The most important cross country event on the European calendar attracts the best distance running talents from across the continent in the U20, U23 and senior categories for both genders with a mixed relay the most recent addition to the programme.
The next championships will be held in Laeken Park in Brussels, Belgium on 10 December, the 29th edition of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships.
This will be the second time that Brussels has staged the championships after the 2008 edition, and the third championships in Belgium with Charleroi also being the host in 1996.
Norway's Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal will be aiming for her third successive title in the senior women's race while four-time U20 and U23 champion Nadia Battocletti from Italy will be stepping up into the senior ranks for the first time in Laeken Park.
And in the absence of reigning two-time champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway, could there be a Belgian gold medal in the senior men's race? Isaac Kimeli has won silver and bronze medals in the past as well as the individual title at U23 level. This could be his chance to add senior gold to his already impressive list of accolades.
Another highlight promises to be the men's U20 which is set to be a showcase of Europe's finest distance running talent. European U20 1500m and 5000m champion Niels Laros from the Netherlands makes his debut at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships but standing in his way could be Denmark's former winner Axel Vang Christensen who won by 25 seconds in 2021.
The most dominant nation in European Cross Country Championships history, Great Britain will have excellent prospects across the programme. Megan Keith will be the favourite for gold in the U23 race while Innes FitzGerald is among the leading candidates for the U23 title.
The first championships was held in Alnwick, Great Britain in 1994 – when there were only senior men’s and senior women’s races in contrast to the seven on the programme nowadays – while the 2024 and 2025 SPAR European Cross Country Championships will be held in Antalya, Türkiye and Lagoa, Portugal respectively.