Scottish National XC champion Andrew Butchart is ready for his first Senior GB and NI vest in track and field – at the European Cup for 10,000m.
It will be an Italian job for the Central AC athlete with British Athletics taking four men and four women to the event in Chia on Saturday 6 June.
Butchart, coached by Derek Easton, has had a superb winter and spring in cross country and road running and recently finished best Brit in seventh place in the Morrison’s Great Manchester Run.
Andrew clocked a 10k PB of 29.09 that day and his first track outing of the season ended with a 3.44 run to win the Men’s A race at 1500m at the BMC meeting in Manchester last weekend.
Now he joins Ross Millington, Dewi Griffiths and Ben Lindsay in the GB team for the European Cup – with Callum Hawkins and Rhona Auckland having competed in this event last year.
Auckland, who won the British Champs 10,000m at Highgate last weekend, was offered a place for Italy but turned it down as she makes the Euro U23 champs in Estonia very much her priority for the 2015 track season.
Jo Pavey will represent GB and NI for the first time since she was crowned European 10,000m champion last summer as the 41 year old joins an eight-strong team heading to the European to Chia.
The Commonwealth 5000m bronze medallist will headline a strong women’s quartet making the trip to Italy to face Europe’s best distance runners. With memories of that famous night last August in Zurich on her mind, she will be hoping for an encouraging start to her track season next month.
Jess Coulson was second at the Highgate Harrier ‘Night of 10,000m PBs’ on Saturday, setting a new personal best of 32:41.59. She will be joined by British Athletics Cross Challenge winner Lily Partridge who recorded a lifetime best of 32:20.77 in Huelva last month and GB and NI stalwart Alyson Dixon.
British Athletics Head of Endurance Barry Fudge said: ‘There were some really encouraging performances last weekend and I’m sure the eight athletes will equip themselves well for the challenge ahead in the European Cup.
‘This is a great opportunity for distance runners to test their form and fitness at the early stage of the season ahead of another busy summer of championships. It is without doubt going to be a big test, but I’m confident that the performances shown by Jo (Pavey) last year will inspire the rest of the team to high placing’s in Chia.’
At the European 10,000m Cup, a team comprises of a maximum of six athletes but each team’s score shall be determined by the aggregate of the three fastest times achieved by its athletes.
The Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the European 10,000m Cup:
Men: Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton); Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans); Ben Lindsay (Scott Overall); Ross Millington (Steve Vernon).
Women: Jess Coulson (Mick Woods); Alyson Dixon (Self-coached); Lily Partridge (Woods) ; Jo Pavey (Gavin Pavey).