World Cross Country Trials and UKA Inter-Counties

Ben Tickner Selected to Represent Great Britain in the World Cross Country Championships

The Harrierís Ben Tickner will be competing this coming Saturday March 19th for the Great Britain team at the World Cross-country Championships to be held in France. Ben secured his place with a fantastic performance at the recent team trials held in conjunction with the inter-counties match at Woolaton Park in Nottingham. Ben becomes the second Harrier ever to compete at the World Championships, and follows in the footsteps of Amber Gascoigne who represented the GB juniors back in 1998. Ben, like Amber, is coached by the Clubís senior coach, and former international, Clive Thomas.

At Nottingham the conditions varied from warm, bright sunshine to cold, wet blizzard with the various age group races held over this fast, but undulating parkland course. Twenty three year old Ben Tickner was contesting the Senior Menís 4km race. After a blistering start, which found him in the lead at the top of the first of several testing hills, Ben continued to force the pace from the front. He was joined at the head of the field by two former champions in Spencer Barden and Steven Vernon, and after the first of the two laps they had forced a slight gap on the chasing pack.

Unfortunately, the fast early pace began to take its toll and Ben began to struggle a little mid way through the second lap. He lost a few metres on the leaders, and his supporters began to worry that he was going to fade back into the chasing mass. However, he rallied and came again in a spirited sprint for the finish and just failed to snatch second from Barden, as they were both given the same time.

Steve Vernon won by three seconds. Later that evening it was confirmed that Ben had been selected along with Barden and Vernon to join European Indoor 3km Silver medallist John Mayock to represent Britain in the World Short Course Cross Country Championships which are being held in St Etienne, France, and will be broadcast live on Saturdayís BBC Grandstand.. This is Benís first Senior British vest having twice previously contested the World Student Games Championships, though this past winter he is one of 3 Harriers to have gained England vests.

Benís younger brother Frank along with Andrew Henessey was also competing at Nottingham, but in the longer 12km Inter Counties event. Both runners got off to a good start in the field of about 400. Frank was in the lead after about 800m but unfortunately, he found the pace difficult to maintain and towards the end of the first of four laps he began to struggle and dropped a few metres behind the leaders. Andrew, who was running more conservatively, was moving through the field and almost caught Frank as he moved up to 10th. They stayed in 9th and 10th position for most of the remaining distance until Andrew was caught by a chasing group and eventually finished 14th.

With just the first six being selected for the World Championship Long Course team they both missed out. The plus for Andrew was that he scored enough points in this race to ensure that he finished 3rd overall in the Reebok Challenge Series, the series of the top domestic races in the country.

On the ladies side from the Harriers Welsh International Clare Martin finished 17th and Vicky Tester was 35th in the Ladies 4km whilst in the Ladies 8km Karen Buckley was 139th running for the Avon and Somerset team.

Other Harriers who ran for the county were U20 women Sarah Jones 66th and Clare Griffin 88th. In the U15 girls Laura Parker was 55th and Hannah Forrest was 242nd. In the U13 girls Leighanna Chappel was 135th. Finally in the U13 boys Ben Venus was 38th. All of these juniors are competing in the national schools XC Championships this weekend.