Martin Duff previews this weekend’s South of England Cross-Country Championships at Parliament Hill Fields
The re-scheduled championships, postponed from January 26 because the course was considered dangerous, take place at Parliament Hill Fields on Saturday, just a week before the National.
This is expected to take away some of the top-end runners but Steph Twell, who had planned to do the Southern at the end of last month, is a likely starter. She is also a definite for the National and may also lead her team, Aldershot, Farnham & District, to a defence of the area title.
Frank Tickner has been tipped to win the men’s race by brother and title-holder Ben. The third former winner to toe the line will be two-time men’s champion Neilson Hall, whose team, Bedford & County, the trophy holder’s for six of the last eight years, will be challenged again by Highgate Harriers, who narrowly headed them last year.
Emelia Gorecka is likely to defend the women’s under-20 title and should again lead AFD to victory. In the under-17 race, the Clay sisters, Alex and Bobby, run for Invicta East Kent, but Grace Baker, third last year, will hope to lead AFD to another team gold.
Surrey senior silver medallist Ian Bailey could start as favourite in the under-20s and team-mate Josh Grace could also be there or thereabouts. Robbie Farnham- Rose will challenge for Tonbridge. Reading’s Jonny Davies moves up this year after winning the under-17 event in 2012.
» Find full preview plus timetable in the Feb 14 edition of AW, which is available here