Charlotte Arter and Charlie Hulson among the athletes heading to the series opener in the Welsh capital
Several former Cardiff winners and a host of other domestic champions will look to start their cross country campaign with victory when the British Athletics Cross Challenge meet takes place in the Welsh capital on Saturday.
Charlie Hulson was the winner 12 months ago and will return hoping to overcome the challenge from 2017 winner, Sam Stabler.
Hulson warmed up for the event with a 64:28 clocking at the Cardiff University / Cardiff Half Marathon last week but is perhaps best known for winning the English National in 2015.
Stabler has also recorded several podium finishes at the English National and Inter-Counties Championships and is a previous winner at the Armagh International Road Races.
Marc Scott is likely to feature following a season that saw him as the runner-up in the British Championships over 5000m, earning himself a place at the IAAF World Championships in Doha.
Scott proved his cross country pedigree last season with a ninth place Euro Cross finish in Tilburg.
Defending British Cross Challenge series champion Mahamed Mahamed was second in Cardiff in both 2017 and 2018 and the Southampton AC athlete will return a third time looking for a race win. Tom Evans of Lewes AC was a top 10 finisher from the Inter-Counties who will also be in action.
Ieuan Thomas, Mike Ward and Ciaran Lewis of Cardiff AC and Jon Hopkins of Swansea Harriers add further local flavour and are all likely to feature.
The senior women’s race was perhaps the highlight at the 2018 edition and it promises to be fiercely competitive once again.
Charlotte Arter took the British 10,000m title in 2018 and more aptly won the Euro Cross trial race in Liverpool. She will be joined by training partner and current UK Inter-Counties champion, Jenny Nesbitt.
The pair warmed up for the Cross Challenge opener by leading their Cardiff AC team to the outright race win at the ERRA National Autumn Road Relays last weekend. Clara Evans and Lucy Marland are the remaining members of the team and will also be in action on Saturday.
Phoebe Law is another UK Inter-Counties champion (2018) that will be racing. Iona Lake of City of Norwich AC is a notable athlete who is likely to feature along with Amy Griffiths of Aldershot, Farnham & District who was seventh in Tilburg last December.
Matt Willis will lead Welsh hopes in the junior men’s race as he faces Rory Leonard of Morpeth Harriers who was the runner up last time behind local star, Jake Heyward. Willis is the current Inter-Counties champion and led the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team home at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus earlier this year. Leonard is the English National champion and was the second British scorer in Denmark back in March.
Zakariya Mahamed is the current series champion and will again be in action in the junior men’s age-group.
Shannon Flockart was the series winner at U17 level last year and will race at U20 level in Cardiff. Amelia Samuels was the Midland Counties champion last season and a runner up at Loughborough. The Cross International winner from Elgoibar is likely to be hard to stop on Saturday.
Louis Small won the U15 title in Loughborough back in March and is another athlete of note that will move up an age group for the season opener in Cardiff.
Scarlett Livingstone was the series champion at under-13 girl category last year and will race at under-15 level in Cardiff.
11:30 Under 11 Girls 1 x Small Lap 1250m
11:40 Under 11 Boys 1 x Small Lap 1250m
11:50 Under 13 Girls 1 x Medium Lap 2780m
12:05 Under 13 Boys 1 x Medium Lap 2780m
12:20 Under 17 Men 2 x Medium Lap 5560m
12:45 Under 17/20 Women 1 x Small Lap, 1 x Big Lap 4450m
13:10 Under 15 Girls 1 x Big Lap 3200m
13:25 Under 15 Boys 1 x Big Lap 3200m
13:40 Senior Women & Masters 2 x Big Lap 6400m
14:25 Under 20 Men 2 x Big Lap 6400m
14:50 Senior Men & Masters 3 x Big Lap 9600m
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