Cross County champion: Rookie Emile Cairess cruises to victory at Lightwater Valley

Emile Cairess (Leeds City), the youngest runner in the field, scored a runaway win in the Yorkshire Cross Country Championship at Lightwater Valley, near Ripon, on Saturday.

Last year’s junior winner, Cairess only just made the senior ranks by five days and, in fact, is still a junior for the Northern and national Championships later in the season which use slightly different dates.

A student at St Mary’s College in London, Cairess was in the lead from the gun and quickly established a healthy gap over the chasing pack, going away all the time. Tom Adams (Ilkley) led the chase and was closing on Cairess at the end but the Leeds man was never in danger. For Adams it was a repeat of his silver medal performance a year ago. Bronze medallist was Joe Wilkinson (Lincoln Wellington) making his first Yorkshire appearance having previously run for Lincolnshire.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Despite the efforts of Cairess, Josh Woodcock-Shaw (6th) and Mike Burrett, (16th) in his 17 consecutive Yorkshire race, Leeds lost their team title to a consistent Hallamshire squad led by Steve Bayton in fourth place. Dave Archer had a fine run for 8th place, Bertie Houghton was just a place behind and the Hallamshire team was completed by Connor Milnes (18th), John Birch (27th) and Wyatt Hill (27th). The Leeds City cause was not helped when Ben Douglas dropped out due to an injury whilst well placed.

The women’s race was won by 40 year old Wakefield runner Julie Briscoe who was never seriously challenged. An international marathon runner, Briscoe had never won this title but this time she made her intentions clear from the start, setting a blistering pace. No one could live with her and runner up Katie Walshaw (Holmfirth) finished half a minute behind. A strong finish by Hallamshire’s Zanthe Wray took her to third ahead of Emma Clayton (Leeds City) who is coming back from injury.

Rotherham won the team race for the fifth year in succession although it was a close call, just one point clear of Leeds City. Zara Knappy was Rotherham’s first runner in fifth place with Emma Parkinson (10th), Steph Burns (11th) and Fiona Davies (14th.

Rotherham were not at full strength and lost their number one runner Sam Johnson who dropped out after a lap. She had been ill earlier in the week and was tempting fate to start. Things were evened up by Leeds losing Georgie Malir with an ankle injury when with the leaders and Leeds were also without last year’s winner Claire Duck. She was running for the British team in the Edinburgh Cross Country International where she had a splendid run to finish 12th (third British runner) in a very high quality field.

There were some top class performances in the younger age groups. The under 20 runners started with the seniors but did a lap less and here George Mills (Harrogate) and Imani Wilson (Hallamshire) were outstanding.

At under 17 level Connor Henderson (City of Sheffield and Dearne) continued a fine run of form in the men’s race and Rotherham’s Mya Taylor taking the women’s title by a huge margin. Joshua Dickinson (City of York) and Abbey Brooke (Wakefield) were impressive winners of the under 15 races whilst the Wharfedale club provided under 13 winners Sam Smith and Alice Jones.



1 E Cairess (Leeds City) 33:47; 2 T Adams (Ilkley) 34:03; 3 J Wilkinson (Lincoln Wellington) 34:16; 4 S Bayton (Hallamshire) 34:19; 5 J Hall (Wharfedale) 34:22; 6 J Woodcock-Shaw (Leeds City) 34:31; 7 A Whitwam (Morpeth) 34:39; 8 D Archer (Hallamshire) 34:45; 9 B Houghton (Hallamshire) 34:54; 10 L Byram (Holmfirth) 35:27; 11 E Smales (Rotherham) 35:27; 12 A Grant (Harrogate) 35:29

Teams: 1 Hallamshire 94; 2 Leeds City 120; 3 Rotherham 220

Under 20 Men

1 G Mills (Harrogate) 27:15; 2 J Schofield (City of York) 27:43; 3 J Massingham (Rotherham) 27:51

Team: City of York

Under 17 Men

1 C Henderson (City of Sheffield) 20:01; 2 A McMillan (City of York) 20:07; 3 T Osman (Ripon) 20:15

Team: City of York

Under 15 Boys

1 J Dickinson (City of York) 13:47; 2 E Hussey (Leeds City) 13:57; 3 F Hutchinson (City of York) 14:02

Team: City of York

Under 13 Boys

1 S Smith (Wharfedale) 8:30; 2 A Flaherty (Bingley) 8:35; 3 J Darley (Hallamshire) 8:51

Team: Hallamshire


1 J Briscoe (Wakefield) 30:24; K Walshaw (Holmfirth) 30:53; 3 Z Wray (Hallamshire) 31:09; 4 E Clayton (Leeds City) 31:14; 5 Z Knappy (Rotherham) 31:20; 6 S Partridge (Leeds City) 31:30

Teams: 1 Rotherham 40; 2 Leeds City 41; 3 Holmfirth 57

Under 20 Women

1 I Wilson (Hallamshire) 23:15; 2 J Elgood (Ilkley) 23:54; 3 E Robinson (Keighley and Craven) 24:04

Team: Holmfirth

Under 17 Women

1 M Taylor (Rotherham) 16:17; 2 A Lancaster (City of Sheffield) 16:54; 3 O Haverton (Harrogate) 17:12

Team: Rotherham

Under 15 Girls

1 A Brooke (Wakefield) 13:40; 2 J Hill (Hallamshire) 13:54; 3 B Morley (Ilkley) 14:05

Team: Hallamshire

Under 13 Girls

1 A Jones (Wharfedale) 8:54; 2 R Simpson (Hallamshire) 8:58; 3 E Jones (Skyrac) 9:12

Team: Hallamshire

Liam Ramsay (City of Sheffield and Dearne) retained his senior title at the English Combined Events Championship at Sheffield over the weekend. Ramsay was in the lead after the first day of the heptathlon contest only to see his Sheffield team mate John Lane overtake him on the sixth event, the pole vault, with a clearance of 4.91. Ramsay responded in style with 2:38.86 in the last event, the 1000 metres running 2:38.86 to give him a total of 5832, a personal best. Lane finished second with 5712 with bronze medal going to Aiden Davies (Doncaster) for the second year with a score of 5401.

Another City of Sheffield athlete, Joe Hobson, runner up last year, went one better this time to win the under 20 heptathlon. He led all the way to score 5109.