Stockport duo Andy Davies and Elle Vernon denied Yorkshire athletes Alistair Brownlee (Bingley) and Emma Clayton (Leeds City) senior titles at the Northern Cross Country Championships at Pontefract.
In the men’s race, Leeds City’s Callum Hawkins and Andy Heyes (Hallamshire) forced the pace but it was Brownlee who made the first serious break with about a mile to run.
It looked as though the triathlon star was destined to gain a winning lead but the tenacious Davies hung on.
“I enjoyed it”, Brownlee said. “I thought I was going to win when I took the lead. I would like to run the National (February 21st) but I have my first triathlon of the year three weeks later and I will decide nearer the time.”
Scottish international Hawkins led Leeds City in fourth place but they suffered a rare defeat in the team race, behind Stockport and Morpeth.
The women’s race was a close affair between Vernon, last year’s runner-up, and Clayton who drew well clear of the rest. Clayton led a weakened Leeds team to surprise bronze medals helped by a fine run from Claire Duck who finished sixth.
Winners, however, were Rotherham who successfully defended their title. Without anyone at the sharp end of the race, they packed superbly, led by Sam Johnson (14th) and supported by Robyn Lanceley (20th), Annabelle Grady (21st) and Jess Fawcett (28th).
Scarborough’s Bronwen Owen outclassed the opposition in the junior (under-20) women’s race. The under-17 men’s title went to James Gormley (City of Sheffield) who beat his close rival Emile Cairess (Bingley) whilst Joshua Dickinson (City of York) won the under 13 boys title. At under-15 girls level, Tilly Simpson (Hallamshire) added another title to her impressive list.