Preview: Gemma Steel set for Cardiff after injury problem

Distance runner back in action at Sunday’s McCain Cardiff Cross Challenge where top fields are expected

Gemma Steel (Mark Shearman)

Gemma Steel is set to make her return from injury at the McCain Cardiff Cross Challenge this Sunday.

The 2011 European cross-country silver medallist is among a high-standard entry for the fourth leg of the McCain Cross Challenge series.

She missed the first half of the cross-country season as she had developed a bout of tendinopathy.

Steel, who was second in Cardff last year, will face tough opposition in the form of Hannah Walker, who was second in the Euro Cross trial in Liverpool in November. Louise Damen, who was 11th at the Euro Cross and runner-up in Antrim last weekend, will be
another contender, along with Hatti Archer.

Beth Potter, who won the junior race in Cardiff 12 months ago, is back having finished 17th in the Euro Cross under-23 race and will be joined by another Budapest representative, Emily Wicks.

Andy Vernon, who has been third in both Edinburgh and Antrim the past two weekends, continues with his busy racing schedule over the fast, flat course at Blackweir Fields in South Wales. His main competition may come from the man who was 13 seconds and one place adrift in Antrim, Frank Tickner, the winner in 2011 and 2012.

Adam Hickey was a decent eighth at the European trials in November and will also look to better his fourth-place finish from last year.

Dewi Griffiths and Robbie Simpson will lead the Welsh and Scottish charges respectively.

Jonathon Davies , Benedict Westhenry, Annabel Mason, Alex Clay, Bobby Clay and Becky Straw should all be prominent in the junior races.

This year the event will also host an inter-area match, the Celtic International and Schools Invitation Races. The event begins at 11am and will be covered in depth in next week’s magazine.

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