2009 European Cross Country Championships

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2009 European Cross Country Championships
2009 European XC Logo.gif
Date13 December
Host cityDublin, Ireland
VenueSantry Demesne
Distances9997 m – Men
8018 m – Women
8018 m – U23 men
6039 m – U23 women
6039 m – Junior men
4039 m – Junior women
Participation323 athletes from
30 nations
Official websitedublin2009.ie

The 2009 European Cross Country Championships was a continental cross country running competition that was held on 13 December 2009 near Dublin city, Fingal in Ireland. Dublin was selected as the host city in 2007 and the event was the first time that a major European athletics championships took place in Ireland. The six men's and women's races in the championship programme took place in Santry Demense on a looped course with flat and grassy ground. The 16th edition of the European Cross Country Championships featured 323 athletes from 30 nations.

Alemayehu Bezabeh upset the defending champion (Serhiy Lebid) to win the men's senior race: it was his first medal at a major international competition and he was the first Spanish runner to win in the history of the championships. In the women's senior competition, Hayley Yelling was a surprise winner, having come out of her competitive retirement just weeks before the race. The much favoured Portuguese team (which included Jessica Augusto and Inês Monteiro) did not reach the individual podium but they took the gold in the team competition.

Noureddine Smaïl and Hassan Chahdi took gold and silver in the men's under-23 competition, leading the French to a team victory. Jeroen D'Hoedt was the winner of the men's junior race. Sultan Haydar won the women's under-23 race while Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal added to her junior honours with a gold in the women's junior race, becoming the first Norwegian gold medallist of the championships' history.

Almost 7000 spectators attended the championships and, in Europe, it was broadcast live on television for free by RTÉ, the Irish state broadcaster.


A brown running track lies within a small, open stadium below a blue sky.
The championship course was next to Morton Stadium.

Ireland's bid for the competition was first discussed in 2006 when Liam Hennessy, president of Athletics Ireland, proposed the idea at the European Athletics conference that year. After the proposal had gained the support of the Athletics Ireland board, Fingal County Council and the Irish Sports Council, the state broadcaster (RTÉ) agreed to show the event live on television for free across Europe.[1]

The bidding process concluded in October 2007 at a presentation to the European Athletics Association in Malta. The Irish bid to host the championships was led by Mary Coghlan (Chair of Finance & Risk AAI), Senan Turnbull (Fingal Council's director of community, culture and sports), Liam Hennessy (President of AAI), Paddy Marlay (Competition Committee of AAI) and beat proposals from France and Poland. Ireland had hosted the World Cross Country Championships in 1979 and 2002, but this was the first time that Ireland had ever hosted a major European athletics competition.[1]


A woman begins to celebrate at the finish line of a road race.
The reigning women's champion, Hilda Kibet, did not defend her title.

The course was situated in Santry Demense Park adjacent the national track and field stadium, Morton Stadium, which is the home stadium for Clonliffe Harriers – the oldest athletics club in Ireland.[2] The course's looped design allowed for races of varying lengths through the use of laps. The four race lengths were: 9,997 metres (6.212 mi) for the senior men's race, 8,018 metres (4.982 mi) for the senior women's and men's under-23 competitions, 6,039 metres (3.752 mi) for the under-23 women and junior men, and finally 4,039 metres (2.510 mi) for the women's junior race. The ground of the course was grassy throughout and, while it did contain some slight dips and uphills, it did not feature any severe obstacles or inclines.[3]


Prior to the championships, eight-time gold medal winner Serhiy Lebid was the favourite for the men's race, with Great Britain's Mo Farah representing the greatest challenge to him. For the women's race, reigning champion Hilda Kibet had decided not to compete. This left the women's senior competition without a clear favourite: Portugal's Jessica Augusto and Inês Monteiro, along with former champions Hayley Yelling and Tetyana Holovchenko, comprised the likely medallists, while Mary Cullen was the home favourite.[4][5]

On the day of the race, an estimated 7000 spectators were in attendance and a total of 323 athletes represented 30 European nations.[6] Although the championships only accepts athletes who are citizens of European countries, African-born athletes were highly represented among those who reached the podium: Ethiopian-born runners Alemayehu Bezabeh and Sultan Haydar Sultan, and Algerian-born Noureddine Smaïl all took gold medals, while Atelaw Yeshetela and Somalian-born athlete Mo Farah won minor medals.[7][8]

