A guide to Sunday’s action in Lisbon, including previews, a timetable and TV info
After racing through a safari park on the outskirts of Tilburg in Holland to celebrate the event’s 25th staging 12 months ago, the SPAR European Cross Country Championships is now preparing to make its next stop in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.
With the temperature on Sunday expected to reach around 16 degrees centigrade and the weather set fair, the Parque da Bella Vista should provide a somewhat different test to the usual cross country challenges to be found on UK shores.
A total of 602 athletes representing 40 countries – including Russian athletes competing as Authorised Neutral Athletes – have been declared across the seven races. The entry lists also include all six reigning individual champions – U20 winners Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway and Italy’s Nadia Battocletti, U23 gold medallists Anna Emilie Møller of Denmark and Frenchman Jimmy Gressier, as well as Filip Ingebrigtsen and Turkey’s Yasemin Can in the senior races.
Spain will defend their title in the mixed relay event, with Britain looking to replicate their gold medal winning performance of 2017 this time around.
Essential event info can be found below, while the December 5 edition of AW magazine, which is out in shops now or available digitally here, includes our more in-depth race-by-race previews.
Andrew Butchart, an individual bronze medallist in 2017 and team gold medallist in 2016, returns to lead Great Britain’s charge in Portugal.
Butchart did not run the trials, opting instead for a tune-up on the roads in America, but is joined in the team by Liverpool trials winner Ben Connor.
Filip Ingebrigtsen returns after winning his first European cross country gold last year, while Isaac Kimeli of Belgium and Turkish 2016 champion Aras Kaya will also be ones to watch, as will Switzerland’s European 10km and half marathon record-holder Julien Wanders.
In the women’s race, Jess Judd pulls on her first senior individual Great Britain cross country vest after forming part of the mixed relay team which came fourth last year.
The trials winner will be joined by the likes of Kate Avery and Charlotte Arter, who was the leading Briton in seventh in Tilburg.
African born Turkish athlete Yasemin Can is aiming for her fourth consecutive title, while Ireland’s two-time winner Fionnuala McCormack makes her 16th Euro Cross appearance.
Mahamed Mahamed makes his fifth consecutive Euro Cross appearance following his second place in the GB trials, where he was followed closely by Kent’s Alex Yee, the British 10,000m champion and triathlete who fell during his last Euro Cross in Chia.
The under-23 race will once again feature the colourful Frenchman Jimmy Gressier, who defends his title.
Anna Emilie Møller enjoyed a fine season on the track, winning European under-23 gold in both the 3000m and the steeplechase, and the Dane will be aiming to cap a memorable year with further cross country success.
Bronwen Owen was first under-23 home in Liverpool and leads the British line-up.
It’s hard to believe he is still young enough to compete in this age category but, should he run, 1500m world championships fourth placer Jakob Ingebrigtsen will go in pursuit of a fourth consecutive junior men’s title.
GB’s Matt Willis has had two 14th place finishes in his previous European Cross attempts and is now aiming for a podium place.
Italy’s Nadia Batocletti, an emotional winner last year, defends her title.
Saskia Millard will cap her return from two years of struggles with injury and illness when she lines up for GB.
Course map and timetable
09:45 Opening ceremony
10:00 U20 men (6225m; Ss + 4L laps + Fs)
10:30 U20 women (4225m; Ss + 2S laps+ 2L laps + Fs)
10:55 U23 men (8225m; Ss+ 1S lap + 5L laps + Fs)
11:30 U23 women (6225m; Ss + 4L laps + Fs)
12:05 Mixed relay (4 x 1500m; Ss + 4x1L lap + Fs)
12:35 Senior men (10.225m; Ss + 2S laps + 6L laps + Fs)
13:20 Senior women (8225m; Ss + 1S lap+ 5L laps + Fs)
S: Short lap (500m); L: Long lap (1500m); Ss: Start straight (125m); Fs: Finish straight (100m)
10:00-14:00, live coverage via the BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app.
17:15-18:15, BBC Two and online (may be regional variations)
» See our website and social media channels for updates and next week’s AW for in-depth reports and images from Lisbon. The December 5 edition of AW magazine, out in shops now or available digitally here, includes fuller race-by-race previews