Fionnuala McCormack To Make Her 18th European Cross Country Championships Appearance Post Maternity Leave

Fionnuala McCormack To Make Her 18th European Cross Country Championships Appearance Post Maternity Leave
Jessica Gardiner
Jessica Gardiner

Irish athletics icon Fionnuala McCormack is set to lead the charge for the Irish team at the upcoming European Cross Country Championships in Brussels on 10 December 2023.

Making her 18th appearance at the event, the four-time Olympian and two-time European gold medalist, is on a tight schedule, and will be competing in the Valencia Marathon just a week prior to aim for an Olympic qualifying time. Most recently, she went on to finish 13th at the Valencia Half Marathon last month, an impressive achievement given that she is making a return to competitive racing after maternity leave.

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The Wicklow native is a distinguished Irish runner renowned for her prowess in various distance running events. McCormack's illustrious career includes representing Ireland in the steeplechase at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics, as well as participating in the 2007 World Championships in Athletics, the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, and twice at the European Athletics Championships. Notably, she also clinched gold at the 2011 and 2012 European Cross Country Championships.

Joining McCormack in the senior women’s team are twins Eilish and Roisin Flanagan, Mary Mulhare, Fionnula Ross, and national champion Fiona Everard. National champion Anna Gardiner will head up the women's U-20 team, while the U-23 teams feature the return of Danielle Donegan and Dean Casey, who contributed to Ireland's team silver and bronze in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

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Speaking about the upcoming competition, Athletics Ireland National Endurance Co-ordinator, Mark Kenneally said: "In my short time in the role it has been heartening to see the stellar work being put in by athletes and coaches to prepare for these championships. In recent years we have enjoyed great individual and team success, and this has raised expectations, both within the team and externally in the wider athletics and sporting community."

"This is, again, fantastic to see, and while the standard of distance running generally in Europe is on the rise, I am confident that our athletes are capable of rising to the challenge. Our athletes will be prepared to perform at their highest level, and I am certain this will ensure it will be a successful championships on December 10th in Brussels.”

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