Mahamed Mahamed and Jess Gibbon take English National titles

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Southern athletes win lion’s share of gold medals at a muddy but sunny Parliament Hill on Saturday

While around 50 trees may have perished around Parliament Hill during the storms of the previous week, runners at the Saucony English National Cross Country Championships were bathed in sunshine although conditions underfoot were still muddy.

Mahamed Mahamed won a quality men’s race as he was followed home by Emile Cairess and Olympic triathlon medallist Alex Yee.

Both Cairess and Yee started less aggressively than Mahamed, who was among the leaders up the first steep hill with the famous London backdrop. First though was a Kent AC athlete and it wasn’t Yee or former National medallist John Gilbert but Dame Dibaba who has led the race up the hill before.  Whether it was sensible is debatable as he ended up 238th nearly eight minutes down on the winner.

As they climbed the second hill a few minutes later Mahamed was a few seconds up on his brother Zak, Northern bronze medallist Daniel Haworth and Ilfords’s Somalian Southern sixth-placer Ahmed Abdulle and this quartet had a few seconds on 2020 National runner-up Joe Steward and Bristol’s Jack Millar. Yee was just behind but Cairess was back in around 30th, already around 15 seconds back on the leader.

Mahamed eased back a little and was content to let his brother go ahead again at the end of the shorter first lap and the only two challenging were Haworth and Abdulle.

Shortly after, Mohamed Mohamed saying he felt really comfortable, pushed on again and at the top of the second hill (12 minutes into the race) he had surged nine seconds clear of his brother and Haworth who were three seconds up on Abdulle.

Eight seconds back Cairess had powered through to fifth though was still looking ill at ease on the mud and and he was three seconds up on Steward, who was incredibly running his first race for two years and Northern runner-up Nigel Martin. A few seconds back and still hoping of medals were 2015 National runner-up on this course Andrew Heyes, Olympic steeplechaser Zak Seddon, BUCS eighth-placer Alex Ediker and  Midlands bronze medallist Millar.

Yee, who had faded totally out of contention after an asthma attack had left him back in about 80th was now rallying in 16th place and moving through fast.

As they approached the end of the first big lap after 23 minutes the eventual winner was now 20 seconds clear but it was now Cairess who had around 10 seconds on the second Mahamed who had a similar margin on Haworth who had around five seconds on now a resurgent Yee who was just ahead of Martin and Steward. a few seconds up on Millar.

Five minutes later on the second hill Mahamed had prised a few more seconds from Cairess who had done likewise on the pack behind.

Haworth though had closed slightly on Zak Mahamed and now clear in fifth but only by a few seconds was Yee and Martin and Millar were still in with a medal shout but there was a big gap behind.

On the last lap, the leader held his margin well and was a delighted winner in a time of 40:52 for a course that was maybe 200 metres over the advertised 12km.

He had only finished a poor 22nd at Liverpool but a 28:14 10km in January and a fourth place in Hannut in February confirmed he was back at his best which was more than proved with this overwhelming victory.

Just 15 seconds back was joint British 10km record-holder which was the same as the gap after a kilometre.

Cairess rued that Mahamed had also beaten him into second by winning the 2019 senior National at Leeds and the 2018 junior race on this course.

Yee, who wanted to test himself at either this or the Inter Counties, powered past the younger Mohamed with around a mile to go and his bronze medal run in 42:04 matched his previous National best result when he was third in the 2017 under-15 race.

BUCS runner-up and 2020 junior champion Zak Mahamed, Millar, Martin, Haworth, Steward, Heyes and Southern bronze medallist Alex Teuten completed the top 10.

With the Mahamed brothers plus Teuten, Southampton in 10th place were easy team winners with 209 points – with six in 80 ahead of Cairess’s Leeds (6 in 65) 265 and Cambridge and Coleridge 270 (6 in 118).

