Fresh from a stint at high altitude in Dullstroom in South Africa, Konstanze Klosterhalfen and Alina Reh will go head-to-head on home soil in the senior women’s 6.6km at the Darmstadt Cross, a European Athletics Cross Country Permit Meeting, on Sunday (26).
This race acts as one of the qualifying events ahead of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Samorin, Slovakia on 10 December. Klosterhalfen and Reh have performed with distinction at U20 level and while they would have been competitive in the senior women’s race next month, both of them are targeting the U23 race in Samorin.
"They have trained very well in Dullstroom - especially Alina who has taken a big step forward," commented national coach Henning von Papen to Leichtathletik.de. "We want to bring home a gold medal this time in the U23 team race. We have to wait and see how strong the international competition is but we want at least one medal.”
Klosterhalfen has won the last two editions of the U20 race at the European Cross Country Championships and has since made a seamless transition into the senior ranks, finishing her track season with a German 3000m record of 8:29.89 in Birmingham - her first national senior record of her career thus far - and a 1500m lifetime best of 3:58.92 in Berlin.
It was then Alina Reh’s turn to add her name into the record books with some excellent performances on the roads in the autumn. Reh set a German U23 half marathon record of 71:23 in Ulm before winning the Great 10K Berlin in 31:38 - another national U23 record.
From youth to experience, the women’s senior field in Darmstadt also includes multiple national champion Sabrina Mockenhaupt while another leading contender is Kenya’s Betty Chepkwony.
The leading contender in the senior men’s 9km in Darmstadt is Amanal Petros, who is also targeting the U23 race in Samorin. He has finished third and fourth in the last two editions and has one more chance to improve before moving into the senior ranks.
In the U20 women's 4.4km, European U20 3000m champion Delia Sclabas from Switzerland will face Germany's Lisa Oed, who won the 3000m steeplechase title at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Grosseto.
✅ Euro U18 1500m champ
✅ Euro U18 3000m champ
✅ Euro U20 3000m champ
A brilliant gun-to-tape 3000m win by 16-year-old Delia Sclabas! pic.twitter.com/XOFDFDw82I
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) July 22, 2017