Southend's Adam Hickey, representing Essex, bounced back from an ankle injury to win the UK Inter-Counties and World Cross Country Trail at Loughborough on Saturday (10 March). The 30-year-old international will now return to the GB team for the IAAF World Cross in Aarhus, Denmark (30 March) for the first time in 12 years!
The UK Inter-Counties started as a relay event in 1925 at Stamford Bridge and quickly grew in significance until selection to represent the county became the benchmark of success for many club runners. Starting as a men's only race the UK Inter-Counties now embraces all age groups for both genders.
Adam Hickey had won the English National title at Parliament Hill last year but sprained his his ankle badly and was below par when finishing fifth while trying to defend his English title in Leeds last month.
Hickey bounced back to his best form to pip Ross Millington (Greater Manchester) by one second in 32:44 for the windswept, undulating Prestwold Hall course. Oliver Fox (Wells City, 32:53) was third. The defending Inter-Counties champion, Mahamed Mahamed (Hampshire) retained his British Athletics Cross Challenge overall trophy by one point from Hickey by finishing fifth.
After his win a delighted Hickey said: “To gain automatic selection for the world cross team is great and I knew I had to come here and secure my place in the top two. I rolled my ankle on two occasions before Christmas which hampered me for the Europeans and since then almost all my runs have been on the road in training, but it just shows that the long runs after work and in the dark are all worth it with a performance like that”.
Middlesex took the all important Inter-Counties team award from Lancashire and Hampshire.
The women's champion, after coming from behind on the final lap, was the Welsh champion Jenny Nesbitt (Worcestershire, 37:52) as the women competed over the same 10K course as the men. The leading Southern athletes were Amelia Quirk (Berkshire, 5th) and Emily Hosker-Thornhill (Kent, 6th) as Yorkshire, Essex and North East took the team medals home.