Athletics News

Mahamed Mahamed and Grace Carson win Inter-Counties crowns

Mahamed Mahamed and Grace Carson win Inter-Counties crowns

All the news from the British Athletics Cross Challenge final and de facto UK cross-country championships at Prestwold Hall on Saturday

On a sunny morning the temperature was no higher than 3C but the snow on most of the course had disappeared and the two senior races went to Mahamed Mahamed and Grace Carson.

The threatened afternoon rain did not appear and neither did some of the favourites including last year’s men’s winner Calum Johnson, which left the North East Counties short of a full complement.

In the team stakes there were big gaps in the senior and under-20 races but the three youngest age groups all produced a nearly full team, as Yorkshire took three team titles.

Senior men

As the sun went behind the clouds and the course was at its most muddy, Mahamed Mahamed confirmed his position at the head of the UK Cross Challenge standings with a comprehensive victory on a course that ran longer than its advertised 10km.

To take more than 37 minutes to cover a 10km course, even if it was a bit muddy in places, showed that the length was something closer to 12km, even taking into consideration the hills.

Mahamed was the class of the race and his younger brother Zak, who was second to Johnson last year, promised to make it a family and Hampshire double until he ran out of steam in the last 400 metres, as Tom Evans and Jack Gray could hardly be split at the tape.

From mid-race onwards there was no doubt who would win and Mahamed Mahamed’s lead stretched out to 18 seconds before the battle for second saw it dwindle to 11 but then extend at the death to nearly half-a-minute.

Men’s start (David Hewitson)

Earlier, Southern and English National winner James Kingston, Jack Millar and Ben Alcock all seemed to be in with a shout but, on the final lap, it was the three-way battle for the two minor medals that drew the attention.

Ultra man Evans and Midland winner and English National runner-up Gray, pulled out five seconds on Zak Mahamed by the line, where it took the judges to decide that Evans took silver to Gray’s bronze.

The Mahamed brothers took first and second in the UK Challenge and pocketed £2000 and £1,000, respectively.

The winner said: “There were five of us on the first small lap then, by the hill, I felt good so started to open up, so I am happy. Job done.”

Mahamed the elder added: “I am on 100 miles a week but only train once a day as I am studying and work for Garmin. I do four or five sessions, with an 18 or 20 miler on a…

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