Events & Meetings

One month to go to the Albufeira 2024 ECCC Cross Country

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  • One month to go to the Albufeira 2024 ECCC Cross Country

There is just one month to go before the cream of the continent’s athletics clubs clash at the European Champions Clubs Cup Cross Country in Albufeira, Portugal on 25 February. 

By far the biggest and most prestigious cross country event on the European club scene with a history long predating even the SPAR European Cross Country Championships dating back to 1962,  106 teams representing 85 clubs from 22 nations feature on this year's provisional entries. 

The championships will be streamed in its entirety through Eurovision Sport with separate English, French and Spanish commentaries and there will be extensive coverage of the event on the European Athletics website and social media channels.

An estimated 400 athletes will take to the prestigious Portuguese venue, which also hosted the 2010 SPAR European Cross Country Championships. It is also the 12th occasion in which Albufeira has hosted a version of the championships.

For only the second time, the men and women will race over the same distances with the senior races over a five-lap course totalling 9.28km while the U20s contest races of three laps totalling 5.62km. The mixed relay is over four shorter legs and has a total distance of 6.13km.

Can Playas de Castellon dominate again on away turf?

Spanish club Playas de Castellon cleaned up the senior men’s and senior women’s team titles and the mixed relay titles - not to mention the individual senior men’s and women’s U20 titles - when hosting last year’s event at Oropesa del Mar.

They will return to try and defend their titles this year and it is expected that 2022 and 2023 individual men's winner Rodrigue Kwizera - who has already signalled he is in fine form again this winter after finishing second in the high-class Elgoibar World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold meeting earlier this month - and 2022 women's race winner Likina Amebaw will head their teams.

With 15 senior men’s titles and two senior women’s titles to their name, Lisbon-based Sporting Clube de Portugal are the most successful club in the competition’s 62-year history and are sure to put in a strong challenge on home turf across all events.

In the U20 events, famed Turkish club Fenerbahce Sports Club will be seeking to retain their U20 men’s title whilst in the U20 women’s race, 2022 and 2023 winners Mica Romă are absent, leaving an opening for new champions with 2018 and 2019 U20 champions Fenerbahce looking to regain their title and become the first club to lift both junior team titles in the same year since the U20 races were inaugurated in 2006.

From Lopes to Lebid

The event’s rich history includes former champions such as 1984 Olympic 10,000m champion Albero Cova (1984 and 1986), Olympic marathon gold medallist Carlos Lopes of Portugal (1982), nine-time European cross country champion Serhiy Lebid of Ukraine (2001), former world cross country champion Albertina Dias of Portugal (1994-95-96) and 1996 Olympic 10,000m champion Fernanda Ribeiro (2005)

Notably, Ireland's Dean Casey and Finland's Ilona Mononen won the the U20 race in Oeiras, Portugal in 2022 before going on to win bronze medals in the same age group at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Turin  the following December.  

This year’s event is combined with the Cross Internacional das Amendoeiras em Flor, a World Athletics Cross Country Tour meeting, the final Gold level event of the 2023/24 season and an important stop for many runners on the road to the World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia on 30 March.

Chris Broadbent for European Athletics


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