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Loughborough athletes at home in the mud

It was a marvellous day for the cohort of Loughborough athletes who made the trip north to Liverpool to contest the British European Cross Country Championship trials, with five securing automatic selection onto the British team.

With Great Britain vests up for grabs, the Liverpool leg of the Cross Challenge always makes for an exciting day on the winter calendar, with the senior races taking top billing. World Championship 1500m semi-finalist Jess Judd has been in sensational form so far this winter and she didn’t disappoint in the North West, finishing second, but most importantly winning the U23 race. The Human Biology student will head to Slovakia in two weeks’ time with her sights firmly set on a European Championship medal.

Post-race she commented:

I have never enjoyed running in the mud but for once I ran pretty well in it – it’s only taken 11 years! Feels like I’m back to the U15/17 years being beaten by Emelia Gorecka – thanks for a great race.

The men’s race saw double delight with Loughborough based Sam Stabler taking third in the senior event, whilst placement student Patrick Dever was second U23 athlete home. Both men are assured of their places on the place.

In the junior men’s race it was gold for Ben Dijkstra, the triathlete demonstrating his versatility as he swapped three sports for one to great effect. A member of the Loughborough Triathlon Performance Centre, Dijkstra has already won World bronze in his favoured sport this year, but will now take aim at a European cross country medal.

Afterwards he said:

Despite it being much colder than most tri conditions I’m over the moon to be selected for Euro XC in two weeks’ time.

The final Loughborough student to ensure she’ll be donning the Great Britain vest on the 10th December is Cari Hughes, the first year student finishing third in the junior women’s race behind European medallists Harriet Knowles-Jones and Khahisa Mhlanga, the latter incidentally Judd’s stepsister.

Congratulations to all the Loughborough past and present who were in action in Liverpool and good luck to those on international duty in two weeks’ time.