Leeds in the hunt for medals in London

LEEDS CITY are expected to challenge for team medals in the men’s race at the National Cross Country Championships held at London’s Parliament Hill.

They finished third last year behind Bedford and Notts AC and are up against Morpeth and Stockport who, surprisingly, beat Leeds in this year’s Northern Championships.

Last year Leeds were led home by James Wilkinson but their top runner has not raced since August due to injury, while another Leeds international James Walsh is also out injured.

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With Scottish international Derek Hawkinsalso injured, Leeds still field a strong squad with Simon Deakin, Alan Buckley, Joe Townsend, Carl Smith, Dominic Easter. Michael Salter, Danny Davies and Mike Burrett fighting it out for the six counting places.

Alistair Brownlee (Bingley), runner up in the Northern, should again be prominent if his triathlon preparations allow him to run, as should his brother Jonny. Hallamshire’s Andy Heyes will be looking of a repeat of last year’s performance when he had an outstanding run to finish third.

He has not quite been in that sort of form recently and finished eighth in the Northern Championships, but he is a classy enough athlete to challenge for a medal again.

Leeds’s Emma Clayton, runner-up in the Northern Championship, is away training in Kenya but her Leeds team-mate Claire Duck should be well-placed in the women’s race, while Rotherham – bronze medallists last year – could be serious challengers again having won the Yorkshire and Northern titles this year.

In the younger age groups, James Gormley (City of Sheffield) and Emile Cairess (Bingley) compete in the Under-17, Josh Dickinson (City of York) and Tommy Dawson (Leeds City) in the Under-13.

Bronwen Owen (Scarborough) in the junior women’s race and Hallamshire’s Tilly Simpson in the under 15 girls should also be prominent.