European Champion to race in Antrim Cross Country International

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Please note that the closing date for entries is Monday 11th January, visit www.niathletics.org. Entries available for U13 right up to Masters and includes team entry.

Hayley Yelling, the newly crowned European Cross Country Champion, has confirmed that she will compete in this month’s Antrim IAAF Cross Country International at the Greenmount Campus, Antrim. This IAAF event is organised and promoted by Athletics Northern Ireland and sponsored by Antrim Borough Council and McCain.

Some 3 weeks ago at Santry, Dublin British international Yelling, who turned 36 this week, caused the biggest European Cross Country upset in years. She destroyed an elite field with a devastating display of front running to take victory by 7 seconds from runner-up Morato of Spain. This was an extraordinary achievement considering that the Windsor athlete had only returned to training some 4 weeks previously having announced her retirement a year ago after the 2008 Europeans in Brussels.

An ecstatic Yelling said after her win that she was stunned, as her main aim was simply to make the British team. After her win in the Liverpool trials she said she was determined to go out hard and hang on as long as possible. With such risky tactics she expected most of the field to overtake her, as her recent training had only involved a limited amount of mileage. However, the gamble paid off handsomely with her determined front running leading Britain to silver team medals behind Portugal.

Hayley’s ambitions prior to her Dublin victory may, however, have been a little modest as she has been Britain’s most consistently successful cross country runner over the past 15 years. She has appeared 12 times in the European Cross Country with no less than seven top 6 finishes including her first European win in 2004. She is also no stranger to Northern Ireland. The part-time maths teacher won the Stormont International 2 years ago by some 6 seconds from Britain’s Kathy Butler and in 2003 she finished second to Kenya’s Worknesh Kidane.

The British men’s team also prospered as a group in the European’s in Dublin securing second place overall and a silver medal with great effort on the sixth race of the day. Andy Vernon (AFD) and Mike Skinner (Blackheath & Bromley) fought for the team position with 12th and 13th finishes, ahead of a strong field. Both athletes will compete in Antrim on the 23rd providing strong opposition for local and Irish athletes. Already announced for the Antrim International is European Junior Cross Country bronze medallist, Kate Avery.

Previous winners of the IAAF International meeting which started way back in 1977 have included world and Olympic champions. Notable names have included Paula Radcliffe, Paul Tergat, Steve Cram, Steve Ovett, John Tracey, Khalid Skah, Sergey Lebid, Liz McColgan, Brendan Foster plus a host of other world class Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes.

The event is one of eleven IAAF permitted cross country races in the world and is part of the UK McCain Cross Challenge Series. The well-established series is the focus of the domestic endurance running scene over the winter months and this year it has been given a huge boost by the support of Antrim Borough Council.

Online Entry is now available for U13’s right up to Masters and this also includes Team Entry. We are encouraging all clubs to use this simple system and help cut down on paper entries.

The Holiday Inn Express in Antrim has teamed up with Athletics NI as official hotel partner for this event. This three star hotel is ideally located within 2 minutes drive of the M2 motorway, with 90 stylish ensuite bedrooms. It is the perfect choice for athletes and parents as it is just 5 minutes away from all of the local athletic facilities as well as the International airport.

Special rates apply for those booking under the event or Athletics NI:
Click Here For Details of the Special Rates

Download Timetable and Directions to Greenmount Campus, Antrim.
Antrim Official Timetable
Antrim Greenmount Location

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