Men's race[edit]

There was a slow start to the men's senior race, with a large leading pack reaching the 2.5 km mark. However, soon after that point, Mo Farah made clear his intention to win the race, increasing the pace and accelerating away from the pack. He remained the leader for the first half of the race, with Alemayehu Bezabeh following closely and Lebid a little further behind.[9] Bezabeh, competing in only his second European championships, overtook Farah in the fourth lap and began to create a lead for himself. Farah made ground on the leader in the final lap, but he tired towards the end. Bezabeh went on to win his first major title, becoming the first Spaniard to win the championships.[7]

Coming in second place, Farah collapsed after the finish line and missed the medal ceremony as he received medical assistance. Although ahead of the rest of the pack, Lebid was a clear third and was some way off the two frontrunners[9] – an injury two weeks prior to the race had affected his preparations and he was pleased to receive the bronze medal. Spanish runners Sergio Sánchez and Ayad Lamdassem took fourth and fifth places, all but guaranteeing Spain the men's team gold medal.[7]

A woman in red runs alongside a group of athletes on a grey road.
Hayley Yelling, the 2004 champion, won the women's senior race.

Women's race[edit]

The women's senior race also had an unexpected winner: Hayley Yelling of Great Britain (the 2004 championships winner) had retired from athletics after a poor showing at the 2008 European Cross Country Championships,[10] but she returned to competition in December 2009 with a win at the British selection race for that year's race.[11]

Yelling started with a quick pace, rapidly building up a lead over the pack of runners in the early stages of the race.[12] During the second lap, the Portuguese runners, along with Rosa María Morató and Adriënne Herzog, remained in pursuit but Ireland's Mary Cullen had faded behind.[13] Yelling, still leading, maintained her fast speed after the halfway point while Augusto and Morató filled out the medalling positions.[12] Morató pulled away from Augusto, but never managed to make up the six-second gap between her and Yelling. The Briton took the gold medal and Morató was next to come in, receiving the silver medal. Meanwhile, Herzog overtook a tired Jessica Augusto for the bronze.[13] Augusto, Monteiro, and Ana Dulce Félix of Portugal filled out the top six finishers; although they had failed to reach the individual podium, the trio and tenth-placed Sara Moreira won the team gold medals by a significant margin.[12]

Under-23 and junior races[edit]

In the men's under-23 race, there was a large group of runners at the front up until the 3.5 km mark, at which point a pack of three runners led the race throughout: Atelaw Yeshetela of Belgium, and Hassan Chahdi and Noureddine Smaïl of France.[14] The three took turns in leading the race and remained close. However, in the final lap, Smaïl broke away from the other two runners and was unchallenged at the finish line,[7] proving his abilities after a disappointing race in 2008.[14] Chahdi was the silver medallist and Yeshetela took third place, while Frenchman Florian Carvalho was fourth,[7] setting up France as the team gold medallists of the race. Great Britain and Belgium took the team silver and bronze respectively.[14]

As she had done in the previous year's competition, Sultan Haydar of Turkey took the lead early on in the women's under-23 competition.[8] By the halfway mark she was thirteen seconds clear of the other runners, but her pace started to slow. Irina Sergeyeva quickly reduced the Turkish runner's lead and on the final lap she threatened to take first place.[13] However, Sergeyeva was beaten by Haydar's sprint finish in the final home straight. Jessica Sparke took the bronze, and her teammates Charlotte Browning and Hollie Rowland followed shortly after to continue Great Britain's unbeaten run of gold medals in the women's under-23 team competition.[8]

In the junior races, Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal became the first Norwegian to win at the European Championships.[13] The European Junior Champion quickly took control of the women's race and managed to hold off Gulshat Fazlitdinova to win the title. Kate Avery was the bronze medallist in the individual race, and Russia, Great Britain and Germany were the team medallists.[15] Grøvdal's compatriot Sondre Nordstad Moen failed to make it a junior double for Norway in the men's race. Moen led the race for the first three laps with a comfortable pace, but Jeroen D'Hoedt pulled ahead for the final lap.[7] Nick Goolab made up significant ground to pip teammate James Wilkinson for the silver at the finish line. Moen ended up fourth, but he won a team bronze with Norway. Britain and France won the gold and silver team medals, respectively.[16]

