29th March 2024


European cross bronze medallist Abbie Donnelly (Coach: Rob Lewis, club: Lincoln Wellington) will captain the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia which takes place on Saturday 30 March.

Donnelly has been in the form of her career over the last few months, winning her first senior medal on the European stage in December’s continental Championships. Additionally, she was the leading member of the gold-medal winning team after a superb display in Brussels.

Since the turn of the year, the Lincoln Wellington athlete has been in impressive form after winning both British Athletics Cross Challenge fixtures in London and Nottingham, and she also revised her half marathon personal best to 69:05 in Barcelona.

A GB & NI international since 2015, Donnelly is one of the most experienced team members competing in Serbia, and this will be her third world cross after competing in Guiyang in 2015 and Bathurst in 2023.

Donnelly said, “I have been on a few GB & NI teams, and it is surprising how much of an impact the captain’s speech can make. It is quite a big responsibility, especially for the younger ones, so I feel incredibly proud to have been asked and trusted to share my experiences with the team.

“One of the things I’ll be telling the team is to take in the experience. Because a lot of us race so often, it is easy for us to blur together experiences, so I would like to emphasise to take a moment and think where you are. Not many athletes can say they’ve been in a world championship team, and that is something which will stay with you forever. Long after I have finished running, I’ll still be telling random people that I competed at the worlds.

On the boost European bronze medal gave her, Donnelly added, “I think even when you believe you can do it, until you do there is always a little bit of doubt in your mind. Getting on the podium is such a dream, so to have done and survived the most stressful last lap of my career, I just know now that at that point in races, I know I can do it in another race. Big things happen if you can keep pushing till the end.”

Team Leader, Chris Jones, commented, “Abbie has produced several excellent results throughout the cross country season, including her fantastic individual bronze medal at the European Cross where she faced a very strong field.

“She has shown herself to be a consummate professional and hardworking team player on Great Britain and Northern Ireland teams during her career, so she will be a great role model to the rest of the team out in Belgrade.”

In an update to the team, Jessica Warner-Judd has withdrawn from the senior women’s race at the Championships so Lauren Heyes (Hallamshire Harriers) has been called up to the team.

The World Athletics Cross Country Championships is live on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport app & website from 10:00am. All details on how to follow and results can be found HERE.


The Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the World Athletics Cross Country Championships, Belgrade, Serbia, on Saturday 30 March 2024:


Senior Women

Niamh Brown (Tim Eglen, Aldershot Farnham and District)

Abbie Donnelly (Rob Lewis, Lincoln Wellington)

Alice Goodall (Mark Pollard, Edinburgh AC)

Lauren Heyes (Hallamshire Harriers)

Lauren McNeil (Hallamshire)


Senior Men

Will Barnicoat (Tim Eglen, Aldershot Farnham and District)

Tom Evans (Scott Johnson, Lewes)

Callum Johnson (Gateshead)

James Kingston (Mark Hookway, Tonbridge)

Scott Stirling (John Pentecost, Falkirk)


U20 Women

Jess Bailey (Matthew Long, Leven Valley)

Innes Fitzgerald (Gavin Pavey, Exeter)

Eliza Nicholson (Mike Reeves, Blackheath and Bromley)

Natasha Phillips (Dundee Hawkhill)


U20 Men

James Dargan (Mick Woods, Aldershot Farnham and District)

Henry Dover (Shaftesbury Barnet)

Quinn Miell-Ingram (Wendy Miell-Ingram, Radley)

Craig Shennan (Dudley Walker, Giffnock North)


Senior Mixed Relay

Adam Fogg (Cory Leslie, Coventry)

Thomas Keen (Mark Vile, Cambridge and Coleridge)

Alex Millard (Bill Foster, Invicta East Kent)

Bethan Morley (Bill Foster, Leeds)


Team Staff

Team Leader: Chris Jones

Team Coaches: Luke Gunn [Senior Mixed Relay], Eamonn Martin [Senior Men], Sonia McGeorge [Senior Women], Jackie Newton [U20 Women] and James Thie [U20 Men]

Medical: Stuart Butler and Fiona Henry

Team Management: Ethan Walker