McGrath goes into Tri-Counties title defence in confident form

CAN Felix McGrath retain his Tri-Counties Cross Country Championships senior men’s title? That will be one of the main talking points for the 2021 event which is being held at Bath University tomorrow having been cancelled 12 months ago due to the pandemic.

Dial back two years and McGrath (pictured left) was an impressive winner from Wiltshire’s Simon Nott while McGrath’s Bristol & West AC clubmate Kurt Taylor and Jed Bartlett finished third and fourth overall while also claiming the silver and bronze in the Avon championships.

“I like the Bath University course and it suits my strengths,” said McGrath, who is a highly accomplished fell runner.

Indeed, the Bath course is deceptively challenging with a long, if not excessively steep, drag up the back straight and by the third lap that really starts to tell on the senior field.

That is when McGrath, who is already showing good form as indicated by his second place at the latest Gwent League race, is likely to make his strength and stamina tell.

In this event, which incorporates the Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire Championships, it is never easy to predict who will turn up but on form McGrath should be a month the contenders for a place on the podium.

Likewise, his B&W clubmate Chelsea Creak should figure prominently in the senior women’s race having shown terrific form in the Gwent League.

Two years ago the overall title went to Taunton AC’s Alice Murray-Gourlay as she cruised home by over a minute from B&W’s Annabel Granger, who ran superbly to lift the Avon title.

The Team Bath AC pair of Lizzi Pitt and Cath Dale won the Avon silver and bronze medals.

Timetable: 11:00 – U11 Girls (1.9km – 1 short lap)
11:15 – U11 Boys (1.9km – 1 short lap)
11:30 – U13 Girls (2.8km – 1 long lap)
11:50 – U13 Boys (2.8km – 1 long lap)
12:10 – U15 Girls (3.8km – 2 short laps)
12:30 – U15 Boys (3.8km – 2 short laps)
12:50 – U17 & U20 Women (4.7km – 1 short and 1 long lap)
13:10 – U17 & U20 Men (5.7km – 3 short laps)
13:40 – Championship for Senior & Masters Ladies (6.6km – 2 short and 1 long laps)
14:10 – OPEN event, including Championship for Senior & Masters Men (10.3km – 1 short and 3
long laps)

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