Race results[edit]

Men's senior[edit]

A slender man raises his arm in victory on a grassy course.
Alemayehu Bezabeh became the first Spanish man to win at the championships.
A man representing Great Britain focuses on running.
The 2008 silver medallist Mo Farah finished again in second place.
A man in a Ukraine vest grimaces while he runs.
Eight-time champion Serhiy Lebid managed only bronze in 2009.
Individual race
Rank Athlete Country Time (m:s)
Gold medal icon.svg Alemayehu Bezabeh  Spain 30:45
Silver medal icon.svg Mo Farah  United Kingdom 31:02
Bronze medal icon.svg Serhiy Lebid  Ukraine 31:17
4 Sergio Sánchez  Spain 31:26
5 Ayad Lamdassem  Spain 31:30
6 José Rocha  Portugal 31:34
7 Eduard Mbengani  Portugal 31:41
8 Mark Kenneally  Ireland 31:42
9 Daniele Meucci  Italy 31:42
10 Stéphane Joly  Switzerland 31:46
11 Driss El Himer  France 31:54
12 Andy Vernon  United Kingdom 31:54
13 Michael Skinner  United Kingdom 31:54
14 Licínio Pimentel  Portugal 31:54
Team race
Rank Team Points
Gold medal icon.svg  Spain
Alemayehu Bezabeh
Sergio Sánchez
Ayad Lamdassem
Francisco Javier López
Silver medal icon.svg  United Kingdom
Mo Farah
Andy Vernon
Michael Skinner
Benedict Whitby
Bronze medal icon.svg  Italy
Daniele Meucci
Stefano La Rosa
Andrea Lalli
Gabriele De Nard
Gianmarco Buttazzo
Martin Dematteis[17]
4  France 67
5  Portugal 73
6  Ireland 115
7  Belgium 146
8  Germany 149
  • Note: Scores are calculated by combining the finishing positions of a country's top four athletes. The country with the lowest cumulative score wins.
  • Totals: 67 entrants, 65 starters, 62 finishers, 10 teams

Women's senior[edit]

A pale woman runs through a muddy path.
Adriënne Herzog of the Netherlands took the bronze in the senior women's competition.
Individual race
Rank Athlete Country Time (m:s)
Gold medal icon.svg Hayley Yelling  United Kingdom 27:49
Silver medal icon.svg Rosa María Morató  Spain 27:56
Bronze medal icon.svg Adriënne Herzog  Netherlands 28:04
4 Jessica Augusto  Portugal 28:11
5 Inês Monteiro  Portugal 28:14
6 Ana Dulce Félix  Portugal 28:19
7 Olivera Jevtic  Serbia 28:21
8 Tetyana Holovchenko  Ukraine 28:25
9 Freya Murray  United Kingdom 28:25
10 Sara Moreira  Portugal 28:32
11 Fionnuala Britton  Ireland 28:39
12 Mary Cullen  Ireland 28:45
A woman in blue closes her eyes while running through the streets.
Inês Monteiro helped Portugal to the team gold.
Team race
Rank Team Points
Gold medal icon.svg  Portugal
Jessica Augusto
Inês Monteiro
Ana Dulce Félix
Sara Moreira
Silver medal icon.svg  United Kingdom
Hayley Yelling
Freya Murray
Katrina Wootton
Sonia Samuels
Bronze medal icon.svg  Spain
Rosa María Morató
Iris María Fuentes-Pila
Alessandra Aguilar
Nuria Fernández
4  Ireland 82
5  Italy 130
6  France 103
7  Sweden 141
8  Germany 161
  • Totals: 53 entrants, 51 starters, 50 finishers, 8 teams

Men's under-23[edit]

