Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack looks poised to extend her record of most SPAR European Cross Country Championships appearances to 17 at this year’s edition which takes place on home soil in Fingal-Dublin on 12 December.
The 2011 and 2012 champion has been named on the senior women’s team alongside fellow Tokyo 2020 Olympians Eilish Flanagan, Aoife Cooke and Michelle Finn, the latter a commanding winner of the Irish title on Sunday afternoon.
McCormack just missed out on an individual medal at the last edition in Lisbon two years ago but a fourth-place finish propelled the Irish team - which also included her younger sister Una - to a silver medal in the team race.
The Irishwoman has set herself a tough schedule as the four-time Olympian is planning to race in the Valencia Marathon one weekend prior to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships. Even if she hasn’t fully recovered from those endeavours, McCormack will still be a key part of the Irish team who will be looking to capture their sixth team medal.
Meanwhile, the senior men’s team is headed by recently crowned Irish cross country champion Hiko Tonosa who looks set to make his debut at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships next month.
The host nation will also have an abundance of individual and team medal chances in the age-group races. Former European U18 1500m and 3000m champion Sarah Healy, 20, will opt for the U23 race after finishing an excellent second in the senior race at the Irish Championships while 16-year-old Nick Griggs will be aiming for his second major medal of the season after storming to the 3000m title at the Tallinn 2021 European Athletics U20 Championships.
Ireland will also be strong contenders for the team title in the men’s U20 race as Griggs is joined on the Irish team by European U20 1500m champion Cian McPhillips while Darragh McElhinney starts as a prospective medal contender in the men’s U23 race.
And there could be a medal for the hosts in the mixed relay. Their team features former European indoor and outdoor 1500m medallist Ciara Mageean alongside Siofra Cleirgh Buttner, Andrew Coscoran and Luke McCann.
Ireland has amassed 15 medals in total at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships since its inception in 1994 and the hosts enjoyed their best ever medal haul two years ago in Lisbon with four medals in total.
The full team can be found here.