By Rob Cole
Kris Jones delivered himself an early birthday present as he wrote his name into the record books as the first Welshman to win the Scottish Cross Country title in 132 years with victory in Falkirk.
The Swansea Harrier, who also runs for Dundee Hawkhill Harriers, turns 27 on 4 March and he took full advantage of the absence of reigning champion Callum Hawkins to move up from second last year to the top of the podium in 2018 as he completed the 10k course in 33 min 05 sec, to win by 24 seconds from Lachlan Oates.
Welsh international Jones recovered from finding himself stuck much further back in the field than he would have liked at the start and soon moved his way to the head of affairs on a bright, crisp and sunny day at Callander Park.
His off-road prowess – he is a GB orienteering and Welsh cross country international who has won British championship medals on the hills – came to the fore on some of the shorter, sharper climbs and the Welshman’s grin was understandably broad as he broke the finishing tape
Next up for Jones, who is a PhD student in Scotland studying the biomechanics of golf, will be the Big Half in London next weekend. He has already won the Forfar Half Marathon this month, in 68:18, but will be hoping to get closer to his PB of 66:11 set in Glasgow last year.
“The conditions were completely different from last year and it was a completely different race. Last year Callum hit the front and said ‘come on boys’ and everyone went ‘nah, you’re alright’ so it was good fun this time,” said Jones.
“It’s a strong group in Scottish athletics at the moment so when guys like Callum, Andy Butchart and Luke Traynor aren’t on the start line, then you’ve got to take your chance.”
While Jones was battling over the country, other Welsh athletes were competing at the English Junior Indoor Championships. North Walian Nicholas Young won the Under 20 men’s shot putt title by adding more than a metre to his previous best to reach 16.58 metres.
Sarah Omoregie made it a Welsh double by taking the Under 20 women’s crown with a throw of 14.75 metres. It wasn’t as far as her 14.88 meters at the UK Championships, but was long enough to help earn her a first British vest.
Along with hammer thrower Jac Palmer and javelin thrower Bethan Rees, the Commonwealth Games Youth silver medallist will compete at the Under 23 European Throwing Cup in Portugal on 10/11 March.