Liverpool Cross Challenge – an Edinburgh AC Perspective

In February 2008 the Edinburgh AC’s Womens Team (thanks to Freya, Catriona, Gillian & Sue) were triumphant at the Scottish National Cross Country Championships in Falkirk. This gave us the honour of sending a team down to Liverpool to take part in the trials for the European Clubs Championships in Istanbul in February 2009. So, as a ‘slightly’ differently composed team off we headed on the train on Friday to mount our challenge.

The day dawned cold & murky, but still & dry which made for good running conditions. The race was part of the UK Cross Challenge Series (& also the Mid Lancs championships), so there were runners in Sefton Park from all over the UK which made for an exciting and busy atmosphere. Race organisation was very straightforward – you went to the caravan to collect your number, you lined up at the start on the whistle, stepped forward to the line and BANG, you were off into the fog wondering if you’d find your way back again!

Although mainly flat, with just a few undulations (plus plenty of twists & turns) to break up your rhythm, by the time of the Womens race there were a fair number of heavy, muddy patches to make things interesting. Sadly, due to the fog we didn’t get much of a view of Sefton Park (which I think is actually very attractive), but this made it easier to concentrate on where you were going & your next target for overtaking. Our team all had good races against high quality opposition. Steph Twell won convincingly in 27:09 – amazing as she’s still actually an U23! Our first runner was newly acquired Niamh Devlin in 29:50 (32nd), with Jenny MacLean next in 30:40 (43rd), closely followed by a fast finishing Sarah Hood in 30:42 (45th) and then Kim Threadgall in 33:17 (75th), giving us a team total of 195 points.

Sadly, Winchester (our opposition in the selection competition) put out a very strong team (their top runner, Louise Damon was 3rd) to beat us with 165 points – so no trip to Istanbul this time! However, all our runners had a good race and had good results from a large field of 144 finishers. It was great to be mixing with runners from the whole UK and it helped having no expectations of the likely performance of the runners around us – we just went out there & got on with it. All in all a great trip, though why there’s no-where to get cleaned up at these events with runners coming from half a day or mores trip away is scandalous in my opinion – it was 10 at night by the time I actually got a shower! Thanks again to the club for sending us down.

Junior Men      
Chris O’Hare 6th 20:51  
Senior Women      
Niamh Devlin 32nd 29:50  
Jennifer McClean 43rd 30:42  
Sarah Hood 45th 30:42  
Kim Threadgall 75th 33.17  
U/17- U/20 Women      
Emily Dudgeon 51st 16:29 (19th under 17)
U/15 Girls      
Rachael Dunn 23rd 11:28  

Full results at:

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