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UK Athletics

Norwich Union GB&NI’s best yet Euro Cross!

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Victory for Steph Twell
Victory for Steph Twell

9 December 2007


The Norwich Union Great Britain & Northern Ireland team enjoyed its best ever European Cross Country Championships in Toro, Spain, today, winning four gold medals, two silvers and two bronze.


It beat by two the previous highest medals haul, took GB&NI to the top of the all-time medals table for the 14 years in which these Championships have been held – and was the fifth successive year in which the country has finished as the most successful nation.


Steph Twell (Aldershot, Farnham and District AC) gave GB&NI the ideal start by becoming the first athlete ever to successfully defend the junior women’s title. Her club mate Charlotte Purdue – also coached by UK Athletics Performance Coach Mick Woods – earned the bronze medal and the team took the gold medals for the sixth time since 2000.


GB U23 Women
Gold medal winning U23 team: (Left to Right) Katherine Sparke, Jessica Sparke, Katrina Wootton, Sarah Tunstall, Susie Hignett and Felicity Milton

GB&NI also won both Under 23 team titles with Andy Vernon (Aldershot, Farnham and District AC) adding the individual bronze medal to the junior silver he earned in 2005 and Felicity Milton (Durham University) proving a golden team leader following in only her second season of cross country racing.


And the Senior Women were led to the team silver medals by Kate Reed (Bristol and West AC), closely supported as ever by sisters-in-law Hayley (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC) and Liz Yelling (Bedford and County AC) at their 10th ‘Euro Cross’. All three finished in the top 10.


Only the Senior Men left the Monte La Reina course empty-handed – missing team bronze medals by a mere five points after trials winner Peter Riley (Leigh Harriers) dropped out of their race. World Championships 1500m finalist Andy Baddeley (Harrow AC) led them home, taking 11th place.


GB&NI Team Leader Alan Storey, the UK Athletics Senior Performance Manager for Endurance, said: “The number of medals won is a tribute to the work done at grassroots by hard-working athletes, coaches and administrators throughout the sport of cross country. We can only provide an environment in which the athletes can flourish.


“It was a very happy team before the competition and they will be coming home tomorrow with smiles on their faces. The confidence gained from these events will spill over onto the track for people who are going about their jobs in a workmanlike manner.”


Spencer Barden, UKA Senior Performance Coordinator for non-Lottery endurance athletes, said: “These performances show that the performance-related development work going on is working. Andy Vernon’s success is a welcome indication that the system of training weekends and camps is helping athletes progress out of the Junior age groups. It’s been a superb day, reflecting all the great work that’s going on. The next thing target the World Cross and there’s no reason why we should not be looking forward to some special performances in Scotland next March.”


For the results from these Championships, please click Toro