UK CAU Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships 2013
9 March at Cofton Park, Birmingham
Senior and Under 20 Women

The UK Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships were held at Cofton Park, Birmingham with very muddy course, and testing conditions for all the athletes.

Senior Women Championships - 8000m

Louise Damen's win pictured on the cover of Athletics WeeklyLouise Damen's victory pictured on the cover of Athletics Weekly

Hampshire athlete Louise Damen won the Senior Women's Inter-Counties title with a very impressive run, to add to the English National Women's Cross-Country title she won two weeks earlier. A great double achievement for Louise.

Elle Baker, Greater Manchester, and last year's champion Gemma Steel, Hampshire athletes Louise Damen and Stephanie Twell were all in the leading pack, at the early stages of the race.

At the 6000m mark Elle and Louise pushed the pace and they opened a gap, both fighting for the senior title. With the final kilometre to go, Louise stamped her authority on the race, running away from Elle Baker and winning the race with an eight-second lead and gain the Inter-Counties Women title in a time of 26 min 58 sec. Elle Baker finished 2nd with a time of 27 min 06 sec, followed by Gemma Steel in 27 min 24 sec. Hampshire athlete Stephanie Twell, still returning after injury, had a good strong run to finish 5th in 27 min 30 sec with Louise Damen confirming her place in the GB team, at the World Cross-Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on 24 March, just hoping that Stephanie Twell's 5th place will get her selected for the GB women's team also. Good luck to both the Hampshire women.

The next two Hampshire women to finish ran extremely well with Guernsey Island's Louise Perrio 20th and Amy Campbell 23rd really strengthened our team results. Sarah Mercier, who also travelled from Guernsey, had a good run to finish 41st. Kathryn Bailey, a stalwart of our Hampshire teams over the years, had a strong and competent run to finish 61st and complete the six-to-score places, and regain the title for the third time in three years, with Hampshire Senior Women winning the 2013 team event, by 3 points from Surrey.

Jen McLachlan

Laura Brenton was the next to finish in 69th position with Jennifer McLachlan 119th and Ellie Monks 164th who rounded off the team of 9 Hampshire Women.

291 runners finished the course. Team results (33 counties competed):
1st Hampshire 151 pts
2nd Surrey 154 pts
3rd Yorkshire 190 pts
4th Scotland East 310 pts

Jen McLachlan negotiates one of the muddier parts of the course

Under 20 Women Championships - 6000m

Surrey athlete Emelia Gorecka won an incredible seventh Inter-Counties Cross-Country title, as she raced to a convincing victory in the Under 20 Women's race.

Emelia set a good strong pace from the start and broke the field up in the early stages, with a chasing group attempting to follow. As Emelia began to run clear she was tracked by Bobby Clay of Kent and Georgina Taylor-Brown of Greater Manchester. Emelia opened up a large lead and completed the 6000m course in 19 min 41 sec with Bobby Clay 2nd in 20 min 07 sec and Georgina Taylor-Brown 3rd in 20 min 13 sec.

Chloe Turmel (left); Victoria Stoodley (right)Left: Chloe Turmel; right: Victoria Stoodley

Hampshire athlete Chloe Turmel, who travelled from Jersey to compete, had a good strong run to finish 16th position in 21 min 42 sec; the next to finish was Victoria Stoodley in 115th position, closely followed by Grace Crumplin 124th and Gemma Bigg 128th completing the four to score places. Kirsten Burley was the 5th Hampshire athlete to finish in 145th position.

145 runners finished the course. Team results (21 counties competed):
1st Kent 48 pts
2nd Warwickshire 82 pts
3rd Cheshire 112 pts
4th Sussex 115 pts
19th Hampshire 383 pts

Sheena Fitzmaurice
Hampshire Senior and Under 20 Women Team Manager