McCain UK Cross Challenge goes ahead in South Wales despite widespread snow blizzards and travel problems across Britain
On a weekend where snow decimated the athletics calendar in the UK, one of the few events to take place was the McCain Cardiff Cross Challenge and it saw victories from Louise Damen and Andy Vernon.
The Cardiff area was badly hit by snow blizzards, but organisers worked hard to make sure the biggest domestic event of the weekend took place on Sunday. Meanwhile, numerous road races, English county schools cross country championships and even indoor events such as the South of England Championships at Lee Valley were cancelled or postponed due to bad weather that not only affected the venues but made travelling difficult.
Damen dominated the women’s race to beat Emily Wicks by 66 seconds over the 7km course in Cardiff with Hatti Archer third.
“It was the plan to run hard from the start and test myself, I thought I would just go hard and see how I feel,” said Damen. “I had a good run last weekend which has given be a bit of confidence so I’m looking forward to the next one now.”
Vernon took the men’s race by seven seconds from Frank Tickner, who had lost a shoe during the race. The course cut up badly in places, leading to boggy and testing conditions. “At times I didn’t even feel like I was wearing spikes because there were some sharp corners and it was hard to get round without falling over,” said Vernon, who will now target the indoor season.
The under-20 men’s race was won by Jonny Davies, while Bobby Clay took the junior women’s race from Annabel Mason and Becky Straw.
Siofra O’Flaherty and Jac Hopkins emerged winners in the under-17 category; Harriett Knowles-Jones and Josh Kerr in the under-15 races; and Amelia Lancaster and Matthew Rawlings in the under-13 events.
» See Athletics Weekly on Thursday January 24 for five pages of coverage from the McCain Cardiff Cross Challenge, plus a news round-up of the damage the weather has caused to the events calendar in the UK.