The highlight of December from a continental perspective was certainly the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, on 8 December.
Not surprisingly, the top performers across the ages in the Serbian capital feature prominently in the list of this month’s nominees but there are also candidates who made their mark in the early meetings of the indoor season and also in road races.
Consequently, European Athletics is consequently pleased to announce that athletes from 14 different countries have been nominated for the December European Athlete of the Month award.
At the end of each month, a panel of experts produces a short list of the outstanding athletes and performances achieved by European athletes during that month, which is then mailed to the European athletics media and thousands of fans who have signed up to receive news from European Athletics.
The European Athlete of the Month fan voting takes place through our Facebook page, while members of the media can cast their vote on our website.
The public, media and a group of expert statisticians cast their votes for the European Athlete of the Month with each category counting as 33.3 per cent of the vote.
For example, the winner of each poll will be awarded 10 points, second 9 points, etc. and the athlete with the most points after the three different polls have been counted will be declared the winner.
In the unlikely event of a tie, Hansjörg Wirz, the president of European Athletics, will have the casting vote.
The voting will close on 20 January at noon CET.
The European Athlete of the Month initiative was launched in January 2007 and is designed to recognise outstanding performers at all levels of the sport in Europe.
No athlete who has previously served a two-year doping ban can be nominated for the European Athlete of the Month.
Click here to cast your fan vote.
Ali Kaya TUR (cross country): followed up his 5000m and 10,000 victories at the European Athletics Junior Championships this summer with his third gold medal of 2013 when he took the junior men’s title at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships.
Ihor Hlavan UKR (walking): having just missed out on a medal when finishing fourth at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, he produced one of the fastest European performances ever indoors over 10,000m when he clocked 39:41.3 in Sumy on 22 December.
Ladislav Prasil CZE (shot put): the 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships bronze medallist produced an effort of 20.62m in the Czech city of Olomouc on 20 December to lead the world this winter.
Marc Tur ESP (walking): produced the fastest 10km time on the roads time by a junior in the world this year, when he clocked 40:17 in the Madrid suburb of Getafe on 15 December.
Patrick Muller GER (shot put): the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships gold medallist sent his implement out to a world youth best of 21.56m with the 5kg shot in Neubrandenburg on 22 December.
Pieter-Jan Hannes BEL (cross country): caused one of the big surprises in Belgrade when he convincingly won the men’s under-23 race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships by five seconds, and he’s still young enough to defend his title in 2014.
Renaud Lavillenie FRA (pole vault): the reigning Olympic and European champion opened his indoor season at the Perche Elite Tour meeting in the Parisian suburb of Aulnay Sous Bois with 5.93m on 21 December. No one other than Lavillenie has gone higher in 2013.
Roberto Alaiz ESP (cross country): although not part of the Spanish team that won the European Cross Country Championships senior men’s team gold medal, nevertheless he won at the good quality Quintanar de la Orden cross country meeting on 1 December.
Sergey Shubenkov RUS (60m hurdles): the 2012 European Athletics Championships 110m hurdles winner ran 7.65 to lead the world this winter for the indoor distance at the Bulatov memorial meeting in the Russian city of Omsk on 25 December.
Yemanenerhan Crippa ITA (cross country): having just turned 17, he finished seventh in the junior men’s race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships, and was the only man in the top 10 who will still be a junior in 2014.
Alina Reh GER (cross country): still only 16, with another three years of eligibility in the junior ranks and as one of the youngest runners in the race, she finished an outstanding fifth in the SPAR European Cross Country Championships junior women’s race.
Amela Terzic SRB (cross country): after her SPAR European Cross County Championships under-23 silver medal, she impressed with a win over 5.1km in 16.38 in chilly conditions at the Peuerbach New Year’s Eve race in Austria.
Cindy Billaud FRA (60m hurdles): the 2013 IAAF World Championships 100m finalist ran 8.12 for the indoor distance in Mayenne on 22 December, a world-leading time this winter.
Dulce Felix POR (distance running): the 2012 European Athletics Championships 10,000m gold bronze medallist got the bronze at the European Cross Country Championships and then won the famous Sao Silvestre de Lisboa 10km in 32:22 on 28 December.
Emel Dereli TUR (shot put): achieved two world youth indoor bests in successive weeks, reaching 17.31m in Istanbul on 21 December and then 17.58m at the same venue exactly a week later, the latter being a world-leading mark this winter by a putter of any age.
Emelia Gorecka GBR (cross country): brought her junior career to a close with her fourth successive European Cross Country Championships medal and regained the title she won in 2011 when she won the junior women’s race by 10 seconds in Belgrade.
Holly Bleasdale GBR (pole vault): the 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships gold medallist got her winter campaign off to a good start with a 4.61m clearance in the French town of Villeurbanne on 14 December, the best performance in the world this winter.
Sarah Collins IRL (5000m): after seventh place in the 2013 European Athletics Junior Championships 5000m, she made a big improvement to run 15:41.00 in Boston on 7 December, the fastest time ever indoors by a European junior.
Sifan Hassan NED (cross country): had several top-class victories during December including fulfilled her role as favourite for the women’s under-23 race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships when she won by six seconds in Belgrade.
Sophie Duarte FRA (cross country): became the third French woman to win the SPAR European Cross Country Championships senior women’s title after she impressively pulled away on the last 1.5km lap to win over 8km by five seconds.