The Dutch city of Tilburg will be staging the SPAR European Cross Country Championships for the second time in event history on 9 December 2018.
Not only did Tilburg play host to the 2005 European Cross Country Championships, the city is also home to the long-running International Warandecross, a European Athletics Cross Country Permit Meeting, traditionally held in late November.
Last year’s event acted as a de facto test run as the elite races were staged on the same course around the Beekse Bergen Safari Park which has been proposed for the 2018 European Cross Country Championships.
The Local Organising Committee has already started to unveil a comprehensive legacy programme encompassing four key aspects: engaging children and teaching them about the merits of a healthy lifestyle; refugee involvement through a volunteering programme; encouraging participation with the inclusion of a non-competitive fun run on the programme; and inclusivity with a relay event on the schedule for people with disabilities.
The organisers have also introduced a number of sustainability initiatives. All event promotion and communication will be distributed digitally and the official event hotels will all be within walking distance to and from the course in an effort to reduce emissions.
Last year’s European Cross Country Championships were staged in Samorin, Slovakia on 10 December in cold and windy conditions. Turks Kaan Kigen Ozbilen and Yasemin Can claimed the gold medals in the senior races while Great Britain topped the medal table with five gold medals and nine medals in total.
Dutch athletes have performed well in the senior women’s race with Lornah Kiplagat (2005), Hilda Kibet (2009) and Sifan Hassan (2015) claiming the individual titles in the senior women’s race. Their best showing in the senior men’s race was a silver medal from Kamiel Maase in 2001.