9th December 2023


Callum Elson will captain the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at the European Cross Country Championships in Brussels, Belgium this weekend.

The Cambridge and Coleridge athlete won his first senior major medal at the World Athletics Road Running Championships in October when he won silver in the one mile race at the inaugural edition of the event.

Elson, who competed for GB & NI in the mixed relay team at last year’s Championships and the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Australia in February, will race in the senior men’s race for the first time in a GB & NI vest.

After qualifying at the Trials in Liverpool a fortnight ago, Elson joins Calum Johnson (Gateshead), Zakariya Mahamed (Idris Hamud, Southampton), Alfie Manthorpe (John Wood, Sheffield & Dearne), Angus McMillan (Don McMillan, City of York) and Hugo Milner (Derby) in the senior men’s race as they take on the best in Europe.

After being named the captain of the team, Elson said, “It is a great privilege. It was exciting to make the team in the first place, but to be given the extra responsibility of the captaincy is fantastic. Of all the events in which you can be in this position, to do it at the Euro Cross is one of the most exciting as it is an event where we have multiple medal hopes. It is super exciting, and I am very proud to captain the team.

“My main message to the team will be don’t change anything about yourself, how you prepare, or how you compete. It can be daunting when you make your first international appearance, so my message to the new members of the team will be don’t change anything; if you are a happy and relaxed athlete who is enjoying themselves then you are going to get the best out of yourself and your performance.”

On the momentum accumulated from qualifying for multiple GB & NI teams over the last 12 months, including the medal success on the road, he added, “Every time I have come back from a trip with GB or England, I have felt way more motivated in my training. I get excited about the prospect of qualifying for another championship and I look forward to planning out how the next block of training will look. It really pushes you on to be in those moments at the Championships.”

Team Leader, Chris Jones, added, “Callum has enjoyed excellent progression in the sport in recent times, and he has seized his opportunities during that period, earning three GB & NI vests and a world medal in Riga. His hunger and desire are clear to see, and he will be a great role model for the rest of the team out in Brussels.”

The European Cross Country Championships will be live on the BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport app. There will also be a highlights programme on BBC Two between 17:00-18:00 on Sunday 10 December.

The Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the European Cross Country Championships in Brussels, Belgium on Sunday 10 December:

Senior Women

Niamh Bridson Hubbard (Philip O’Dell, Blackheath & Bromley)

Abbie Donnelly (Rob Lewis, Lincoln Wellington)

Izzy Fry (Chris and Sonia McGeorge, Newbury)

Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods, Bracknell)

Poppy Tank (Luke Gunn, City of Plymouth)

Jessica Warner-Judd (Mick Judd, Blackburn)

Senior Men

Callum Elson (Cambridge & Coleridge)

Calum Johnson (Gateshead)

Zakariya Mahamed (Idris Hamud, Southampton)

Alfie Manthorpe (John Wood, Sheffield & Dearne)

Angus McMillan (Don McMillan, City of York)

Hugo Milner (Derby)

Senior Mixed Relay

Adam Fogg (Coventry)

Joshua Lay (Anthony Love, Rugby and Northampton)

Khahisa Mhlanga (Andrew Hobdell, Herts Phoenix)

Bethan Morley (Bill Foster, Leeds City)

U23 Women

Megan Keith (Ross Cairns, Inverness)

Olivia Mason (Graeme Mason, Border)

Lynn McKenna (John Montgomery, Shettleston)

Alexandra Millard (Bill Foster, Invicta East Kent)

Eloise Walker (Trevor Painter, Edinburgh)

Tia Wilson (Bill Foster, Bedford & County)

U23 Men

Will Barnicoat (Aldershot Farnham and District)

Matt Stonier (Sonia and Chris McGeorge, Invicta East Kent)

James Kingston (Mark Hookway, Tonbridge)

Rory Leonard (Morpeth)

Henry McLuckie (Geoff Watkin, Isle of Wight)

Tomer Tarragano (Dean Miller, Brighton & Hove)

U20 Women

Jess Bailey (Matthew Long, Leven Valley)

Innes Fitzgerald (Gavin Pavey, Exeter)

Zoe Hunter (Jethro McGraw, Leeds City)

Moli Lyons (Chris Jones, Cardiff)

Katie Pye (Mick Woods, Aldershot Farnham and District)

Lizzie Wellsted (Colchester)

U20 Men

Henry Dover (Shaftesbury Barnet)

Sam Hodgson (Shireen Higgins, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow)

Andrew McGill (Michael Johnston, Livingston)

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

Sam Mills (Exeter)

Louis Small (Stella Bandu, Ashford)


Brussels Team Staff

Team Leader: Chris Jones

Team Coaches: Liz Yelling [Senior women], Eamonn Martin [Senior men], Hayley Yelling [U23 women], Mick Woods [U23 men], Hayley Hemmings [U20 women] and Kyle Bennett [U20 men]

Team Support Staff (Medical): Stuart Butler, Fiona Henry and Emma Lunan

Team Operations and Logistics: Cerys Miller