CROSS COUNTY: Birmingham League preview

Runners at Wicksteed Park last weekend
Runners at Wicksteed Park last weekend
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Rugby & Northampton AC hosting race at Abington Park

Abington Park will play host to the Men’s Birmingham Cross Country League for the 20th time this Saturday and the Northampton venue could see an Olympic athlete in action.

Rugby & Northampton AC will be hosting the Division One race, which could include London 2012 Olympic steeplechaser Weynay Ghebresilasie from Eritrea. The 19-year-old asylum seeker will be representing Birchfield Harriers and in the opening race of the season he stormed to victory by 51 seconds.

The Birmingham League was first formed in 1925 and Abington Park was first used for a division two race in February 1967, hosted by Northampton & County AAC and featured club stalwart and future Northampton Phoenix President John Love. Still an active club member, Love, 74, will help out setting up the course on the morning of the race, which will consist of four laps and cover a distance of just over 10k.

Rugby & Northampton will have their own Junior star in Jacob Allen who finished in an excellent fourth place in the first race at Leamington and helped the club to 9th spot from the 16 teams in the division. They will hope to maintain this status and Allen should get back up from fellow U20 men Robert Male and George Goodwin along with seniors Robert Gardner, Luke Robinson and Brendan Moen.

Although the club record of 39 athletes taking part at Abington Park from 20 years ago will probably never be broken, R&N should still have a big turnout for their seventh Northampton home match in the top division.

The overall field is expected to consist of 250 runners and the race starts at 2.30pm.

Picture by Dave Goddard