Ireland names full size team for SPAR European Cross Country Championships

Fionnuala McCormack
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Fionnuala McCormack (formerly Britton) won individual titles at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in 2011 and 2012

Hosts of the 2020 edition, Ireland will be fielding full teams in all six individual events, along with a mixed relay team, to Lisbon for this year’s SPAR European Cross Country Championships on 8 December.

The outstanding name on the Irish team is Fionnuala McCormack who will be making her 16th appearance at the championships. No female athlete has amassed more appearances in championship history with only Italy’s Gabriele De Nard (17) and Ukraine’s Sergiy Lebid (19) surpassing McCormack’s tally on the men’s side. 

From finishing 74th in the U20 race in 2001, McCormack won the individual senior title a decade later before successfully defending her title the following year, also leading Ireland to the team title. In total, McCormack has accrued eight top-10 finishes since 2007 and she will be in the hunt for an individual medal after winning her ninth Irish cross country title by nearly two minutes.

McCormack, who set a 2:26:47 PB in the Chicago Marathon in October to qualify for her fourth successive Olympics, is joined on the Irish team by world and European 1500m finalist Ciara Mageean. McCormack’s sister Una Britton has also earned her first Irish senior bib after finishing third at the Irish Cross Country Championships on Sunday.

The senior men’s team is headed by Irish cross country champion Liam Brady while the men’s U20 team features prospective individual medal contender Darragh McElhinney, the bronze medallist in the 5000m at the Boras 2019 European Athletics U20 Championships.

The full Irish team can be found here

Since the championships were first held in Alnwick in 1994, Ireland has won five gold medals from the SPAR European Cross Country Championships and 12 in total.