2018/19 cross country season brings success for Welsh athletes
21/01/2019 00:00, I Mewn Blog /
The winter of 2018/19 has already brought many performance highlights from Welsh athletes on the cross-country terrain.
The season kicked off in October with the Cardiff Cross Challenge, where Charlie Hulson and Jake Heyward both notched impressive victories on home turf, Hulson storming to victory in the Senior Men’s race with Heyward dominating the Junior Men’s race at Llandaf Fields. Cari Hughes finished a close second in the Junior Women’s race in her season opener, with Oli Barbaresi and Elliot Lawrence also producing fine performances to finish third and fourth Junior Men respectively.
Two weeks on, Wrexham’s Matt Willis showed he was back in shape as he won the Junior Men’s race at the Milton Keynes Cross Challenge, before Welsh teams headed to Burgos, Spain for the high calibre Cross de Atapuerca races in early November to test their fitness ahead of the European Cross Country Trials in Liverpool. It was Cardiff AAC duo Jake Heyward and Charlotte Arter who stole the show, as Heyward secured his second win of the season in the Junior Men’s race, whilst Arter finished an excellent 9th against a high-class field in her return from injury over the summer.
Next came the biggest race of the domestic cross country season as Wales took the European Cross Country Trials in Liverpool by storm. Junior athletes Cari Hughes and Heyward produced excellent victories to secure their places on Great Britain’s team for the European Cross Country Championships, with Matt Willis also joining Heyward on the team with his 4th placed finish in the Junior Men’s race. It was then the turn of the senior athletes, with five athletes adding their name to the Great Britain squad for Tilburg 2018, as Charlotte Arter took victory with Melissa Courtney finishing fourth in the Senior Women’s race, and Charlie Hulson, Dewi Griffiths and Kris Jones all finishing in the top seven in the Senior Men’s race.
In Tilburg, Netherlands a fortnight later, Cari Hughes finished 12th to help secure a team Gold for the GB Junior Women’s Team, whilst Jake Heyward finished 4th and Matt Willis 14th to help GB’s Junior Men to a team Silver medal. In the Senior Women’s race, Arter and Courtney finished 7th and 8th to lead the British team to team Silver, whilst Kris Jones finished 12th with Dewi Griffiths 13th and Charlie Hulson 17th as the British men finished second as a team.
The turn of the new year saw three Welsh athletes represent British Athletics’ at the Great Stirling Cross Country – Charlotte Arter produced another standout performance as she finished second in the Senior Women’s race against some of Europe and the USA’s top runners, whilst in the Senior Men’s race, Kris Jones and Charlie Hulson finished 12th and 13th respectively in a high calibre field.
The 2018/19 cross country season has brought further success for a number of Welsh Junior and Senior athletes, with many establishing themselves amongst Europe’s best, and the future certainly looks bright for endurance running in Wales.