As a steeplechase specialist, Denmark’s Anna-Emilie Moller knows all about tackling barriers. It is why she has an impressive record when it comes to the difficult surfaces which cross country can bring, as she proved in Reykjavik on Saturday (10), on the road to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg.
Moller, 21, triumphed in the senior women’s race at the Nordic Cross Country Championships, a major stepping stone ahead of the focal point of the continental cross country campaign in Tilburg in less than a month’s time on 9 December.
Having finished seventh on her debut in the U23 race last year and second in the U20 race in 2016 behind Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, Moller will be eyeing a medal in the Netherlands to complement her already impressive list of accolades.
Here she took the senior title in 27:34, a victory by seven seconds from Sweden’s Lisa Havell with teammate Sara Christiansson third in 27:44.
Since 2015, Moller has been an impressive performer in major continental age-group events, winning silver (5000m) and bronze (3000m) at the 2015 European Athletics U20 Championships in Eskilstuna and gold in the 3000m steeplechase at the 2017 European Athletics U23 Championships, a title which she is eligible to defend in 2019.
Sweden’s Amanuel Gergis won the senior men’s race in 28:55 while in the U20 events, Norway’s Hakon Stavik took the men’s title in 19:57 and Finland’s Moona Korkealaakso won the women’s event in 16:53.
Avery’s comeback gathers pace in Milton Keynes
Great Britain’s Kate Avery has won eight medals at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships and now she has rediscovered the form to challenge for more glory in Tilburg.
Avery and Mahamed Mahamed remain top of the British Athletics Cross Challenge after securing fine wins in Milton Keynes on Saturday.
In slippery conditions, Avery held firm to triumph by four seconds in 18:14 from Jessica Piasecki over the 5.56km distance. Avery was delighted with her victory as Tilburg draws ever closer having battled back from injuries, including a stress fracture.
“Over the last two to three years, I doubted whether this would be possible to run like I have been this season. I doubted I would get back to winning but I would be over the moon to make the team for the European Cross," said Avery.
“You question yourself when you’re not seeing the improvements that you’d like but since the end of the track season, I’ve turned such a big corner and to win here is amazing.”
Mahamed took control of the men’s 9.05km race on the last lap to win in 27:22. Only 21, Mahamed will be targeting the U23 race at the European Cross Country Championships next month.
“I won and it’s job done from me for another week, but in two weeks it’s the really big test for me. Everyone will come out fired up in Liverpool and it’s winner takes all. I am feeling ready and I really want to take something from that race and get into the team that travels to Tilburg,” he said.
The British Trials for Tilburg take place in two weeks’ time at Sefton Park in Liverpool.
Can clocks a fast 15km in Istanbul
There has been no stopping Yasemin Can at the last two editions of the European Cross Country Championships and she demonstrated on Sunday she could be the one to beat again as she chases a golden hat-trick in the senior women’s race.
As part of the Istanbul Marathon, Can won the adjoining 15km race in 48:18 as her Turkish teammate Polat Kemboi Arikan was second in the men’s race in 43:04.
Germany’s Elena Burkard has Tilburg on her mind as she retained her crown at the Pforzheim Cross, taking charge of the senior women’s 6.6km to win in 24:09 from Anna Gehring in 24:47, who won the U23 title. Markus Gorger was first in the senior men’s 9km in 30:54.
In the first Italian qualification races for Tilburg, Nekagenet Crippa - the older brother of European 10,000 bronze medallist Yemaneberhan - won the senior men’s 9km at the Carsolina Cross in 27:44 from Ahmed El Mazoury (27:48) and Marouan Razine (27:53) as 18-year-old Nadia Battocletti took the senior women’s 7km in 25:29.
At the Scottish National Short Course Cross Country Championships in Lanark, European U20 1500m champion Jemma Reekie won the senior women's 4km in 13:07 with training partner Sol Sweeney winning the senior men's 4km in 11:32.