From adversity comes triumph, as Sweden’s Napoleon Solomon once again proved with a brilliant performance to win the men’s senior race at the European Halloween Cross in Middelfart, Denmark on Saturday (11) which also acted as the Nordic Cross Country Championships.
Over a distance of 9km, Solomon took control less than a quarter into the race and never looked back – or at least to only see his teammate – as he won by 17 seconds from David Nilsson who led Sweden to the team title.
It was a great display from an athlete who just over three months ago was picking himself up off the floor inside the London Stadium after falling on the penultimate lap of the last heat of the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships.
His dream of making the final was over but based on recent showings, Solomon will be seen as a big contender for a medal at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Samorin on 10 December. Solomon took a double at the Swedish Championships a fortnight ago and showed his range by winning the famous 30km at the Lidingoloppet in September.
Nilsson was second in 29:09 from Great Britain’s Tom Lancashire (29:19) followed by Sweden’s Mikael Ekvall (29:19). Sweden won the team event with 13 points from Denmark (35) and Norway (35).
In the women’s senior 7.5km, 20-year-old Sara Christiansson had one of the best results of her young career, winning by seven seconds from Finland’s Camilla Richardsson (28:47) and fellow Swede Maria Larsson (28:53).
Their performances led the way as Sweden also won the team crown with 17 points from Norway (20) and Denmark (21).
Those putting down markers for the U20 race in Samorin were Norway’s Simon Halle Haugen, 18, and Denmark’s Alberte Kjær Pedersen, 18, who won the men’s and women’s age-group races respectively.
Haugen was first in 18:49 over 6km from teammate Thomas Jefferson Byrkjeland (18:53) and Sweden’s Miguel Palm (19:01) as Norway took the team title with seven points from Sweden (21) and Denmark (27).
Pedersen triumphed by eight seconds in 17:56 to lead Denmark to team gold, as she beat Finland’s Saija Seppa and Danish teammate Anna Mark Helwigh (18:05).
The Danes lifted the team gold with nine points from Norway (26) and Finland (27).
Papenfuss clears the barrier to Samorin
Amid drizzling rain and in six degrees, places on the German team for Samorin were up for grabs at the Sparkassen-Cross in Pforzheim on Saturday (11).
And, like in Middelfart, it was steeplechasers who made an impact. One of those was Josina Papenfuss who booked her place on the German team with victory in the women’s U20 4.8km in 19:55 ahead of Lisa Tertsch in 20:24.
In the men’s U20 race over 6.6km, Markus Gorger (24:16) and Nick Jaeger (24:34) booked their places on the German team, finishing second and third respectively. Somalia-born Ilyas Yonis Osman was the runaway winner in 23:40 but the 18-year-old who has lived in Germany for two years, is not eligible to run for the country yet.
In the senior men’s 9km, Patrick Karl put down another marker for the steeplechasers, triumphing in 33:16 in a sprint finish ahead of Jannik Arbogast. Arbogast missed out on the overall victory by three-tenths but he did claim the German University Championships title.
Back in 2015, Karl won silver for Germany over the 3000m steeplechase at the European U20 Championships in Eskilstuna and will now look for more glory in Samorin.
The women’s senior race went to Germany’s Elena Burkard (26:05) as she beat Kenyan Betty Chekwony (27:32).