Considered to be the pinnacle of grass roots athletics, the UKCAU Inter-Counties cross country championships at Cofton Park, Birmingham on Saturday did not disappoint. The event doubled as the final of the UK Cross Challenge 2015-16 and the winners both on the day and of the UK series titles were Kate Avery (Shildon) and Dewi Griffiths (Swansea).
Athletes qualify for selection to represent their county by performances in the depths of winter in their county championships and the CAU Inter-Counties is the culmination of the domestic season for most good club runners.
The Counties Athletic Union was formed in 1926 and the first championships were held on April 3 at Beaconsfield, where the winners were Worcestershire. Women joined the party in 1977 and the first winning team was Yorkshire.
In the women’s 8k at Birmingham, Kate Avery forged a lead of 14 seconds over Elle Vernon (Stockport), with Louise Small (Aldershot, Farnham and District) in for the bronze. Fourth placed Claire Duck (Leeds) led Yorkshire to another title, ahead of North East and Surrey.
The men’s 12k was a closer match with 24-year-old Dewi Griffiths five seconds clear of Adam Hickey (Southend), with Jonathan Taylor (Morpeth) an isolated third but delighted to lead North East to the team awards from Scotland East and Middlesex.
Click here for the full results and more information about UK CAU events.