Welsh success at Great Edinburgh Cross Country

There was further Welsh success at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country International on Saturday.

Matthew Willis (Wrexham AAC) had made his Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team debut in the junior men's race at the Spar European Cross Country Championships in December.

After finishing as the top Briton on that occasion, Willis hit the half way point in a group of five leading athletes. With 400m to go he found himself in a three way battle, eventually missing out on victory and having to settle for third. 

Matthew Willis (centre) after the Welsh Cross Country Championships

The Wrexham AAC man again finished as the first Briton, just five seconds behind race winner, Simen Halle Haugen of the Europe Team.

Behind Willis in seventh place was fellow Welshman and European 1500m champion, Jake Heyward (Cardiff AAC).

Willis described the race saying; “I’m really proud with how I did. I started off on the back of the main pack but as people started to drop off, I made sure I was still hanging onto the group of Europeans and Americans''.

''When the bell went for the last lap it gave me a bit more to surge on. The two Europeans went back passed me at that point so I just had to hang on''.

“I would never have expected this after the trials in November. For the Europeans I just wanted to finish in the top half but to be the top Briton gave me a lot of confidence for this one.”

The junior women's race saw Wales' Cari Hughes (Swansea Harriers) continuing her steady improvement, finishing ahead of her British team mates and notably ahead of Khahisa Mhlanga (Chelmsford AC) who won the British Athletics Cardiff Cross Challenge ahead of Hughes in October.

The Swansea Harrier's performance was testament to her steady improvement, 12 months on from making her International debut in Edinburgh.

Tom Marshall (Cardiff AAC) led the British team off the mark in the mixed relay. Marshall had anchored Great Britain & Northern Ireland to European Championship glory in December and was again part of the winning team, this time anchored by Laura Muir.

Marshall (right)pictured following relay success.

Their victory came ahead of Belgium in second and Europe in third.

The four Welsh Athletes were part of a Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team that finished second overall to team Europe and ahead of the USA.

Finally there was further Welsh success with Kristian Jones retaining his Scottish Inter-District Cross Country title by nearly 40 seconds.

 

Welsh Athletics Ltd.
Cardiff International Sports Stadium
Leckwith Road
Cardiff. CF11 8AZ.

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