Athletics: EAC’s Stewart faces ‘step up’

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Coach Ian Whyte has described the women’s field for the McCain Cross Country Challenge meeting in Liverpool tomorrow as “awesome”.

The Challenge, which incorporates the official UK Trials for the European Championships in Velenje, Slovenia, in two weeks, also includes a trial for the European Champion Clubs Cup in which Edinburgh AC are the Scottish women’s challengers.

Whyte believes EAC’s surprise packet of the season, Emily Stewart, who only misses being eligible for the under-20 age group by a matter of days, will do well to finish in the Top 15 of the combined senior and under-23 race.

“It’s a big step up in distance for her to 8.1km and it’s quite a hard course, plus many of the top UK athletes will be coming back from altitude training in Kenya.”

The opposition includes Charlotte Purdue, who was Britain’s top finisher in last season’s World Cross, Scotland’s Steph Twell, just getting back to full fitness and Gemma Steel, winner of the first McCain Challenge in Bristol and Scottish champion Freya Murray (EAC), another injury victim this year.