Muddy marvels: Yee and GTB to the fore at National XC Championships

Alex Yee and Georgia Taylor-Brown, both members of Team GB’s famous gold medal-winning quartet in the Mixed Relay event in Tokyo faced a very different challenge in the 2022 Saucony English National Cross Country Championships on Saturday.

But Yee stayed on strongly to take third place in the men’s senior race at Parliament Hill, while Taylor-Brown was fourth in the women’s equivalent.

Running for Kent, Yee’s best previous performance was third in the U17 race in 2015 and he matched that at senior level after gradually working his way into contention as the race developed.

Mahamed Mahamed (Southampton AC) notched what was virtually an all-the-way win in the 12km contest, claiming a second title in 40:52.

Emile Cairess (Leeds City) was second in 41:07, with Yee crossing the line in 42:04, ahead of Mahamed’s brother Zakariya in fourth.

Yee said on Instagram: “Salvaged 3rd at National XC today. Wish I felt better today but proud to keep fighting till the end.

“Congrats to Mahamed and Emile. These boys are hard workers and both have big years ahead of them. Well done to all who raced! Back to work.”

GTB fourth in ‘favourite’ event

Meanwhile in the women’s race and running for Sale Harriers, Taylor-Brown was right in the mix early on in what she labelled beforehand her “favourite sporting event of the year”.

She disputed the lead on the first muddy lap with Southern XC Champion Jess Gibbon (Reading AC) and Northern Champion Eleanor Bolton (Ribble Valley).

But on the longer second loop that pair started to assert, with Gibbon – who was fourth two years ago – pulling clear in the closing stages to cross the line at the end of the 8km race in 29:00, eight seconds ahead of Bolton.

Owen overhauls GTB for third

There was a triathlete on the podium, but it wasn’t Taylor-Brown as she was overtaken by Bronwen Owen (Leeds City AC) who stopped the clock in 29:23.

Owen, part of the British U23 Mixed Relay Triathlon European Championship winning team in 2019, matched her third place of two years ago.

Taylor-Brown, who won the National Junior title back in 2014, was fourth in 29:43, with the leading quartet well clear and the only women to go under 30 minutes.

Afterwards she posted on her Instagram account: “Fourth time coming 4th at National Cross Country. When will the dreaded 4th end? Will I ever make the steps?

“Jokes aside I’m actually very happy with 4th! It’s been fun to race some cross but now it’s time to get fit for my day job.”

Bowden showcases run speed

There was also a strong triathlete performance in the Welsh Championships as Adam Bowden took third for Bridgend.

Bowden, who was third at IRONMAN 70.3 Nice in September, filled the same position at Pembrey Country Park near Llanelli with his time of 33:44, with only defending champion James Hunt (33:00) and Dan Nash (33:06) – both of Cardiff Athletics – ahead of him.

He told us afterwards: “It was great to get on the podium – and made even sweeter by my son picking up his third place for the U13 team category!”

Running has always been a strength for Bowden.

He represented Great Britain in the 3000m Steeplechase at both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, and only last October won the ABP Newport Wales Marathon in course record time of 2:20:06.

Jonathan Turner
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Jonathan is Editorial Director for TRI247 and RUN247. He was previously Head of Digital / Comms for pro cycling's Team Sky and now spends as much time as he can running with his local club. Swimming is not yet on the radar.