National men’s medallists (l to r) Alex Yee, Mahamed Mahamed, Emile Cairess (Gary Mitchell)

Senior men top 10

1 Mahamed Mahamed Soton 40:52

2 Emile Cairess Leeds 41:07

3 Alex Yee Kent 42:04

4 Zak Mahamed Soton 42:21

5 Jack Millar B&W 42:23

6 Nigel Martin Sale 42:24

7 Daniel Haworth Matlok 42:26

8 Joe Steward Salford 42:44

9 Andrew Heyes Hallam 42:48

10 Alex Teuten Soton 42:52

South of England champion Jessica Gibbon (29:00) won the women’s race and was chased home by North of England champion Eleanor Bolton in 29:08 and Bronwen Owen (29:23) who led Leeds (four in 22) to a narrow team win.

Gibbon had a previous best of fourth and comes after a season in which she had finished 11th in the Europeans and finished fifth at the Cross Challenge in Liverpool.

She was delighted to win after putting the pressure on during the longer second lap.

Bolton advanced from sixth in 2020.

Owen was the only medallist from 2020 returning as she matched her bronze from Nottingham.

Fourth was Olympic triathlon silver medallist Georgia Taylor-Brown who was third in the Northerns and had won the junior title in 2014.

Fifth was former under-17 winner Niamh Brown who led Aldershot to silver team medals with four in 31.

The top 10 was completed by BUCS champion Kirsty Walker, Northern runner-up Sophie Tarver, Southern bronze medallist Beth Hawling, Jennifer Walsh and Philippa Stone

London Heathside took bronze with four in 57 with Tonbridge fourth despite missing Nicola Taylor.

Jess Gibbon strikes for victory (Gary Mitchell)

Top 10 senior women:

1 Jessica Gibbon Read 29:00

2 Eleanor Bolton Ribble V 29:08

3 Bronwen Owen Leeds 29:23

4 Georgia Taylor-Brown 29:43

5 Niamh Brown AFD 30:06

6 Kirsty Walker Read 30:08

7 Sophie Tarver Wirral 30:09

8 Beth Hawling London H 30:09

9 Jennifer Walsh Leeds 30:09

10 Philippa Stone Middles 30:23

The junior women’s race saw a surprisingly easy victory for Alex Millard who backed up the form she showed in the BUCS race where she was fourth. She had also run well in the Liverpool senior race finishing 13th. Her previous best National was 16th at Parliament Hill in 2018 in the under-17 race.

The Invicta East Kent athlete finished 37 seconds clear of Hercules Wimbledon’s Ellen Weir, who went one better than the Southerns with the sort of form that saw her finish 14th in the European under-20s.

Megan Harris went one better than in the Southerns with third ahead of Aldershot’s European cross-country representative Alice Garner and Tonbridge’s Charlotte Alexander as Southern athletes dominated.

It was the same in the team race as they took all three medals. Garner’s Aldershot, with three in 48, won by 32 points from Alexander’s Tonbridge (3 in 50). Weir’s Hercules took third with three in 72 which beat Salford’s three in 74 on countback.

Junior women top 10:

1 Alex Millard Inv EK 24:23

2 Ellen Weir HW 25:00

3 Megan Harris Bas 25:06

4 Alice Garner AFD 25:14

5 Charlotte Alexander Ton 25:21

6 Rosie Hamilton-Jones West 25:38

7 Indira Patel SWB 25:41

8 Dominique Corradi Sutton

9 Maddie Jordan-Lee Stow 25:59

10 Megan Gadsby Norwich 26:12

Will Barnicoat won a high quality junior men’s race in 32:51, 22 seconds clear of David Stone, who had his best race of the winter to finish second.

Matt Stonier, many experts favourite after his third in the BUCS and 12th in the Liverpool senior race, took the bronze.

Barnicoat had been runner-up to the older Stonier in the BUCS but had also finished second at Liverpool and ninth in the Europeans. He won the under-17 race two years ago and also won two previous silver medals.

He also won a team title as Aldershot (4 in 49) saw off Chesterfield (4 in 35) with Tonbridge third.

