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IAAF Antrim International Cross Country


Top class names added Stephanie Twell, Britain’s top cross country runner, faces good African opposition in this Saturday’s IAAF Antrim International Cross Country in Greenmount Campus, Antrim. The prestigious event is sponsored by Mizuno in conjunction with Antrim Borough Council and organised and promoted by Athletics Northern Ireland. Her opposition will now include Emily Pidgeon who along with Twell was a member of the all conquering British team in the recent European Championships in Brussels. Emily took 4h individual place in the race- a position which only just secured her place in the dominant gold medal winning GB team. This brought the curtain down on Emily’s long international junior career in which she grabbed the silver medal in these same championships no less than 3 years ago- the same year in which she captured the European Junior 5000m title.

Also competing in the Women’s race will be the Russian Championship bronze medallist. Viktoria Trushenko who finished 11th in Brussels. Emily Brown of the USA who was 18th in the World Championships last March in Edinburgh will also be appearing.

In the Men’s race there will be a welcome return to the Province for Commonwealth 10,000m champion Boniface Kiprop. The Ugandan athlete captured this title in March 2006 in Melbourne. 2 years earlier he set a new world Junior 10,000m record with a time of 27 minutes 4 seconds. Kiprop finished 10th in last summer’s Beijing Olympic 10,000m behind the great Kenesa Bekele. Boniface raced in the Stormont International in 2003 where he finished 6th behind 8 times European Cross Country champion Sergey Lebid.

Joining Kiprop will be Ethiopian Imane Merga who was 7th in the World Junior championships last March. He also recorded an impressive 5000m time last June of 13 minutes 8 seconds.

The event is one of the largest and most popular events in the Northern Ireland athletics sporting calendar with more than 1,000 competitors taking part in 12 races throughout the day. It is one of eleven IAAF permitted cross country races in the world and is part of the UK 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 McCain for the first time ever.

Timetable of Events