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Brilliant bronze for Brits in mixed relay in Belgrade

Brilliant bronze for Brits in mixed relay in Belgrade

Tom Keen, Alex Millard, Adam Fogg and Beth Morley combine to make the podium as Kenya take gold from Ethiopia

On a day of mud, sweat and hay bales at the World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Britain won a hard-earned and much-deserved bronze medal in the mixed relay. It was the country’s first podium place at the World Cross since under-20 women’s team bronze in 2013, too.

Despite missing one of their star runners from last year’s winning team, Emmanuel Wanyonyi, Kenya ran out comfortable winners in 22:15 thanks to Reynold Cheruiyot, Virginia Nyambura, Kyumbe Munguti and Purity Chepkirui. Ethiopia finished almost half a minute behind, although this was partly due to their anchor runner, Birri Abera, losing a shoe at the start of her leg.

With 23:00, the Brits took bronze eight seconds clear of Morocco with Uganda fifth and France sixth. The United States were actually in third place going into the final stage but fell back to eighth.

GB relay medallists (Getty)

For Great Britain, their momentum was the other way around. In ninth place after Tom Keen’s first stage, Alex Millard brought the team into eighth before Adam Fogg ran a fantastic third leg to move into fourth.

Beth Morley has had short-course cross-country experience this winter in university events and here she stormed through to take bronze, enjoying her final few metres with her arms spread-out before embracing training partner Millard and the rest of her team.

It made amends for the frustration at the Euro Cross in December when Morley and Fogg combined with Josh Lay and Khai Mhlanga but saw victory snatched from them as the fast-finishing France and Netherlands pushed the Brits back to third.

Kenyan relay winners (Getty)

Using his 3:49 mile speed on the hard but uneven surface, Fogg overtook Uganda, Japan and Morocco on his leg to put Morley in with a chance of a medal position on the anchor.

Morley passed Katie Izzo of the United States early on and there was no looking back as she finished powerfully.

“We thought it might be possible to win a medal, but we knew we were going to have to have a really good day,” said Fogg, “and thankfully we pulled it together and got it done to win the bronze medal. I think that is more than we could have asked for.”

Relay delight (Getty)

Morley added: “The American girl was in my sights early on, but I had to remain calm, and not go off too quickly. Coming down the final ramp into the home straight I was just thinking ‘oh…

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