Stone won the under-17 race at Parliament Hill four years ago had been 20th in the BUCS race and fourth in the Birmingham League but this was his first junior cross-country race of the year.

Another former National winner Sam Charlton was only three seconds away from a medal in fourth. Charlton was 25th in the Europeans and 14th in the BUCS but ran a sub-14 5km in February.

Junior men top 10

1 Will Barnicoat AFD 32:51

2 David Stone SB 33:10

3 Matthew Stonier Inv EK 33:10

4 Sam Charlton Wallsend 33:13

5 Oliver Smart Tavistock 33:29

6 Joshua Dickinson Leeds 33:41

7 Charlie Brisley N&EB 34:00

8 Matthew Taylor Tonbridge 34:06

9 Ned Potter Chich 34:08

10 Louis Small Ashf 34:10

In the opening race of the day, Northern champion Jess Bailey of Leven Valley dominated the under-17 women’s race winning in 19:20 from Southern champion Hattie Reynolds’ 19:31 with 2020 National under-15 champion Kiya Dee third in 19:34.

She had finished a brilliant second at the start of the year in the Liverpool Cross Challenge at Liverpool and this win improved on her previous National best of third in 2020.

Southern runner-up Yasmin Kashdan was fourth.

Vale Royal with four in 31 won from Windsor (4 in 35) and Blackheath (4 in 61) third.

Jess Bailey (205) poised to strike (Gary Mitchell)

U17 women top 6

1 Jess Bailey Leven V 19:20

2 Hattie Reynolds N Norfolk 9:31

3 Kiya Dee Chelt 19:34

4 Yashmin Kashdan Craw 19:42

5 Megan Hornung B&W 19:47

6 Maddie Hughes Chilt 19:56

Exeter’s Sam Mills dominated the under-17 men’s race with a 100-metre-plus win in 21:14.

Isaac Morris (21:33) was a clear second while Northern champion Jacob Deacon (21:39) of Chorley gained a relatively rare Northern medal in third ahead of South of England champion Edward Bird.

Mills had missed the area championship to focus on this race and went under the radar of many after a 10th place in Liverpool despite a top quality win in the Northern Ireland international. His previous National best was eighth in the 2018 under-13s.

He packs quite a lot of speed which he showed on the fast second half of the course as he won the UK School Games over 1500m last summer.

Morris also avoided our preview as he missed the area championships and was only ninth in Liverpool but the Cambridgeshire champion showed far better form her too.

Again it was a Southern team podium. South London (4 in 54) won by 10 points from Windsor (4 in 64) and Tonbridge (4 in 67) as they beat Wirral by a single point.

Sam Mills (1739) took U17 gold (Gary Mitchell)

Under-17 men top 6:

1 Sam Mills Exeter 21:14

2 Isaac Morris C&C 21:33

3 Jacob Deacon Chorley 21:39

4 Edward Bird Poole 21:55

5 Seamus Robinson West 21:57

6 Liam McCay Liverpool 22:04

Diminutive Isabella Waugh towered over her opposition athletically with a 100-metre win in the under-15 girls race in 16:11. She had only been the Northern and Yorkshire bronze medallist and been sixth in the 2020 National under-13 race so it was a significant increase in form from her as she seemed to revel in the mud.

It was a good day for the North as City of York’s Lottie Langan won a tight battle for second in 16:32 from Rotherham’s second athlete Lillia Harris in 16:34.

The next two home were Midlanders with recent mile record-setter Shaikira King finishing fourth ahead of her Wreake and Soar Valley clubmate and Midlands champion and National under-13 winner two years ago Zoe Gilbody. In both of those races Gilbody beat King into second.

Southern runner-up Ella Davey led the Southern challenge in sixth. Southern champion Katie Pye was eighth.

With both Rotherham and Wreake and Soar Valley having two of the top five it was close in the team race with both teams scoring 61 points but the Midlands club four in 28 giving them victory on countback from Rotherham’s 4 in 31. Windsor were a distant third with four in 119.

