Mahamed Mahamed and Jess Gibbon powered to clear-cut wins in their respective races at the 2022 Saucony English National Cross Country Championships on Saturday.
Back at its iconic home of Parliament Hill, conditions for the most famous race on the XC calendar were muddy underfoot but ideal overhead and two contrasting scenarios played out.
In the men’s event, apart from a brief foray to the front early on from his brother and Southampton AC teammate Zakariya, Mahamed Mahamed was in control pretty much throughout.
His previous title had seen him come out in top after an epic battle with Emile Cairess and the Leeds City runner was his closest challenger again.
But he never looked like overhauling Mahamed, who despite easing down late on to savour his win, still had 15 seconds to spare as he stopped the clock in 40:52 for the 12km contest.
There was a notable runner in third too, none other than Olympic gold and silver medallist triathlete Alex Yee (Kent).
He paced his effort superbly, moving up in the last two laps to bag the final podium place.
South v North showdown
And in the senior women’s race, Yee’s Toyko team-mate Georgia Taylor-Brown (Sale Harriers) was to the fore throughout.
However she couldn’t quite match his third place, after being overhauled on the final loop by fellow triathlete Bronwen Owen (Leeds City AC).
At the front of the race it turned into an absorbing battle between Southern and Northern XC champions Gibbon (Reading AC) and Eleanor Bolton (Ribble Valley).
And it was only late on that Gibbon finally put daylight between them, crossing the line in 29:00 to Bolton’s 29:08 for the 8km.