7th December 2019


Charlotte Arter (coach: Chris Jones; club: Cardiff) is optimistic of the British team thriving at tomorrow’s European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon, Portugal.

The senior women’s race will be the last in the programme to commence at 13:20 GMT, with the action commencing at 10:00 GMT with the junior men’s race.

Arter came home as the first scorer in Tilburg 12 months ago in seventh position but based on the way she and the team are running, is hopeful that she can play her part in upgrading their silver medal to a gold this year.

She assessed: “It’s always an honour to represent Great Britain but this time it’s a lot different to Tilburg and it’s going to be a real tester and I’m excited to be a part of this senior women’s team. Hopefully we’ll be up on that podium and coming away with a gold medal.

“Liverpool was a real test of the strength in depth of the squad and that shows in the team that’s come here and hopefully we can build on our silver from last year.”

Compared to the trial course at Liverpool, the offering in Lisbon brings with it a plethora of steep inclines and drops, along with a mix of tight technical aspects that will prove difficult to negotiate.

Having had the chance to explore the course this morning, Arter feels that there are parts of the course that will really play to her strengths and hopes to improve on her seventh place in Tilburg.

She said: “I like the fact there’s no mud in sight but I think it’s going to be a real test of strength for everyone. It’ll favour those who like running hilly courses, it’ll be relentless and there isn’t really a flat part.

“It’ll be a case I think of not going out too hard to make sure that you can keep going as the race goes on. Eight kilometres on that course for the women and 10 for the men is really going to test us and it’ll be really interesting to see how it pans out.

“There’s more uphill than downhill and that final drop coming into the finish on the last lap is going to be really exciting. I want to be in the best shape possible to build on my seventh place finish from last year to try ad get close to those medals.”

“The year has been up and down, I had a real purple patch on the cross country circuit last year and this summer has been a bit rocky but I feel really strong this winter and it’d be nice to finish the year on a high.”

The 40-strong team that has travelled out to Lisbon has a good mixture of experience and those making their first senior appearance on the international stage, with Abbie Donnelly (Rob Lewis; Lincoln Wellington) and Amy Griffiths (Rob Denmark; Aldershot, Farnham & District) stepping up from the Under-23 ranks.

The Cardiff athlete feels that this combination will only serve as a positive omen and that the team will spur one another on into the top echelons of the standings.

“Being such a strong group out on the course is really important especially seeing them around you because you know that you all have a fantastic ability to work as a team to try and get the top spot.

“More than that, we’re individually pushing each other and it’s really great to have that depth and everyone also has really different experience at the international level and in this team.

“Kate’s done numerous European Cross Country Championships and Abbie has stepped up from the Under-23s this year, it’s really nice to have such a strong team out there on the course,” she added.

Tomorrow’s European Cross Country Championships is live on the BBC Red Button from 10:00 GMT with live results available here.