BRITAIN’S EURO CROSS DOMINANCE
THIS Sunday the European Cross Country Championships takes place for the 25th time. A quarter of a century after it was first staged in Alnwick, the
‘Euro Cross’ is now celebrating its silver anniversary, whereas for the British team the event has consistently provided a golden feast of rich pickings.
With 61 gold, 48 silver and 40 bronze medals, the GB team comfortably tops the all-time medals table at the event. The next-best nations, France and Italy, have 150 medals combined, while the GB total tally is virtually the same with a mighty 149.
Often, every Brit in the squad
returns home with a medal of some description. All of which means the pages of AW are usually full of smiling athletes clutching medals.
The Dutch town of Tilburg is staging the event for the second time this weekend on a course that sits alongside a safari park. The last time it staged the Euro Cross – in 2005 – there were no under-23 races or relay. Tilburg 2005 was also the first Euro Cross for Andy Vernon, who took silver as a junior and is set to race in his 11th Euro Cross this weekend.
Back in 2005, Mo Farah was also only 21st in the men’s race (pictured right). But in keeping with the event’s reputation as a springboard for greater things, he improved to win Euro Cross gold the following year in Italy followed by track and marathon glory in more recent years.
Given this, Britain will look to maintain its traditional dominance at Tilburg 2018 while also providing an opportunity for the next generation of Farahs and Vernons to thrive. WITH Jon Ridgeon’s appointment as IAAF CEO
(News, p7) it means Brits occupy the two biggest positions in world athletics. Outside athletics, Ridgeon is a keen mountain climber, which means he is well placed to help the global governing body scale new heights. As a former director at AW, he’s also a friend of the magazine and we wish him luck with his new role.