On the same course at the Beekse Bergen Safari Resort in Tilburg which will stage the SPAR European Cross Country Championships on 9 December, Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa and Switzerland’s Fabienne Schlumpf put down impressive markers on Sunday (25) in their pursuit of gold.
Both triumphed in the senior races at the 60th staging of the Warandecross, a European Athletics Cross Country Permit Meeting, setting the tone for what lies ahead in the final major athletics event of 2018.
Crippa, 22, is no stranger to success at the European Cross Country Championships, with four individual medals already to his name in his fine career which includes two gold medals in the U20 races.
Twelve months ago in Samorin he was third in the U23 race, seven seconds behind French winner Jimmy Gressier, and he backed up that superb ability by also winning bronze in the 10,000m at the European Championships in Berlin in August.
In the build-up to his final major competition in the U23 ranks, Crippa utilised his trademark finish to won over the 10.3km course on Sunday in 29:23 ahead of Rinas Akhmadeyev in 29:25 with Sweden’s defending champion Napoleon Solomon third in 29:32.
Schlumpf, 28, was seventh in the senior women’s race in Samorin twelve months ago as a precursor to an excellent summer campaign on the track, winning silver in the 3000m steeplechase in Berlin.
Her desire will be a second podium finish of the season at the European Cross Country Championships and she easily regained the title she won two years ago with victory over the 8.3km course in 26:37 - a 13-second success from home star Jip Vastenburg - who booked her spot in the Dutch team for the championships - with Poland's Anna Gosk third in 27:22.
Fabienne Schlumpf (@schlumpfabienne) prepared for #Tilburg2018 with a comfortable win at the Warandecross on Sunday.
Watch highlights of her victory on the same course which will be used for the European Cross Country Championships next month. pic.twitter.com/NTbf0Eh5AY
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) November 27, 2018
Gosk was a particularly conspicuous entrant in the senior women’s race as she was donning a santa hat after losing a pre-race wager with her coach.
The home focus was on Maureen Koster who has already been pre-selected for Tilburg but the former world indoor 3000m fourth-placer dropped out as a precaution.
There was a further win for Switzerland in the women’s U20 event over 4.3km as European U20 3000m champion Delia Sclabas triumphed in 14:00 while the Netherlands’ celebrated glory in the men’s U20 6.3km race as Luuk Maas won in 18:48.
Burkard punches ticket for Tilburg with victory in Darmstadt
All eyes are on the forthcoming team selections for Tilburg and at the European Athletics Cross Country Permit event at the Darmstadt Criss on Sunday, Elena Burkard secured her place on the team again.
Twelve months ago Elena Burkard was fifth in Tilburg and she booked her place on the team in Tilburg with victory in 22:06 in the senior women’s 6.6km course, beating Anna Gehring - second in 22:11 and a big contender for the U23 race next month - and Fabienne Amrhein in 22:21.
The men’s senior 9km was won by Samuel Fitwi who was impressive in defeating a field in 26:57, winning by an eye-catching 15 seconds ahead of Florian Orth. Like Gehring, Fitwi will contest the U23 event in Tilburg where he will face the likes of Crippa and Gressier.
in the women’s U20 4.6km, there was success for Lisa Oed, the European U20 3000m steeplechase champion, who won in 14:31.
At the Skanderborg Cross in Denmark on Saturday (24), European U23 3000m steeplechase champion Anna Emilie Moller maintained her fine form ahead of Tilburg by winning the 8km race in 29:39 from Maja All in 29:45.
Moller will be targeting the U23 race in Tilburg next month and she will arrive with a string of victories and podium finishes under her belt. In the men’s 8km race, Mikkel Dahl-Jessen won in 25:12, three seconds clear of Peter Glans.
Arter and Millington defeat strong domestic opposition in Liverpool
At the British European Cross Country Championships Trials in Liverpool on Saturday, Ross Millington and Charlotte Arter raced to victories against strong opposition ahead of Tilburg.
On a hard and fast course, Millington upped the tempo in the closing stages to seal his ticket to Tilburg in 28:00 in the senior men’s 9.8km, winning by four seconds from Nick Goolab.
Arter, too, triumphed by four seconds over 8.1km as she won in 26:10 from Verity Ockenden. Former European U23 cross country champion Jessica Piasecki was third, also in 26:14, with Melissa Courtney fourth in 26:16. European U20 1500m champion Jake Heyward and Cari Hughes secured victories in the U20 races.
Two years ago in Chia, Belgium’s Isaac Kimeli won U23 gold and his preparations for Tilburg were given a good test on Sunday in Roeselare, winning the senior men’s 9.4km at the Structabo CrossCup 9.4m race in 27:51 by one second from Robin Hendrix. In the women’s race, Nina Lauwert triumphed in 21:05 over 6.25km.
In Ancona, Italy’s 2014 European marathon champion Daniele Meucci returned to winning ways after illness and injury by winning the senior men’s 10km at the Cross Valmusone di Osimo in 29:44. Francesca Tommasi took the senior women's 7km in 24:01.