Under-15 girls top 6

1 Isabella Waugh Roth 16:11

2 Lottie Langan York 16:32

3 Lilia Harris Roth 16:34

4 Shaikira King W&SV 16:38

5 Zoe Gilbody W&SV 16:50

6 Ella Davey WSEH 17:05

Robert Price has had a great winter and he made it even better with his biggest victory yet in the under-15 boys race. He had previously won at Liverpool, Milton Keynes and Cardiff and improved on his previous National best of 17th in the under-13 race in 2020.

Looking powerful and relaxed on the many hills, he was delighted to win the race by over 100 metres in 14:15 with 2020 under-13 champion Alden Collier following home in 14:37. Only fourth in the Southerns, it was easily his best race of the winter but he seemed bitterly disappointed after he race. Harry Maxwell took the bronze in 14:43 chased by Northern runner-up Oscar Schofield.

Collier’s Chiltern Harriers were clear winners by 68 points with four in 74 to Tonbridge’s 4 in 108 and Cambridge and Coleridge four in 109 as Southern clubs took the first six places.

Under-15 boys top 6:

1 Robert Price Vale R 14:15

2 Alden Collier Chilt 14:37

3 Harry Maxwell Team Bath 14:43

4 Oscar Schofield Sale H Man 14:49

5 Alex Lennon Sutton 14:51

6 Gianleo Stubbs SB 14:52

The closest race of the day was the under-13 girls 3km over one medium lap with the unpredictability of this age group apparent with the third, fourth and fifth from Beckenham taking the medals rather than the top two there.

Katie Webb, only fourth in the South of England event, won in 12:38, a single second ahead of Southern bronze medallist Katherine Haslip with Southern fifth-placer Kitty Scott of Aldershot in third in 12:47.

Northern champion Grace Igoe was tenth and Southern champion Jemima Davey 11th with the Midlands champion Olivia McGhee not entered.

Webb’s day got even better when the team race was announced as Marshall Milton Keynes (with four in 19 – with her twin sister Lauren in 18th) won by 55 points from Tonbridge’s four in 55 and Chelmsford’s tighter packing of four in 34 as again their was a Southern dominated podium with Liverpool the best of the rest in fourth.

Under-13 girls top 6

1 Katie Webb Mil K 12:38

2 Katherine Hislip Bton P 12:39

3 Kitty Scott AFD 12:47

4 Holly Cross Liv 12:49

5 Kara Gorman Chilt 12:54

6 Olivia Steer Exe 12:56

One of the most dominant wins of the day was predictably by under-13 South of England champion Jake Meyburgh who can boast a sub-16 parkrun this winter. With also the fastest leg in the National Relays and unbeaten in this age-group all winter, he ran away from the opposition on the second half winning in 11:06 from Hallamshire’s Yorkshire champion Thomas Thake (11:27) and Wolverhampton’s Midlands champion Fred Jones (11:31) as the areas shared the individual medals.

Northern champion Evan Grime was fifth. The North also had one of the best team results in the younger age groups as Trafford (4 in 55) won clearly from Brighton and Hove (4 in 101) and North Somerset (4 in 67)

Under-13 boys top 6

1 Jake Meyburgh WSEH 11:06

2 Thomas Thake Hallam 11:27

3 Fred Jones W&B 11:31

4 Noah Homer RSC 11:59

5 Evan Grime Salf 12:03

6 Joshua Adkin Charn 12:06

Individual results will be given in details once Power of 10 have processed.