A young man representing France lifts his arms as he breaks the tape at the finishing line of a race.
Noureddine Smaïl of France won his first major U-23 cross country competition.
Individual race
Rank Athlete Country Time (m:s)
Gold medal icon.svg Noureddine Smaïl  France 25:11
Silver medal icon.svg Hassan Chahdi  France 25:17
Bronze medal icon.svg Atelaw Yeshetela  Belgium 25:21
4 Florian Carvalho  France 25:30
5 Mitch Goose  United Kingdom 25:33
6 Christoph Ryffel  Switzerland 25:38
7 Abdi Nageeye  Netherlands 25:40
8 Ricky Stevenson  United Kingdom 25:40
9 Musa Roba-Kinkal  Germany 25:41
10 Alexander Söderberg  Sweden 25:45
11 Lewis Timmins  United Kingdom 25:45
12 Yegor Nikolayev  Russia 25:46
Team race
Rank Team Points
Gold medal icon.svg  France
Noureddine Smaïl
Hassan Chahdi
Florian Carvalho
Matthieu Le Stum
Silver medal icon.svg  United Kingdom
Mitch Goose
Ricky Stevenson
Lewis Timmins
Jonathan Taylor
Bronze medal icon.svg  Belgium
Atelaw Yeshetela
Sanne Torfs
Kim Ruell
Ruben Vandevelde
4  Spain 81
5  Turkey 102
6  Ireland 105
7  Portugal 128
8  Netherlands 134
  • Totals: 82 entrants, 81 starters, 75 finishers, 11 teams

Women's under-23[edit]

Individual race
Rank Athlete Country Time (m:s)
Gold medal icon.svg Sultan Haydar  Turkey 21:14
Silver medal icon.svg Irina Sergeyeva  Russia 21:15
Bronze medal icon.svg Jessica Sparke  United Kingdom 21:26
4 Charlotte Browning  United Kingdom 21:30
5 Hollie Rowland  United Kingdom 21:31
6 Tatyana Shutova  Russia 21:32
7 Sandra Eriksson  Finland 21:32
8 Natalya Puchkova  Russia 21:36
9 Alfiya Khasanova  Russia 21:39
10 Stevie Stockton  United Kingdom 21:39
11 Stephanie Twell  United Kingdom 21:42
12 Anna Hahner  Germany 21:49
Team race
Rank Team Points
Gold medal icon.svg  United Kingdom
Jessica Sparke
Charlotte Browning
Hollie Rowland
Stevie Stockton
Silver medal icon.svg  Russia
Irina Sergeyeva
Tatyana Shutova
Natalya Puchkova
Alfiya Khasanova
Bronze medal icon.svg  France
Claire Navez
Louise Ghesquiere
Patricia Laubertie
Laura Miclo
4  Germany 85
5  Ireland 98
6  Spain 155
7  Ukraine 162
8  Italy 163
  • Totals: 61 entrants, 61 starters, 59 finishers, 8 teams

Men's junior[edit]

Individual race
Rank Athlete Country Time (m:s)
Gold medal icon.svg Jeroen D'Hoedt  Belgium 18:46
Silver medal icon.svg Nick Goolab  United Kingdom 18:47
Bronze medal icon.svg James Wilkinson  United Kingdom 18:47
4 Sondre Nordstad Moen  Norway 18:49
5 Richard Goodman  United Kingdom 18:56
6 Rui Pinto  Portugal 18:57
7 Nemenja Cerovac  Serbia 18:59
8 Bryan Cantero  France 19:01
9 Abdelatif Hadjam  France 19:03
10 Lars Erik Malde  Norway 19:03
11 Soufiane Bouchikhi  Belgium 19:05
12 Henrik Ingebrigtsen  Norway 19:07
Team race
Rank Team Points
Gold medal icon.svg  United Kingdom
Nick Goolab
James Wilkinson
Richard Goodman
Matthew Gillespie
Silver medal icon.svg  France
Bryan Cantero
Abdelatif Hadjam
Tanguy Pepiot
Colin Guillard
Bronze medal icon.svg  Norway
Sondre Nordstad Moen
Lars Erik Malde
Henrik Ingebrigtsen
Harald Kaarboe
4  Belgium 93
5  Spain 98
6  Portugal 127
7  Germany 129
8  Italy 137
  • Totals: 89 entrants, 89 starters, 88 finishers, 15 teams

Women's junior[edit]

