European Cross Country Championships

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Action from the men's race in 2010

The European Cross Country Championships is an annual international cross country running competition. Organised by the European Athletic Association, it is the area championships for the region and is held in December each year. The championships was inaugurated in 1994 in Alnwick and the venue for the championships changes each year.

Unlike the World Championships for the sport, the European Cross Country Championships consists of six races in age categories, with separate senior, under-23, and junior races for both men and women. There are individual and national team medals awarded in each race. In the team competition, the finishing positions of the top six scorers from a team of up to nine are combined for the men and women, respectively, and the low score wins. For the junior races, the top three from a team of up to four are scored.[1]

The first edition of the competition featured only senior races and 180 athletes took part. Men's and women's junior (under-20) races were introduced at the third edition in 1996 and under-23 races were added to the programme in 2006.[2] In its six-race format, the championships had record high participation in 2010, when 468 athletes from 34 nations competed.[3]

Two cities have hosted the competition on multiple occasions: Alnwick held the 1994 and 1995 editions, while Velenje was the 1999 and 2011 host city.[4] Five athletes have won the senior title on more than one occasion: Paulo Guerra of Portugal is a four-time men's champion, Britain's Paula Radcliffe and Hayley Yelling have each won the women's title twice, Ireland's Fionnuala Britton became the first female athlete to win back to back gold when she retained her title in Hungary, 2012, and Ukrainian Serhiy Lebid has a record of nine senior men's gold medals.[1] Lebid also holds the record for consecutive appearances, as he has competed at the championships every year since its inception.[5]


Year City Country
1994 Alnwick  United Kingdom
1995 Alnwick  United Kingdom
1996 Charleroi  Belgium
1997 Oeiras  Portugal
1998 Ferrara  Italy
1999 Velenje  Slovenia
2000 Malmö  Sweden
2001 Thun   Switzerland
2002 Medulin  Croatia
2003 Edinburgh  United Kingdom
2004 Heringsdorf  Germany
2005 Tilburg  Netherlands
2006 San Giorgio su Legnano  Italy
2007 Toro  Spain
2008 Brussels  Belgium
2009 Dublin  Ireland
2010 Albufeira  Portugal
2011 Velenje  Slovenia
2012 Szentendre  Hungary
2013 Belgrade  Serbia
2014 Samokov  Bulgaria
2015 Hyères-Toulon  France
2016 Chia  Italy


Multiple champion Serhiy Lebid winning in 2008
Hayley Yelling winning the 2009 women's race
Year Men's senior race Women's senior race
1994  Paulo Guerra (POR)  Catherina McKiernan (IRL)
1995  Paulo Guerra (POR)  Annemari Sandell (FIN)
1996  Jon Brown (GBR)  Sara Wedlund (SWE)
1997  Carsten Jørgensen (DEN)  Joalsiae Llado (FRA)
1998  Serhiy Lebid (UKR)  Paula Radcliffe (GBR)
1999  Paulo Guerra (POR)  Anita Weyermann (SUI)
2000  Paulo Guerra (POR)  Katalin Szentgyörgyi (HUN)
2001  Serhiy Lebid (UKR)  Yamna Belkacem (FRA)
2002  Serhiy Lebid (UKR)  Helena Javornik (SLO)
2003  Serhiy Lebid (UKR)  Paula Radcliffe (GBR)
2004  Serhiy Lebid (UKR)  Hayley Yelling (GBR)
2005  Serhiy Lebid (UKR)  Lornah Kiplagat (NED)
2006  Mo Farah (GBR)  Tetyana Holovchenko (UKR)
2007  Serhiy Lebid (UKR)  Marta Domínguez (ESP)
2008  Serhiy Lebid (UKR)  Hilda Kibet (NED)
2009  Alemayehu Bezabeh (ESP)  Hayley Yelling (GBR)
2010  Serhiy Lebid (UKR)  Jessica Augusto (POR)
2011  Atelaw Yeshetela (BEL)  Fionnuala Britton (IRL)
2012  Andrea Lalli (ITA)  Fionnuala Britton (IRL)
2013  Alemayehu Bezabeh (ESP)  Sophie Duarte (FRA)
2014  Polat Kemboi Arikan (TUR)  Gemma Steel (GBR)
2015  Ali Kaya (TUR)  Sifan Hassan (NED)


  1. ^ a b Event - SPAR European Cross Country Championships. European Athletics. Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
  2. ^ Cross country vital for athlete development, says President Wirz. European Athletics (2011-12-10). Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
  3. ^ Records set in Albufeira. European Athletics (2010-12-13). Retrieved on 2010-12-14.
  4. ^ Albufeira (POR) & Velenje (SLO) to host the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in 2010 & 2011. European Athletics. Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
  5. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2011-12-10). Lebid cautiously optimistic in Velenje – European XC champs. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-12-10.

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