BRI­TAIN’S EURO CROSS DOM­I­NANCE

Athletics Weekly - - Contents - Ja­son Hen­der­son, edi­tor

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.

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