Local runners hoping for Yorkshire glory

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South Yorkshire athletes will be striving for medals at the Yorkshire Cross Country Championships which take place at a new venue, Lightwater Valley near Ripon, tomorrow.

In the men’s race, Hallamshire’s top runner last year, Rob Little, leads them again but they do not look as strong this time and will find it hard to repeat last year’s silver medals in the team race. Particularly so as Andy Heyes runs for Britain in the International Cross Country in Edinburgh on the same day.

Called up at the last minute for the British Under 23 team for the European championships, Heyes excelled to finish second UK runner and the Hallamshire man fully deserves his selection at senior level.

South Yorkshire Champion Meles Okbazghi (Sheffield RC) will be looking for a high placing in the Yorkshire.

Rotherham challenge for medals in the women’s race. Last year they were second to Bingley and these two should again dominate the team race. Rotherham have Jade Allen, Annabelle Grady, Steph Burns and Samantha Johnson as likely counters but also have Natash Hatswell, Rebecca Middleton and Natalie Grant as well as Rosie Edwards, back from her current base in America.

Hallamshire, led by Calli Thackery and Nicola Squires, could also challenge for team medals.

Last year’s under 17 men’s winner Tom Bains (Hallamshire) moves up to the junior age group as does Fiona Bell (Hallamshire) last year’s under 17 women’s champion.

Last year’s under 15 winner Josh Naisbitt moves to under 17 level where his City of Sheffield teammate Joe Lancaster should also be prominent whilst Hallamshire should do well in the under 15 girls race with Imani Wilson, Mary McCarthy and Maddie Pearce.

The youngest age group is the under 13 section and here Alfie Manthorpe (City of Sheffield) and Amelia Lancaster (City of Sheffield) should challenge for individual medals.

As well as county medals, athletes are running for places in the Yorkshire teams for the Inter Counties Championship later in the season.