Weekend update

Lily Partridge

At the Cardiff Cross Challenge, Amelia Quirk and Emile Cairess took the top senior British honours in the opening leg of the British Athletics Cross Challenge series. In the Great South Run it was a household double as Ben Connor and Lily Partridge (pictured) took the top placings over 10 miles.

In Cardiff, the British stars were second and fourth respectively in their races behind Kenyan winners Edward Zakayo and Pamela Kosgei as the event also incorporated the World Athletics Cross Country Tour.

Behind them thousands of runners enjoyed mainly dry and often sunny conditions on the largely flat course at Llandaff Fields as it was run in conjunction with the Gwent League.

Amelia Quirk enjoyed a spirited run against the athlete who was fifth in the steeplechase at the World Athletics U20 Championships this year. She crossed the line in 20:34, 13 seconds behind the winner. Jess Gibbon (handicap -1.7) was third in 20:44, followed by Elle Twentyman (handicap -0.6), Jenny Nesbitt (handicap -1.6) and Megan Keith (handicap -0.5).

Quirk and Kosgei both headed the leading group of six after one lap, the pack also including Jenny Nesbitt, European under-20 champion Megan Keith, Elle Twentyman and defending British Cross Challenge champion, Jess Gibbon. After they moved clear of the rest, Quirk tried to break the Kenyan on the second lap, but it was to no avail as the steeplechaser gained a gap going over the log jump.

She said afterwards, “I could feel that Pamela and I were getting away, so I put my foot down a bit earlier. But she was just on my heels the whole way and I knew that she was still feeling good because she was still telling me that the two of us were away!”

Looking ahead to the European Cross Country Championships trials next month, Quirk, who was 12th in the under-23 race last year, said, “I’ll be a senior this year as I have a really unfortunate December birthday. It’ll be tougher but I was fourth in the senior race last year, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to make the team.”

Zakayo, who was fourth over 10,000m at the Commonwealth Games this year, clocked 26:60 to come home three seconds in front of second-placed Ugandans Joel Ayeko and Rogers Kibet in the 9.6km three-lap senior men’s race. Cairess (handicap -7.2) just outkicked Ethiopia’s Gizealaw Ayana for fourth, both given 26:39. Next was defending Cross Challenge champion Mahamad Mahamed (handicap -6.3) and brother Zac Mahamed (handicap -5.7) in 27:06 and 27:16 respectively.

The Leeds athlete, Cairess, was last seen as pacemaker for the frontrunners in the TCS London Marathon two weeks ago and he was clearly keen once again to be mixing it with the top Africans. He was among the lead group of six after one lap, although he lost ground on the top three on the second circuit.

He said on finishing: “I was pleased with the run. It was tough. It was a high pace at the beginning. It would have been nice to have hung on to them a bit longer, but I was really pleased with how I ran and how I felt.

“I wanted to keep up with them the whole way. I want to get to the point where I can challenge them… I think it gives you a lot of confidence even if it’s only two thirds of the race that you can be in the same league as them.”

At the Great South Run there were many best times with Lily Partridge (handicap -0.8) winning alongside her partner Ben Connor (handicap -6.7) with 54:29 and 47:19 respectively.

Natasha Cockram (handicap -1.7) took second place in the women’s race in 54:35 with Steph Twell (handicap -1.2) next in 54:51. Connor was challenged by Ellis Cross (handicap -5.7) with 47:32 and Birchfield man, Omar Ahmed (handicap -6.3) in 47:49.

UK runbritain rankings for endurance events and age groups 

Other results from the weekend are on the following links: 

Road/multi terrain