Cardiff Cross Challenge: Dewi Griffiths excited by 'red hot' competition in race

Dewi Griffiths expects "red hot" competition in Saturday's Cardiff Cross Challenge in Llandaff Fields.

The race is the UK's only World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold Label Event and is in its 26th edition.

The field will include athletes from more than 10 different countries including running powerhouses Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, as well as UK talent.

"It's always one of the big races you look forward to every year," said Swansea Harriers runner Griffiths, 32.

"When you're facing some of the best runners in the world, it's really exciting. To have that opportunity on your doorstep in Wales is great.

"As a youngster this was a race I always enjoyed watching. Having these races will only help inspire the next generation."

The senior men's race will be run over 9,600m, the senior women's over 6,400m, while the 2023 edition includes the introduction of an Elite Mile.

The senior men's entrants for the longer distance are led by Kenya's Vincent Keter, the 2021 World U20 champion over 1500m and Joel Lillesso of Denmark, the 2023 European U20 champion over 5,000m and the European U20 record holder for 3,000m indoors.

"It's a world-standard race, at the front it'll be red hot with many nationalities taking part," said Griffiths, the eight-time Welsh Cross Country champion and 2014 Commonwealth Games representative.

"There's also a best of British and also the Gwent league in the race, that's more your south Wales and south west England clubs mainly.

"Some of the best athletes in the world will be there. I'm sure It'll be an exciting day and hopefully the weather will be kind."

In the senior women's race, Jenny Nesbitt (Pontypridd Roadents) and Cari Hughes (Cardiff Athletics) carry Welsh hopes against a field including Ethiopia's Likina Amebaw, the 2023 Cross Internacional Zornotza and Cross Das Amendoeiras Em Flor winner, as well as seven-time Hungarian national champion Lili Anna Vindics-Toth.

"It's probably the best field that the Cardiff Cross Challenge has ever assembled, from an international perspective and also a UK perspective," Nesbitt said.

"There's pretty much everybody and anybody here who wants to contest for a spot on the European team.

"To me it means quite a lot, I first raced it back on the old course. It was probably about 11 years ago at under-17s. At that point I didn't live in Cardiff, so it was a big adventure at the time, to whereas now it's my local race and it's fantastic that it's such a high-quality race."

The event is scheduled to get under way from 11:00 BST with the under-11 girls and will culminate with the 14:55 BST start of the senior men's race.