British Athletics Cross Country Challenge & European Trials
Sefton Park, Liverpool – Saturday 25th November 2017
The annual November cross challenge and European Trials meeting was staged at Sefton Park in Liverpool on Saturday the 25th of November. The finest endurance runners in the United Kingdom made their way to Liverpool to try and book a place in the Great Britain team for the forthcoming European cross country championships which will be held in Slovakia. A total of 1986 runners contested the races across all of the age ranges which started in the under 11girl’s and boy’s category and went right through to the senior men and women. The conditions in Sefton Park were the usual mix of good to soft underfoot with mud in parts, and there was a gusting wind and periods of rain.
Three Kingston athletes were in action at the event which saw under 23’s Harry Powell and Shaun Smith running in the senior men’s race and Baldvin Magnusson racing in the under 20’s.
Harry Powell has enjoyed another excellent year on the track and the road but especially on the cross country courses. He added another representative vest to his collection at the Home Countries schools international at Margam Park, Port Talbot where he represented the Northern England team and 2017 also saw him win his 3rd consecutive County cross country title, an excellent 5th place was taken at the Northern’s with an outstanding 13th place coming at the English National championships.
In contrast Shaun Smith has had a frustrating year, he started it well with a bronze medal at the County championships in early January and later in the month a solid performance at the Northern’s at Knowsley Park saw him finishing in the top third of the field. He was then out of competitive action until this October’s Northern Counties relay championships in Sheffield and the British cross challenge was only his 5th competitive outing of 2017.
The senior men’s 9.8 kilometre race was contested by a total of 525 athletes with Harry Powell and Shaun Smith among the field. Harry produced another impressive performance covering the course in a time of 33.26 sec crossing the finishing line in 81st place, inside the top 16% in the race. Shaun also put in a good performance finishing just a fraction outside of the top 25%, he ran the course in a time of 35.32 sec to finish in 137th place.
Baldvin Magnusson started 2017 with two titles in the month of January, winning both the County and the County Schools cross country championships and in the same month he was the 12th place finisher at the Northern Championships. More top quality performances followed at the English National championships 32nd place in a field of 211 runners, the UK Inter County championships saw him take 30th place in a field of 163 and the English Schools Championships he was 19th in a field of 324 runners. On the 11th of November he achieved the pinnacle of his career so far, representing Iceland at the Nordic cross country championships which were held in Denmark.
Baldvin was one of the 124 runners who ran in the under 20 men’s 6.7 kilometre race at Sefton Park, he ran the course in a time of 22:20 sec and crossed the finishing line in 29th place.