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Yelling - but politely

By IAAF Correspondent

10 February 2001 - Nottingham, UK - They did not quite hold hands as they chased a place at next month’s World Cross Country Championships but across the whole spectrum of sport this weekend there could not have been such friendly rivalry.

If last year at the Olympic Games in Sydney it was the America Clark sisters, this year it is the Yelling family.

Sister-in-laws Liz and Hayley Yelling dominated the 8km at the UK Championships in Nottingham to book a spot in the British team for Dublin—and no matter the prize, politeness was not forgotten.

Liz, who is married to Hayley’s brother Martin, who ran in the 4km race, was part of the British team which won a bronze medal in Marakesh in 1998 and with Paula Radcliffe at the height of her form, they look impressive enough to find themselves back on the podium on Ireland.

But in fierce rain, they showed that as much as winning is everything, manners do not have to be forgotten.

"During the race we didn’t talk to each other," said Liz. "But we did keep saying ‘Thank you’ when there were tight turns and we avoided bumping into each other, one allowing the other to go first."

Touching stuff.

But half a mile from home, after it looked likely that Hayley would have a more powerful kick, Liz took command, said ‘thank you and goodbye’ and ran away to victory in 28minutes, 28 seconds.

Hayley followed her home in 28.41mins with Tara Krzywicki third in 29.02mins.

The three earned automatic selection for Dublin, Britain’s other three places will be at the discretion of the team management but will naturally include Radcliffe, who is warm-weather training in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in preperation for a world event where she has won silver on two occasions.

But behind her, will be a team of strong competitors led by the Yelling girls.

Liz runs for the same club as Radcliffe, Bedford AC, and they train together when Britain’s No 1 long-distance runner is in the country.

Their story resembles the brilliant American family The Clarks—Hazel, Jearl and Helen, the two sisters and sister-in-law who finished in the first three in the US 800m Olympic trials last year.

Martin Yelling has the same difficulty about who to cheer on as did the men of the Clark family.

"I am shouting for the Yelling girls," he said, diplomatically.

Both girls are school teachers—Liz physical education, Hayley maths—and when they gather as a family, it is not solely sport on the agenda.

"We are great friends and when we go out, we don’t just talk about athletics!," said Liz.

Liz and Hayley were in the first two from start to finish in Nottingham and now hope to be together again in Dublin—on the winner’s rostrum.

Nottingham report from UK Athletics
Senior Men – 12km

Glynn TROMANS (running as a wild card), who missed the European Cross Country Championships in December because of a viral infection and who only decided to run this morning after recovering from illness, proved he is back to top form by cruising to victory in the men’s 12km race. He took the lead after the first of the three laps and won comfortably by 13 seconds, ahead of defending Champion Keith CULLEN (Essex), who just held off Dominic BANNISTER (North East Counties).

1 Glynn TROMANS Coventry Godiva Harriers 38:11
2. Keith CULLEN Essex 38:24
3. Dominic BANNISTER North East Counties 38:25
4. Matt SMITH Hertfordshire 38:32
5. Alan BUCKLEY Nottinghamshire 38:43
6. Nick COMERFORD South Wales 38:50
7. Allen GRAFFIN Kent 38:52
8. Billy FARQUHARSON Nottinghamshire 39:08

Senior Women – 8km

Liz YELLING (Bedfordshire) won her second Inter-Counties title in four years, powering away from her sister-in-law, Hayley YELLING (Middlesex), in the last 1.5km of the 8km race. Reigning Champion Tara KRYZWICKI (Leicestershire) finished a gallant third, still suffering from a chest infection which had prevented her training properly for the past two weeks.

1. Liz YELLING Bedfordshire 28:28
2. Hayley YELLING Middlesex 28:41
3. Tara KRYZWICKI Leicestershire 29:02
4. Angela NEWPORT Hampshire 29:16
5. Ellen LEGGATE Cambridgeshire 29:23
6. Debbie SULLIVAN Essex 29:25

Senior Men – 4km
Spencer BARDEN (wild card), won the Senior men’s 4km race for the first time, out sprinting Glen STEWART of Scotland and the defending Champion Rob WHALLEY.

1. Spencer BARDEN Belgrave Harriers 12:25
2. Glen STEWART Scotland 12:29
3. Rob WHALLEY Midlands 12:32
4. Angus MACLEAN South of England 12:34
5. Christian STEPHENSON Wales 12:36
6. Chris THOMPSON South of England 12:38

Senior Women – 4km
Helen PATTINSON led all the way to retain the women’s 4km title which she also won in 1999. The Olympian finished 16 seconds clear of Jenny BROWN, who in turn was nine seconds clear of third placed Juliet POTTER, who was making her Senior debut after leading the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Junior Women’s Team to Gold medals at the European Cross Country Championships in December.

1. Helen PATTINSON North of England 14:11
2. Jenny BROWN South of England 14:27
3. Juliet POTTER Midlands 14:36
4. Amanda PARKINSON North of England 14:40
5. Lucy WRIGHT North of England 14:42
6. Catherine BERRY South of England 14:48

Junior Men – 8km
The Junior men’s race was won by overwhelming favourite Mohamed FARAH (Middlesex) who overcame a flu bug to edge ahead of surprise Silver medallist, 17 year old Steven ABLITT from Lincolnshire. In third place, only a couple of strides behind came another surprise, Ed JACKSON from Dorset to clinch the final guaranteed place in the World Cross Country Team.

1. Mohamed FARAH Middlesex 26:21
2. Steven ABLITT Lincolnshire 26:23
3. Ed JACKSON Dorset 26:24
4. Paul SHAW Greater Manchester 26:28
5. Andrew BADDELEY Merseyside 26:30
6. Adam BOWDEN Hertfordshire 26:37

Junior Women – 6km
Louise DAMEN (Dorset) the Under 17 Champion of two years ago, was the surprise but convincing winner of the Junior Women’s race. She finished 14 seconds ahead of Emma WARD (Staffordshire), who was in last year’s Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Junior Team at the World Cross Country Championships. The reigning Champion, Scotland’s Collette FAGAN, finished third, a further 18 seconds adrift.

1. Louise DAMEN Dorset 22:45
2. Emma WARD Staffordshire 22:59
3. Collette FAGAN Scotland West 23:17
4. Faye FULLERTON Essex 23:50
5. Henrietta FREEMAN Kent 24:07
6. Catherine HARE Yorkshire 24:22