Meles storms to Yorkshire title

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Meles Okbazghi (Sheffield Running Club) won the Yorkshire Cross Country title at Lightwater Valley on Saturday whilst Rotherham Harriers won the women’s team race.

Okbazghi was always with the leaders and broke away along with Leeds City international James Wilkinson and Olympic triathlon bronze medallist Jonathan Brownlee (Bingley). Wilkinson appeared the most comfortable of the trio but Okbazghi produced a blistering finish.

It was something of a surprise even though the 26 year old, who comes from Eritrea, has dominated the South Yorkshire League this winter. After a couple of races when he first came to the UK in 2008, he did not race again until last year and since then has gone from strength to strength.

Hallamshire, led by Tom Jenkins (18th) just missed out on medals finishing fourth.

Rotherham Harriers won the women’s team race with as impressive display of packing as you will see. Samantha Johnson led the way in eighth place and the next three places were filled by her team mates Jade Allen, Annabelle Gray and Rosie Edwards, the latter home from the USA where she is based. For good measure they also had Steph Burns 14th. Hallamshire, led by Julia Jagger in seventh place, took bronze team medals.

Fiona Bell (Hallamshire) was first junior to finish whilst another Hallamshire runner Tom Bains won the junior men’s race.

City of Sheffield dominated the younger age groups with four individual wins and two team victories.

Josh Naisbitt was outstanding winning the under 17 men’s race and, supported by Joe Lancaster (4th) and Matt Chaib (14th) led his team to silver medals. Jonathan Shields was superb in winning the under 15 race with the team again taking silver. And yet another City of Sheffield win came from Alfie Manthorpe at under 13 level. With Julian Slater third and backed up by Christian Mills, 17th, the Sheffield squad just beat York to the team title.

The most decisive team win of the day came from City of Sheffield in the under 13 girls race. Amelia Lancaster was an impressive winner and Mariella De Lara was 3rd and Emily Simpson fourth. Only the runner up, Barnsley’s Alice Moore, prevented a City of Sheffield clean sweep.