Mhairi MacLennan and Carl Avery won the Northern Cross Country Championships, while John Gilbert, Phoebe Law, Alex Brecker and Kate Holt claimed titles in the South of England and Midlands.

Ahead of the National Cross Country Championships in Parliament Hill next month, England’s best were out in force for the annual ECCA area championships in Leeds, Brighton and Nottingham today (January 27).

Harewood House, outside Leeds, proved to be a hit for Northern runners and spectators with hills and mud aplenty providing a true cross country test.

Morpeth Harriers claimed both senior champions, with Mhari McLennan and Carl Avery clinching impressive victories. The women’s race saw British international’s Maclennan, Lauren Howarth and Georgia Taylor-Brown battle it out.

Maclennan, who finished ninth at the U23 European Championships in Samorin, built up a sizeable lead to win by an impressive 18-seconds in 30:50. Leigh Harrier Howarth finished second in 31:08 with Taylor-Brown of Sale Harriers taking third in 31:23. Finishing seventh was Leeds City’s 2016 and 2017 champion Claire Duck.

In the men’s race 12k race, Avery looked impressive as he took the lead in the latter stages to overhaul long-time leader Mathew Bowser of Lincoln Wellington. Duathlete Avery took the tape in 39:50, with Bowser settling for second in 39:54 and Steve Bayton of Hallamshire third in 40:10.

Sale Harriers won the senior men’s team title, with Leeds City the top women’s team.

Francesca Brint (Sale Harriers) and Emile Cairess of Leeds City won the under-20 events.

Gilbert and Law clinch South of England titles

Over a testing 15k men’s course in Stanmer Park, Brighton, and not to mention the wet conditions, it was John Gilbert who won the Southern title. The Kent AC athlete held off a fast-finishing Adam Hickey of Southend in the closing stages, with Max Nicholls taking the bronze.

Phoebe Law was the convincing winner in the women’s race. The Kingston and Poly runner finished ahead of Aldershot’s defending champion Emily Hosker-Thornhill. Bronze over the 8k course went to Charlotte Christenson of Cambridge and Coleridge.

Bedford & County’s won the men’s team title, with Hosker-Thornhill leading Aldershot to the women’s team gold.

Bedford & County’s Elliott Dee and Amelia Quirk of Bracknell AC were the under-20 winners.

Brecker and Holt impress in Nottingham

Wollaton Hall in Nottingham, the venue for the English National XC Championships in 2017, welcomed the Midlands Championships this year.

City of Stoke’s Alex Brecker took the win over men’s 12k course, finishing ahead of Cambridge & Coleridge’s Jack Gray. While Notts AC won the men’s team title.

Katie Holt, also of City of Stoke, clinched the women’s senior 8k title, with Charnwood AC stalwarts Juliet and Jane Potter second and third respectively.

More to follow after results are updated.