Hicks and Keith seal individual golds as British team seal 8 medals in Dublin

Hicks wins

Individual gold medals for Megan Keith (handicap -0.8) and Charles Hicks (handicap -6.6) and a second consecutive mixed realy title led the way as the 40-strong British contingent topped the medal table at the 2021 European Cross Country Championships with five golds in Fingal-Dublin

Keith continued her stellar cross-country form and took the women’s under-20 contest by the scruff of the neck and held on in the closing stages for the British team’s first individual gold in the event since 2017.

Hicks led the men’s under-23 race almost from gun to tape and had to produce a huge effort in the final incline to hold off Darragh McElhinney (IRE) and Ruben Querinjean (LUX) for his first individual medal in a British vest.

Team golds for the under-20 men and senior women in the first and last races of the day added to the gold rush, while team captain Alex Bell’s (handicap -1.7) mammoth third leg propelled the British mixed relay quartet from sixth to first heading into the final lap, allowing Ben West (handicap -5.5) to bring home the gold and defend the British crown in the event.

There were also team medals for the men’s U23s (silver), women’s U23s (bronze) and women’s U20s (bronze).

Keith’s flawless performance secured Great Britain’s first individual gold medal of the championships, powering to victory in 13:41, largely owed to a powerful finish after cagey opening circuits.

The Inverness athlete found herself at the front of the pack early on and opened up a small lead from Germany’s Emma Heckel around halfway, but the pair continued to jostle for the lead entering the final circuit. With just under half a lap to go, Keith hit the accelerator and pushed clear of the chasing pack, hanging on up the final incline to win Britain’s first individual Euro Cross medal since 2017.

After victory, she said: “To be honest I don’t know what happened out there. I was leading when I didn’t necessarily want to lead it. I knew I had a massive group behind me so I never thought I would win it.

“The best I hoped for was top five and coming away with a team medal – winning wasn’t in the game plan. It was amazing when I crossed the line. I don’t think I’ve ever run so quickly to a finish line in my life. Now was the time to do it!”

Read the full report here