Athletic: Heyes looks to future after Ripon triumph

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Andy Heyes (Hallamshire) was an impressive winner of the Yorkshire Cross Country Championship at Lightwater Valley, Ripon, on Saturday.

Heyes, back in Sheffield after completing a masters degree at Tulsa University, USA, has had some impressive results over the country and on the track but his latest win was, arguably, his best performance to date and somewhat of a surprise considering his most recent results in the USA have been relatively modest.

On the twisting, undulating course, heavy in parts, he was in the front all the way and was never in danger, stretching his winning margin over Leeds City’s Jack Simpson to 44 seconds. Simpson, in turn, was well clear of bronze medallist Marc Scott (Richmond and Zetland) who, like Heyes, is at Tulsa. He is halfway through his course and returns shortly.

Last year’s winner, Meles Okbazghi (Sheffield RC) was prominent in the early stages but failed to finish and the other medallists from last year, James Wilkinson (Leeds City) and Jonny Brownlee (Bingley) did not run.

Heyes thought his outstanding run was due, at least in part, to him settling into a good training routine now he is back in Sheffield. He put his medical training at Oxford on hold to go the Tulsa and has now to decide the next stage of his career.

With Heyes leading the way, Hallamshire did well to get bronze medals in the team race. Rob Little (11th) had a superb run and the other scorers were Dave Archer (21st), Matt Hobbs (24th), Philip Cooper (35th) and Neil Northrop (75th).

York junior Katy Wood won the women’s race with the team race going to defending champions Rotherham who won on countback from Holmfirth, both having the same points. Laura Spence (8th), Sam Johnson (15th) and Steph Burns (21st) spearheaded the Rotherham effort with Robyn Lanceley (22nd) the all important fourth counter ahead of her Holmfirth counterpart.