Lancashire leads Brits at European Cross Country Championships

Tom Lancashire

Tom Lancashire (handicap -5.7) has been named captain of the British Athletics’ team for the European Cross Country Championships today and will lead the 36-strong team in Hyères, France.

On receiving the call to confirm his selection as captain, Lancashire commented: “I was a bit shocked really; I never expected to be chosen. I’m very happy to be selected and I know I have a lot of experience competing on an international level so I will be able to share that with my teammates.

“We are always in with a good shout of winning medals. Down all the age-groups, we have always traditionally had strong teams. From a senior men’s perspective, it is going to be interesting – it is very strong at the top end of the race. We have good depth in the team with plenty of experience so if we could get a team medal that would be really great.”

On what he may add to his speech on Saturday: “I’ve got a lot of experience racing at the top level, not only in cross country but on the track as well. I can talk about my approach to competing against the best guys in the world so that is where I have the most to offer the team.”

The Bolton athlete will join Trials winner Ross Millington (handicap -5.4), Dewi Griffiths (handicap -5.8), Jonny Hay (handicap -4.0), Adam Hickey (handicap -5.4) and Jonathan Taylor (handicap -5.5) in the senior men’s team competing over the 10,117m course in the south of France.

2014 European Cross Country Champion Gemma Steel (handicap -2.4) will spearhead the senior women’s team who will aim to regain their title from Samokov. Last year’s silver medallist Kate Avery (handicap -1.4) will once again be battling to get back on the podium after an impressive run in Liverpool a fortnight ago. Steph Twell (handicap -1.7) will make her tenth appearance at the championships, a few weeks after winning a test event on this course in Hyères.

Alongside the senior teams, there will be a full complement on men’s and women’s U23 and junior squads. Laura Muir (handicap -1.9) will be one to watch in the U23 race as the British team seek to top the medal table for the 13th consecutive year.

The junior women’s race will offer Britain the first opportunity to win their 50th individual or team gold medal in the championships history. With four members of the team making their European cross debuts, it will be an exciting opportunity for the young squad.

Lancashire shares his words of wisdom for the debutants on the team: “I would tell them not to be overawed by the occasion; it is like any other race. The competitors on the other teams are in exactly the same position. You have to approach it exactly the same, you have all deserved to be here on merit so you have earned it.”

Alice Wright has withdrawn from the women’s U23 team due to an Achilles injury and has been replaced by Calli Thackery (handicap 0.5).

The event will be live on the BBC Red Button from 09:25 with a highlights package at 16:15 on BBC Two later in the afternoon. 

The British Athletics’ team for the European Cross Country Championships in Hyères, France on Sunday 13 December 2015:

Senior men

Dewi Griffiths (handicap -5.8)

Jonny Hay (handicap -4.0)

Adam Hickey (handicap -5.4)

Tom Lancashire (handicap -5.7)

Ross Millington (handicap -5.4)

Jonathan Taylor (handicap -5.5)


Senior women

Kate Avery (handicap -1.4)

Lauren Howarth (handicap -0.4)

Sonia Samuels (handicap -0.8)

Gemma Steel (handicap -2.4)

Steph Twell (handicap -1.7)

Elle Vernon (handicap -0.7)


U23 men

Jacob Allen (handicap -5.0)

Jonathan Davies (handicap -5.6)

Richard Goodman (handicap -4.5)

Henry Pearce (handicap -3.9)

Marc Scott (handicap -4.2)

Luke Traynor (handicap -4.0)


U23 women

Beth Hawling (handicap 1.7)

Laura Muir (handicap -1.9)

Jenny Nesbitt (handicap -0.2)

Madeleine Murray (handicap -0.8)

Rebecca Murray (handicap 0.2)

Calli Thackery (handicap 0.5)


Junior men

Ben Dijkstra (handicap -3.8)

Oliver Fox (handicap -3.3)

Mahamed Mahamed (handicap -3.7)

Chris Olley (handicap -3.9)

Joe Steward (handicap -3.1)

Alex Yee (handicap -4.3)


Junior women

Grace Baker (handicap 1.4)

Bobby Clay (handicap -0.8)

Amy Griffiths (handicap 0.1)

Harriet Knowles-Jones (handicap -0.5)

Sabrina Sinha (handicap 1.4)

Mari Smith (handicap 1.4)