Fighting Words: RAF Runners Ready To 'Smash' Army & Navy At Cross Country

The RAF's runners say they're ready to 'smash' the Army and Royal Navy at the Inter-Services Cross Country Championships later this month...

The RAF's runners say they're ready to 'smash' the Army and Royal Navy at the Inter-Services Cross Country Championships later this month.

It comes after teams from bases across the Air Force took part in the 2018 RAF Cross Country Championships at RAF Halton, with veteran, junior and senior athletes all in action.

84 senior and veteran men, along with nine junior athletes and 22 women runners, set off to take on the Halton course.

Luke Pollard, last year's champion, said:

"The team's looking really good, everyone's looking really strong. [We're] ready to give the Army and the Navy a good smashing!"

The top athletes on show in this competition will now turn their focus to the Inter-Services Championships at Minley in a couple of weeks, where they'll be pitted against the best of the Navy and Army.

The men ran three full laps of the two-mile route, with the women competing over two full laps.

Represented here were athletes from bases as far apart as Odiham, Coningsby, Boscombe Down, Cosford and Northolt, with one junior runner from Akrotiri, in Cyprus, even featuring.

The battle for the senior title turned into a three-way battle, with Senior Aircraftman Pollard and Mike Kallenberg (below) pursued by Ben Livesy, who wasn't 100% fit.

RAF Cross Country Championships 2018

Although he stayed with them for a while, his focus was on team points, with Pollard and Kallenberg making light work of the course.

Their wager: The loser would buy their favourite coffee.

That turned out to be incentive enough for Mike to make the final push for the line, with his time of 39 minutes 12 ultimately putting him 20 seconds ahead of his rival.

The women's race was led from the off by Flight Lieutenant Tamsyn Rutter, who already had four RAF titles to her name.

Although she was pushed hard in the early stages of the race, there was no stopping her from winning a third crown on the bounce, in a time of 31 minutes 42 seconds. Flt Lt Rutter said:

"[There was a] lot of competition from the girls, [a] lot of girls close on my heels at various points throughout the race... [So I'm] really happy to win again."

Following her into second place was Aircraftman Emily Brown from St Athen, in her first visit to Halton and after just eight months service. She said:

Chloe Finlay from Wittering ran in third, while the top women's junior was Vickie Williams from Boscombe Down.

The men's under-23 race was a close one, but coming through to win his second consecutive junior title was SAC Rus Mountford from Brize Norton.

The first veterans home were Corporal Keiran White from Halton and Squadron Leader Jo Roe from High Wycombe, who also won the ladies' team title.

The men's champions - RAF Odiham.

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