Britton defends title on way to Samokov

Britton defends title on way to Samokov
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Fionnuala Britton of Ireland finished tenth in the women's marathon at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich with a personal best time of 2:31:46.

Selection time is closing in for many nations ahead of next month's SPAR European Cross Country Championships and Fionnuala Britton showed the fine form she is in with victory on home soil at the weekend.

Ireland's Britton is a double European cross country champion and she warmed up for Samokov next month with a successful defence of her Inter County Senior Cross Country title in Dundalk on Sunday.

Britton won individual European gold in Velenje in 2011 and Budapest in 2012 - along with the team title in Hungary - and she broke away early to land her fifth county senior title by 75 seconds as she triumphed over 8km in 26:59.

The Irish team for the championships in Samokov is named on Tuesday and Britton is in good shape.

She told "It's races like this that make you love cross-country."

Next stop for her will be this weekend's Cross de lacier, a European Athletics permit meeting, in Leffrinckoucke.

Her teammate Paul Pollock also made a successful defence of the men's title as he won the 10km race in a final sprint in 30:40 to beat Mark Hanrahan in 30:42 and Michael Clohissey in 30:43.

Lido di Levico was the setting for Italy's final qualification race for Samokov at the 4th Cross della Valsugana where Patrick Nasti won the men's 9km in 26.31 from Nekagenet Crippa in 26:39 and Ahmed El Mazoury in 26:42.

In the women's 6.75m, Federica Del Buono triumphed in 22:37 from Federica Dal Ri, second in 22:40, and Valeria Roffino, third in 22:45. 

It was also the last chance for selection in Portugal at the 33rd Cross de Torres Vedras where, in her first race since her superb third at the New York Marathon earlier this month, Sara Moreira won the 7.5km in 26:07, a 37-second victory ahead of Leonor Carneiro with Ana M. Ferreira in third in 26:47.

Sara Moreira celebrating her third place finish at the New York Marathon on 2 November
Sara Moreira celebrating her third place finish at the New York Marathon on 2 November

In the men's 9.9km race, Eduardo Mbengani won in 28:09, from Pedro Ribeiro in 28:19 and Ricardo Dias in 28:23.

At the Darmstadt Cross, as Kenyan Cynthia Kosgei won the 6.75km race in 23:11, Germany's Melina Trankle was third in 23:40, a good performance ahead of her plans to run in the under-23 race in Samokov. In the under-23 8.5km men's race, Jannik Arbogast won in 27:06 from Bastian Grau in 27:06 while there was junior success for Amanal Petros, who won the 6.7km in 20:25, and Sarah Kistner, who won over 4.4 km in 15:00, to book their seats on the plane to Bulgaria.

French athletes battled for their spots in Samokov in the 9.39km race at the Cross le Maine Libre in Allonnes with Yassine Mandour, fourth in 27:11, Abdellatif Meftah, fifth in 27:23, and Florian Carvalho, sixth in 27:32, as Yomif Kejelcha, the world junior 5000m champion from Ethiopia, won in 27:00.