GB & NI team announced for European Cross Country Championships

Emelia Gorecka

A 36-strong GB & NI team has been announced for the European Cross Country Championships in Samokov, Bulgaria on Sunday 14 December.

Following her impressive victory at the Liverpool Cross Challenge on Saturday, Gemma Steel (handicap -2.6) will lead the senior women’s team with the aim of upgrading the silver and bronze medals she has won on the previous two editions of the event. Emelia Gorecka (handicap -1.2), who has won the junior European Cross title two out of the last three years, finished second behind Steel in Liverpool and will be looking to continue her strong form as she steps up to the U23’s in Samokov.


Kate Avery (handicap -0.8) who became the first British woman to win the NCAA’s last month will join the senior team for the first time after a fourth place finish last year in the U23’s. Meanwhile, cross country stalwart Stephanie Twell (handicap -0.9) will make her sixth appearance for GB & NI at the European Cross Country Championships.


Scottish duo Callum Hawkins (handicap -5.3) and Andrew Butchart (handicap -5.2), who occupied the top two spots at Sefton Park in a closely fought battle will head to Bulgaria in the U23 and senior men’s teams respectively. Just five seconds separated the top three in Liverpool, but it was Kilbarchan’s Hawkins who came out on top two seconds ahead of his countryman and a further three seconds ahead of Stockport Harriers’ Ross Millington (handicap -5.5), who will join up with the senior team in Bulgaria.


Jessica Judd (handicap -1.4), who was an 800m European and Commonwealth track finalist this year, will look to continue her impressive return to the cross country scene in Bulgaria following an eleven second victory in the U20 race at the Liverpool Cross Challenge on Saturday.


Croydon Harriers’ Peter Chambers (handicap -2.7) will make his GB & NI debut in two weeks’ time, which will come after being the first eligible athlete to cross the line in Merseyside on the weekend. Vale Royal AC teammates Michael Vennard (handicap -1.6) and Elliot Bowker (handicap -4.0) will also make their first appearances in their country’s colours.


The GB & NI team will be looking to replicate their performance in Belgrade twelve months ago, which saw them top the medal table with nine medals including five gold.


Martin Rush, the team leader for the GB & NI team in Samokov said: “There were a number of promising performances in last weekend’s Liverpool Cross Challenge and I’m sure with the right preparation over the course of the next two weeks, we’ll see a strong showing in Samokov.


“Belgrade was a very successful championships for the team last year and we will be looking to continue GB & NI’s recent success at the European Cross Country Championships in Bulgaria.”


GB & NI team for the European Cross Country Championships in Samokov, Bulgaria on Sunday 14 December:

Senior Men


Andrew Butchart (handicap -5.2)

Luke Caldwell (handicap -5.6)

Adam Hickey (handicap -4.9)

Tom Lancashire (handicap -5.3)

Ross Millington (handicap -5.5)

Tom Wade (handicap -2.0)


Senior Women


Kate Avery (handicap -0.8)

Lily Partridge (handicap 0.0)

Sonia Samuels (handicap -0.2)

Gemma Steel (handicap -2.6)

Stephanie Twell (handicap -0.9)

Elle Vernon (handicap -0.7)


U23 Men


Jonathan Davies (handicap -4.0)

William Gray (handicap -4.1)

Callum Hawkins (handicap -5.3)

Jonathan Hay (handicap -5.7)

Charlie Hulson (handicap -4.1)

Marc Scott (handicap -2.7)

U23 Women


Rhona Auckland (handicap -0.6)

Emelia Gorecka (handicap -1.2)

Maryse Haynes (handicap 0.7)

Kate Holt (handicap 1.2)

Rebecca Murray (handicap 1.5)

Alice Wright (handicap 20.8)


U20 Men


Elliot Bowker (handicap -4.0)

Peter Chambers (handicap -2.7)

Jonathan Glen (handicap -3.4)

Jac Hopkins (handicap -3.2)

Michael Vennard (handicap -1.6)

Kieran Wood (handicap -3.7)


U20 Women


Amy Griffiths (handicap 0.1)

Jessica Judd (handicap -1.4)

Phoebe Law (handicap 2.0)

Georgina Outten (handicap 1.0)

Becky Straw (handicap 3.4)

Lydia Turner (handicap 0.7)