TEAM RESULTS:

Men TEAM: 1 Soton 208; 2 Leeds 265; 3 Cambridge & C 270; 3 Bristol & W 383; 5 Tonbridge 465; 6 Highgate 515; 7 Sale 555; 8 Hercules W 564; 9 Bedford & C 612; 10 AFD 629; 11 Notts 675; 12 Hallamshire 760; 13 Kent 765; 14 TVH 799; 15 Morpeth 841; 16 Thames H&H 1086; 17 London H 1118; 18 Serpentine 1392; 19 Belgrave 1409; 20 WG&EL 1554; 21 VP&TH 1557; 22 Salford 1648; 23 Herne H 1723; 24 Norwich 1747; 25 Dulwich R 1958; 26 Tipton 2087; 27 S London 2240; 28 Coventry G 2257; 29 Derby 2298; 30 Ealing S&M 2248; 31 Swindon 2456; 32 WSEH 2525; 33 Rotherham 2589; 34 Rugby & N’ton 2596; 35 Blackheath & B 2620; 36 Horwich 2986; 37 T Bath 3082; 38 Basingstoke & MH 3102; 39 Havering 3195; 40 Southend 3249; 41 Croydon 3263; 42 Winchester 3327; 43 Sunderland 3421; 44 Medway & M 3434; 45 Camb H 3443; 46 Tring 3461; 47 Chich R 3499; 48 Ware 3552; 49 Barnet 3557; 50 Clapham 3683

132 teams finished

National competitors set off at Parliament Hill (Gary Mitchell)

U20: 1 AFD 100; 2 Chesterfield 112; 3 Tonbridge 145; 4 WSEH 193; 5 Ashford 207; 6 Shaftesbury 217; 7 Cambridge & C 262; 8 N Somerset 273; 9 Charnwood 290; 10 Norwich 301; 11 Crawley 361; 12 Hallamshire 385; 13 Taunton 386; 14 Bed C 413; 15 Highgate 574

U17 TEAM: 1 S London 127; 2 WSEH 133; 3 Tonbridge 192; 4 Wirral 193; 5 Poole 202; 6 Cambridge & C 208; 7 Shaftesbury 358; 8 Liverpool 376; 9 Trafford 392; 10 Norwich 464; 11 Lewes 466; 12 Sale 482; 13 Bracknell 485; 14 Blackheath & B 542; 15 Reading 550; 16 Chiltern 577; 17 Rotherham 702; 18 Winchester 706; 19 Lon H 712; 20 Taunton 797; 2 Judd Sch 801; 22 Havering 909; 23 Herne H 968

U15 TEAM: 1 Chiltern 157; 2 Tonbridge 225; 3 Cambridge & C 243; 4 Winchester 304; 5 Holl Sp 310; 6 Medway & M 322; 7 Wirral 323; 8 Brighton & H 333; 10 AFD 372; 11 Taunton 392; 12 Reigate P 404; 13 Trafford 420; 14 Blackheath & B 428; 15 WSEH 450; 16 Highgate 461; 17 Sutton & D 505; 18 N Somerset 508; 19 Herne H 512; 20 Colchester & T 551; 21 Sale 618; 22 Liverpool 839; 23 St Albans 666; 24 S London 686; 25 Shaftesbury 744; 26 Bristol & W 761; 27 Tipton 771; 28 Northampton 787; 29 Hercules W 840; 30 Blackburn 860

42 teams finished

U13 TEAM: 1 Trafford 143; 2 Brighton & H 181; 3 N Somerset 195; 4 Wolverhampton & B 224; 5 Chelmsford 227; 6 Shaftesbury 241; 7 Herc W 251; 8 B&B 290; 9 Tonbridge 299; 10 Sale 300; 11 Epsom & E 349; 12 Winchester 352; 13 S London 362; 14 Herne H 373; 15 WSEH 392; 16 Lon H 407; 17 Norwich 411; 18 AFD 431; 19 St Albans 450; 20 WG&EL 453; 21 Charnwood 478; 22 C&C 452; 23 Wreake 555; 24 St Mary’s 573; 25 Bed C 580; 26 Salisbury 637; 27 Chich R 712; 28 Mil K 736; 29 Southend 746; 30 Camb H 831

