14th November 2018


After kicking off the 2018/19 Cross Challenge season in the form of her life, Kate Avery (club: Shildon AC) is feeling in prime position to stake her claim for a spot on the British team for next month’s European Cross Country Championships.

Victory in Milton Keynes last weekend, her first on the Cross Challenge circuit since 2016, following on from her second in Cardiff last month, places her top of the Cross Challenge standings after the opening two races.

Missing out on the team that travelled to Samorin in 2017 has put more fuel in Avery’s fire to represent her country once again and she hopes a strong performance at the trials in Liverpool will help her reach that goal.

She said: “I was over the moon with winning. People keep asking me what plans I have for the season because of how I did, but I’m still trying to go from one week to the next and see what happens, but I was really pleased with how I performed.

“I’d just started getting back into sessions in the lead-up to Cardiff and I knew it would have been a very big ask to come out of the traps flying there but I surprised myself and couldn’t have asked for a better start to the cross country season.

“My aim is to perform well in Liverpool and make the European team, and to have two races in before the trials is better for me. I wasn’t expecting fireworks in Cardiff but I was pleasantly surprised with how I performed and Milton Keynes was a great run for me.

“One of the joys of running the Cross Challenge circuit is that times don’t matter, you just want to be first across the line, and heading into the track season next year it’s a great way to continue to improve.”

Avery is hoping to be one of the six automatic qualifiers for the European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg in the Netherlands, as she heads to Liverpool’s Sefton Park for the trials on Saturday 24 November.

If selected, she is hoping to replicate her feat in 2015, that saw her claim an individual silver medal and team gold medal in Hyeres, France.

Being back in the mix for a place on the British team has been a long road, but Avery finally feels she is getting back to her best and is hungry to add more medals to her collection.

“Liverpool will attract all of the big names and the competition will be fierce but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to do what’s required to make the European team,” she added.

“The Championships mean so much to me, it’s been a great part of my career and hopefully it will continue to be going forwards. Normally, season on season, you know what to expect from yourself, but I’m just taking each race as it comes.

“At some point in my career, I definitely want to win the Championships. I’m not saying it’ll be this year, but I’ve had two individual silver medals and I’m itching to be at the top of the podium.

The Shildon athlete claimed her first senior medal by taking silver in 2014 in Samakov, Bulgaria, finishing just behind defending Cross Challenge champion, Gemma Steel (Liz Nuttall; Charnwood).

Since then, she has been determined to get to the top of the podium and feels that after a lengthy period out, it would be the icing on the cake if she was to medal this year.

She added: “Going into the race in 2014, I wasn’t expecting to medal but when I finished, I realised I was so close to gold. On reflection, I was really pleased to come away with an individual medal was brilliant.

“To follow that up in Hyeres with another silver was another step in the right direction, but it was hard missing so much of last season. You always want to be at the top all of the time, but I was so pleased just to be stood on that start line again after such a long period of time out.

“You have a different perspective on things as well when you’re out for such a long period of time. Up until that 2016 season, I’d never missed any time and being back after such a long spell away is a great relief to you.

“I can’t put into words what it would mean to be on the team and to be on the podium in Tilburg, it would be a dream and would be proof that all the effort I’ve put into getting back fit has definitely been worth it.”