It has been a busy few days of team selections for next month’s SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Hyères and this weekend is one of the final chances athletes have of qualifying.
France and Spain stage European Athletics Cross Country Permit Meetings on Sunday, the Belgian team will be named after the Crosscup van West-Vlaanderen in Roeselare and the British Athletics Cross Challenge in Liverpool is their official trials event.
Cross de L’Acier in Leffrinckoucke, will decide the last runner in the French men’s senior team (all other spots are taken in every age group) while Alcobendas stages the Cross Internacional de la Constitucuion de Alcobendas in Spain.
Louise Carton has already had fine success in the Crosscup series this winter and she has another tough examination of her credentials ahead of Hyères on 13 December when she faces fellow Belgians Almensh Belete and Veerle Dejaeghere.
The Belgian men will also look to be a threat in France and on Sunday Isaac Kimeli, Jeroen D'Hoedt and Koen Naert are set to meet leading Kenyan Alex Kibet, who won the Crosscup v.d. Provincie Antwerpen in Mol at the start of the month.
Britain topped the medal table in Samokov with nine in 2014, their trials will be as competitive as ever and it will revive memories of the brilliant senior women's race at last year's SPAR European Cross Country Championships.
Gemma Steel took the title from Kate Avery in a dramatic, last-ditch success as they both finished in 28:27 and they will be looking to seal their places in the team again on Saturday - and who knows, it could be another sensational confrontation between them in Hyères.
The Dutch have named their team for the championships and it includes the European 1500m champion and 2013 European under-23 cross country champion Sifan Hassan.
She is joined in their senior women’s team by Maureen Koster, Andrea Deelstra and Ruth van der Meijden, while 12 months on from finishing seventh in Samokov, Khalid Choukoud leads their senior men’s team of Michel Butter, Roy Hoornweg, Gert Jan Wassink and Jurjen Polderman.
A third EA event takes place this weekend, also in Spain, with the Maraton Internacional de San Sebastian, a European Athletics Road Area Permit Race.