41 teams finished

Women TEAM: 1 Leeds 54; 2 AFD 61; 3 Lon H 166; 4 Tonbridge 176; 5 Belgrave 203; 6 Hallamshire 282; 7 B&W 310; 8 THH 218; 9 Camb H 335; 10 B&B 338; 11 Vale R 338; 12 Soton 3809; 13 Reading 409; 14 Kent 428; 15 Charnwood 432; 16 Sale 439; 17 Cov G 470; 18 TVH 528; 19 Trent P 622; 20 Herne H 640; 21 Highgate 686; 22 Oxf U 690; 23 Winchester 754; 24 Serpentine 856; 25 Guildford & G 864; 26 Fulham 926; 27 Clapham 955; 28 Southend 1084; 29 VP&TH 1094; 30 Dulw R 1115; 31 Westbury 1139; 32 Portsmouth 1155; 33 Epsom & E 1172; 34 St Albans 1208; 35 Newcastle Staffs 1222; 36 Havering 1246; 37 Croydon 1258; 38 York Knaves 1277; 39 P’boro & NV 1321; 40 Nuneaton 1324; 41 Avon VR 1326; 42 Tyne BR 1332; 43 Bourneville 1367; 44 Tipton 1384; 45 L Buzz 1460; 46 Mornington 1469; 47 Head RR 1495; 48 E Manor 1553; 49 Hillingdon 1577; 50 Chorlton 1748

104 teams finished

U20 TEAM: 1 AFD 65; 2 Tonbridge 97; 3 Herc W 103; 4 Salford 103; 5 Liverpool 123; 6 Westbury 123; 7 B&B 149; 8 Shaftesbury 191; 9 C&C 226; 10 T Bath 229; 11 Charnwood 234; 12 Bed C 271; 13 Sale 286; 14 Croydon 364; 15 Newcastle Staffs 364; 16 ESM 389

U17 TEAM: 1 Vale R 84; 2 WSEH 94; 3 Blackheath & B 196; 4 Chiltern 224; 5 Rotherham 260; 6 Medway & M 276; 7 Crawley 283; 8 Camb & C 372; 9 Dacorum & T 373; 10 Hercules W 410; 11 Tonbridge 416; 12 Bracknell 431; 13 Epsom & Ewell 510; 14 Highgate 514; 15 Salford 636; 16 Peterborough & NV 646; 17 Chich R 835; 19 St Edmunds P 863

U15 TEAM: 1 Wreake 61; 2 Rotherham 61; 3 WSEH 215; 4 Lewes 291; 5 Salford 296; 6 Sevenoaks 303; 7 Stockport 303; 8 B&B 307; 9 Herne H 309; 10 Lon H 329; 11 Norwich 337; 12 C&C 381; 13 Medway & M 405; 14 Epsom & E 417; 15 Havering 425; 16 Vale R 460; 17 Winchester 497; 18 TVH 506; 19 Portsmouth 557; 20 Stratford 577; 21 N Norfolk 596; 22 B&H 587; 23 AFD 608; 24 W&B 619; 25 S London 624; 26 St Ed P 642; 27 Herc W 649; 28 Tonbridge 671; 29 Swindon 679; 30 Burton 700

43 teams finished

U13 TEAM: 1 Mil K 55; 2 AFD 110; 3 Chelmsford 119; 4 Liverpool 159; 5 B&B 232; 6 Rotherham 252; 7 C&C 256; 8 Wreake 331; 9 St Ed P 382; 10 Sale 414; 11 Herne H 444; 12 Tonbridge 444; 13 Winchester 447; 14 Herc W 461; 15 Wirral 481; 16 BMH 503; 17 Norwich 544; 18 B&H 552; 19 WG&EL 565; 20 Belgrave 575; 21 WSEH 600; 22 Portsmouth 622; 23 Camb H 640; 24 St Albans 673; 25 Lon H 679; 26 Highgate 681; 27 Kettering 724; 28 Sutton & D 741; 29 St Mary’s 791; 30 Stroud 796

37 teams finished

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