Cross country as a sport has its birth in Europe. The EA Cross Country Championships are an event that I have put on my bucket list.
Paris 1924 Olympic cross country, photo courtesy of Olympics.org
The countdown is on for the much-anticipated SPAR European Cross Country Championships which will take place on the purpose-built cross country course at the Sport Ireland Campus in Fingal-Dublin on 12 December 2021.
This will be the second time the event has taken place in Dublin following on from the 2009 SPAR European Cross Country Championships which took place in Santry. The Irish capital also staged the World Cross Country Championships in 2002 when Paula Radcliffe successfully defended her senior long course title and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele won his first of many global titles.
Ireland has enjoyed a rich history of success at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships from Catherina McKiernan’s gold medal-winning performance at the inaugural championships in Alnwick 1994 to the most recent medal haul in Lisbon two years ago when Efrem Gidey and Stephanie Cotter won individual bronze medals in the U20 men and U23 women’s races respectively.
Cotter also led the U23 women to team silver while former two-time individual champion Fionnuala McCormack guided the senior women’s team to another superb silver to record one of Ireland’s most successful championships to date.
Tickets for the 2021 SPAR European Cross Country Championships will be made available to purchase through the championship website on 1 November. The online ticket price for adults is â‚¬8 (plus processing fee) and children under the age of 16 go free. Tickets will also be available to purchase on the day for â‚¬10.
Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee Liam Hennessey commented: “We’ve had the honour of hosting the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in 2009 and the legacy left by the event is highlighted by the numerous individual and team medals won at the championships in subsequent years.
“Hosting this year’s SPAR European Cross Country Championships will be another huge honour and we look forward to welcoming the best cross country runners from across Europe to Fingal, Dublin later this year as they will battle it out to be crowned the European champion.”
The course for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships will be trialled at the Autumn Open International which takes place on 17 October, the first significant fixture of the Irish cross country season in the build-up to the showcase continental event on 12 December.
The event will be streamed live through the European Athletics website and for the first time in event history, all seven races will be televised live on Irish television.
The timetable for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships can be found here.