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Twell, Ayeko seeking more Greenmount Cross Country joy

Fomer winners Steph Twell and Thomas Ayeko will be hoping to top the podium again at the Greenmount Cross Country International in Antrim on March 14.

Great Britain's Twell, of the Aldershot club, shot to fame locally back in 2009 when as a 19-year-old she snatched victory by one second from Ireland's Deirdre Byrne. This followed a memorable 2008 when she captured the World Junior 1,500m title.

She famously secured a hat-trick of European Cross Country Junior victories from 2006 to 2008. Unfortunately, she later suffered several fractures to her ankle when racing and was sidelined for some two years.

However, she has bounced back to form as a member of the GB winning Euro Cross Country team in December where she was seventh just behind Irish star Fionnuala Britton. She also recorded a 10k PB time of 32 minutes 30 seconds in Leeds.

While opposition for Twell is still being finalised, in the Men's race 23-year-old Ugandan Ayeko will be seeking to repeat his clear 37-second victory over Kenya's David Bett two years ago. However, a win this time will be no easy task as he faces existing World Cross Country champion Japhet Korir, whom he lost to by just two seconds in last year's event.

Bett and Ayeko will battle it out again in China as Korir will not be defending his World title later this month as he recently failed to qualify for the Kenyan team.

Ayeko may have the edge following some excellent half marathon runs last autumn including fifth place in the Great North Run last September in a PB of 62.13.

Belfast Telegraph