The most successful female athlete in SPAR European Cross Country Championships history Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal will defend her senior women’s title in Brussels on 10 December.
Grøvdal will be aiming to become just the second woman in championship history to win three successive gold medals in the senior women’s race in Laeken Park next month.
And a medal of any description would take her individual medal tally into double digits. Grøvdal has already accumulated nine medals at the European Cross Country Championships dating back to 2006 when she won silver in the U20 race.
Grøvdal progressed to U20 gold in 2009 before upgrading her five successive senior silver and bronze medals to gold in 2021, a title she artfully defended on a technical and undulating course in La Mandria Park in Turin last December.
However, one conspicuous absentee on the Norwegian team is Olympic 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen who had expressed his desire to chase the same hat-trick of titles in the senior men’s race.
Ingebrigtsen, who was named European Athlete of the Year for the second year in succession, has pulled out of the Norwegian team after a recent injury.
However, the Ingebrigtsen family will be represented in the senior men’s race by his older brother Henrik, a past winner of the U23 race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships and a medallist in the U20 team race when Brussels staged the 2008 edition.
Other notable names in the Norwegian team include European U18 1500m and 3000m silver medallist Andreas Fjeld Halvorsen in the men’s U20 race and Nordic cross country champion Ina Halle Haugen in the women’s U23 race.
The full Norwegian team can be found here.