SAMORIN (SVK, Dec 10): The 24th edition of the SPAR European CC Championships and first in Slovakia ended with success for Great Britain with 5 gold medals and 9 bronzes. In total 12 countries got medals and 20 out of 37 had a top 8 position. Here Britain had 83 points ahead of France 71 and Spain third 59 with Turkey fourth 56. More than 1000 spectators followed the event on a sunny, but freezing (temperature minus 1 degree of Celsius) and windy Sunday. Can and Ingebrigtsen defended their titles from Chia 2016. Mixed relay debuted, the participation was a record one with 561 participants at the end of the day. In total 551 runners from 8 countries took part in the open race after the championships programme on the same course. Slovak Jan Filip Kotora won men in 21:09 at 6.28 km. Women winner was Dutch guest and Rio marathon Olympian Andrea Deelstra with 22:14.
Event by event reports
Men’s senior – After sitting off the pace in the early stages, Turkey’s Kaan Kigen Ozbilen came though in the second-half to become the fourth successive Kenyan-born Turkish winner of this race. He clocked 29:45 ahead of European indoor 3000m champion Adel Mechaal (29:54) and Brit Andrew Butchart (30:00). Reigning champion Aras Kaya from Turkey fell in the opening stages but came back to finish seventh in 30:14 while medal contender Dewi Griffiths was a DNF due to injury. Team places: TUR, ESP, GBR.
Women’s senior – Yasemin Can easily defended her title in 26:48 ahead of Sweden’s Meraf Bahta (27:03) and Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal (27:04). Team places: GBR, ROU, TUR.
Men’s U23 – The French took a surprise one-two with two-time U20 fourth placer Jimmy Gressier winning from Hugo Hay, 24:35 to 24:37. European U23 5000m champion Yemaneberhan Crippa was third in 24:42 while European U23 10,000m champion Carlos Mayo was only fifth in 24:46. Team places: FRA, BEL, GBR.
Women’s U23 – The outcome from the Darmstadt Cross was repeated with Alina Reh defeating Konstanze Klosterhalfen, 20:22 to 20:25. Jessica Judd was an isolated third in 20:45 but led the Brits to team gold. Team places: GBR, GER, TUR.
Men’s U20 – Reigning champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway relied on his sprint finish as he defended his title in 18:39 by two seconds from Turkey’s Ramazan Barbaros and France’s Louis Gilavert (18:45). Team places: ESP, FRA, TUR.
Women’s U20 – After silver in 2015 and bronze in 2016, Harriet Knowles-Jones strode to victory in 13:48 by a comfortable margin from Hungary’s Lili Anna Toth (13:59) and Germany’s Mariam Dattke (14:03). Team places: GBR, ITA, ESP.
Mixed relay – Tom Marshall anchored the British team (Melissa Courtney, Cameron Boyek and Sarah McDonald) to the inaugural mixed relay title in 18:24. Jakub Holusa finished quickly to claim silver ahead of the Spaniards in 18:25 to ensure the Czech Republic’s first ever medal in European Cross Country Championships history.