Not since 2010 has Portugal won the senior women’s title at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships but they will be strong contenders again for that accolade in Tilburg in the Netherlands on 9 December.
Eight years ago Jessica Augusto won the individual senior title on home soil in Albufeira, leading the hosts to a comprehensive victory in the team race as well. Now 36, Augusto looks set to represent Portugal at the European Cross Country Championships again some two decades after making her debut in the U20 race in 1998.
Augusto missed the European Championships through injury but she had a good performance on this terrain at the start of the season, finishing second at the ECCC Cross Country in Mira and leading Sporting Clube de Portugal to the team title.
Augusto will be joined on the Portuguese team in Tilburg by her clubmates Sara Moreira and Ines Monteiro. Moreira won the European half marathon title in Amsterdam 2016 while Monteiro, 38, won an individual bronze medal at the European Cross Country Championships in 2008 and is a former U20 winner.
Fresh from her 2:25:27 PB in the Berlin Marathon, Carla Salome Rocha has also been named on the senior women’s team while four-time European cross country silver and bronze medallist Ana Dulce Felix could make her return to championship record after maternity leave if she can demonstrate sufficient form ahead of Tilburg.
Fourth in the 1500m at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Mariana Machado has also been selected for the U20 race. The 17-year-old was 24th in the U20 in Samorin, Slovakia last December but was an impressive runner-up for Team Europe at the Great Edinburgh XCountry in January.
After Tilburg, the SPAR European Cross Country Championships will be heading to the Portuguese capital of Lisbon in 2019.