Individual race
Rank Athlete Country Time (m:s)
Gold medal icon.svg Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal  Norway 14:10
Silver medal icon.svg Gulshat Fazlitdinova  Russia 14:12
Bronze medal icon.svg Kate Avery  United Kingdom 14:27
4 Corinna Harrer  Germany 14:33
5 Federica Bevilacqua  Italy 14:33
6 Lauren Howarth  United Kingdom 14:35
7 Sandra Mosquera  Spain 14:38
8 Lyudmila Lebedeva  Russia 14:38
9 Ciara Mageehan  Ireland 14:40
10 Cataryna Ribeiro  Portugal 14:40
11 Carla Salomé Rocha  Portugal 14:41
12 Amela Terzić  Serbia 14:42
Team race
Rank Team Points
Gold medal icon.svg  Russia
Gulshat Fazlitdinova
Lyudmila Lebedeva
Yelena Sedova
Tatyana Prorokova
Silver medal icon.svg  United Kingdom
Kate Avery
Lauren Howarth
Eleanor Wimshurst
Beth Potter
Bronze medal icon.svg  Germany
Corrina Harrer
Jana Sussman
Gesa-Felicitas Krause
Stephanie Platt
4  France 98
5  Italy 100
6  Portugal 103
7  Belgium 118
8  Ukraine 122
  • Totals: 76 entrants, 76 starters, 76 finishers, 11 teams

Total medal table[edit]

1 Great Britain (GBR)36312
2 France (FRA)2215
3 Spain (ESP)2114
4 Russia (RUS)1304
5 Belgium (BEL)1023
6 Norway (NOR)1012
7 Portugal (POR)1001
 Turkey (TUR)1001
9 Germany (GER)0011
 Italy (ITA)0011
 Netherlands (NED)0011
 Ukraine (UKR)0011
Totals (12 entries)12121236
  • Note: Totals include both individual and team medals, with medals in the team competition counting as one medal.


  1. ^ a b Ireland's first European athletics event: Story of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships[permanent dead link]. European Athletics (6 December 2009). Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  2. ^ About us. Clonliffe Harriers. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  3. ^ The Course. Dublin 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  4. ^ Wenig, Jörg (11 December 2009). Lebid going for number nine, Augusto for number one – European XC Champs, PREVIEW. IAAF. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  5. ^ SPAR European Cross Country Championships: athletes' press conference [permanent dead link]. European Athletics (12 December 2009). Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  6. ^ Dublin shows the diversity and strength of European distance running[permanent dead link]. European Athletics (14 December 2009). Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Wenig, Jörg (13 December 2009). Bezabeh stops Farah and Lebid – European XC, MEN’s Races. IAAF. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Under 23 Women's Final: Turkey's Haydar gets it right this time Archived 17 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine. European Athletics (13 December 2009). Retrieved 18 December 2009.
  9. ^ a b Senior Men's Final: Bezabeh becomes Spain's first champion, Lebid third [permanent dead link]. European Athletics (13 December 2009). Retrieved 18 December 2009.
  10. ^ Hayley Yelling hangs up her spikes[permanent dead link]. European Athletics (17 December 2009). Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  11. ^ Yelling makes winning return in Liverpool Archived 28 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine. European Athletics (12 January 2009). Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  12. ^ a b c Senior Women's Final: Britain's Yelling back with a bang[permanent dead link]. European Athletics (13 December 2009). Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  13. ^ a b c d Wenig, Jorg (13 December 2009). Yelling’s golden comeback – European XC, WOMEN’s Races. IAAF. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  14. ^ a b c Under 23 Men's Final: France's Smail proves he can run Cross Country[permanent dead link]. European Athletics (13 December 2009). Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  15. ^ Junior Women's Final: Grøvdal gets Norway's first ever gold[permanent dead link]. European Athletics. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  16. ^ Junior Men's Final: Belgium's D'Hoedt turns back the clock[permanent dead link]. European Athletics (13 December 2009). Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  17. ^ "Dublino, l'Italia è di bronzo nel cross europeo" (in Italian). fidal.it. Retrieved 7 March 2020. Nella foto in alto, Daniele Meucci in azione. In basso, la squadra azzurra esulta sul podio degli Europei di cross di Dublino: da sinistra, Meucci, La Rosa, Buttazzo, Dematteis, De Nard, Lalli.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°24′06″N 6°14′49″W / 53.40167°N 6.24694°W / 53.40167; -6.24694