the victory once again and celebrate.

“Every title that I win on the grass is special and this one is just as special as the first. To win three in a row is an incredible feat.”

Cameron Bell had a breakthrough performance in 17th place with a running handicap score of -3.8.

It was English National champion Calum Johnson  (handicap -6.0) who led the North East to the team title with a fifth place finish in 38:37, with Yorkshire runners-up in second, with Sussex third with 203, 221 and 256 points respectively.

The Under-20 men’s race went the way of Euro Cross team gold medallist Matthew Stonier (handicap -3.7) in 31:37, with Josh Cowperthwaite (handicap -4.9) and Henry McLuckie  (handicap -3.7) locking out the podium places in 31:44 and 31:51 respectively.

With the opening exchanges proving to be a cagey affair, Stonier made his move in the back field to pass long-time leader Cowperthwaite and win his first Inter Counties title.

Victory also saw Stonier take his first Cross Challenge title and expressed his delight at being crowned the new inter counties and Cross Challenge champion.

He said: “I made my move on the last hill before the final field, Josh had been leading for about a kilometre and I thought I’d have a go given I had a tailwind to play with. I felt good, early on it was a bit slow but I maintained my pace when others were dropping off and in the home straight I was semi-celebrating and semi-hurting.

“It’s my first win of any kind like this and I wanted to take it in as much as I could. I knew I was in good form and proved it today. I missed the English Nationals but that’s proved a blessing in disguise given I won today.”

The team title went the way of Cambridgeshire, who had three athletes in the top 10, led by the efforts of Oliver Newman (handicap -3.6) in seventh place, with Tom Keen (handicap -4.7) and   Nicolas Harhalakis (handicap -3.3) in ninth and tenth place respectively. Kent took second position, with defending champions Yorkshire having to settle for third.

Megan Keith (handicap 0.1) cruised to the Under-20 women’s Cross Challenge title and her maiden Inter Counties title in 23:34, winning by more than half a minute from Imogen Wood (handicap 3.2).

Kate O'Neill (handicap 1.7) took third spot, ten seconds further back but the day was all about Keith, who admitted her race execution wasn’t it’s best but was thrilled to end the Cross Country on such a high

“It [the race] didn’t unfold as I planned,” she assessed. “I wanted some more girls to come with me at the start but as it was, I went out at a fair pace, realised I was on my own and then it was a long grind to the end but it was nice it didn’t come down to a sprint finish.

“I’ve never run here before or at the Inter Counties Championships and if I could get myself in position I hoped I’d be able to get a good position but as it is, I surpassed all expectations.”

CAU XC Championships/UK Challenge  Results here

Other results from the weekend are on the following links: 


Road/multi terrain


Cross country