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A host of Britain’s top senior cross-country runners were present in the men’s race at the Cross Challenge opener

THE major focus on the domestic cross-country scene shifted from the Mansfield English National Relays to the start of the British Athletics Cross Challenge series in Milton Keynes last Saturday.

Staged two weeks out from the European Cross Country Championships trials in Liverpool, the race on a rain-saturated course around Teardrop Lakes allowed some of Britain’s biggest hitters on the mud to size one another up ahead of the crunch race at Sefton Park.

Under-17 runner Hannah Hobbs wore black and AFD colour ribbons to run

On the day it was Andy Vernon, three months after making his Olympic debut, who looked best placed to make sure he can guarantee himself selection as the 30-year-old put together a smart race to take the first series win of the season, while Pippa Woolven made good on her promising start to the winter with her first Cross Challenge win.

The day also saw athletes, officials and spectators pay their respects to Lucy Pygott and Stacey Burrows, the Aldershot, Farnham & District runners who tragically lost their lives earlier in the week in a car accident (see News, p6-7), with a minute’s silence.

Jonny Taylor (4406) and Ben Connor (4377) stretch their legs at the front of the senior field


MORE than two years away from cross-country running seems to have had little impact on Andy Vernon as the three-time Cross Challenge champion made a winning return to the series with an impressive run, setting himself up well for the European trials in Liverpool.

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About AW – Athletics Weekly Magazine

SPOTLIGHT 14 LONDON 2017 AW gets a sneak peek at preparations for next year’s World Championships – 13-page update 28 FAITH KIPYEGON Steven Mills profiles the Olympic 1500m champion ACTION 40 CROSS CHALLENGE Andy Vernon and Pippa Woolven take senior victories at Milton Keynes in series opener 46 MASTERS INTERNATIONAL Claire Martin inspires England veterans to victory in the five-way home nations tie PERFORMANCE 34 Sports science news 36 ‘Keep it simple’, urges Ross Murray 38 Products – the best sports gloves TALKING POINT 30 Mike Dagg-Jenden lays out the case for the best GB athletes of all time NEWS 6 Tributes pour in for AFD girls 8 Chris Thompson has new focus RESULTS 50 Results round-up REGULARS 32 Young Athlete 61 Quiz – test your knowledge 62 Dip Finish