Ireland’s two-time former SPAR European Cross Country Championships senior women’s winner Fionnuala McCormack will make a record-breaking 15th appearance at the championships when she stands on the start line at this year’s event in Samorin, Slovakia, on Sunday 10 December.
McCormack, now 33, was named to the Irish team announced on Monday.
She opened her career at the championships when she finished a modest 74th in what was then the junior women’s race in 2001 but – missing only the 2004 and 2008 championships – she progressed to being the first woman to win back-to-back titles when she took her second individual victory in 2012, winning under her maiden name of Britton.
In recent years she has remained in contention for a medal but just finished off the podium in fourth, sixth, fourth and fifth places but the heavier going anticipated in Samorin could potentially play to her strength despite a loaded senior women’s field.
Athletics Ireland High Performance Director Paul McNamara said: “The European Cross Country Championships are of critical importance to Irish endurance running. We have an outstanding tradition at the ‘Euro Cross’ and we are certainly looking to build on that in the 2017 edition of the event. Athletes have been selected based on their preparedness to compete with the best in Europe and this team travels intent on adding to recent successes.”
Ireland has won 13 medals in the history of the championships and McCormack has also helped her country to senior women’s team gold in 2012 followed by team third places in 2014 and 2015.
This year’s Irish cross country champion Paul Pollock will lead the senior men’s team.
Ukraine's Serhiy Lebid holds the men's record for appearances, the nine-time European cross country champion competed in the first 19 editions of the championships.