Steph Twell and Laura Muir (third and second from right) will race for GB at Euro Cross (photo by Mark Shearman)
Four Scots will represent GB at the Euro Cross Champs for 2015 at Hyeres, in the south of France, later this month.
Steph Twell leads the contingent with selection for a remarkable 10th time for this event among the Senior Women’s team named by British Athletics.
Laura Muir, who was top U23 in the trial at Liverpool, is named in that age division alongside Edinburgh AC’s Maddie Murray, the 2015 Scottish National XC champion.
And there is a return to the Euro Cross action after an appearance three years ago for Luke Traynor, with the Giffnock North AAC athlete selected at U23 after finishing fifth in the trial.
It is understood that Rhona Auckland, the reigning Euro Cross U23 champion, declared herself unavailable following her recent exploits in the United States with New Mexico University at the NCAA XC finals.
With 36 athletes named in all by British Athletics, Scotland is once again well-represented for a European level event in terms of population ratio.
scottishathletics would like to offer congratulations to the four athletes selected and their families and coaches on their GB selections.
Twell, who is coached by Mick Woods, said: ‘I’d love to get close to a medal or get a medal this time around.
‘I was in the top ten last year and won in Hyeres a couple of weeks ago, which should help my preparation. As a team, GB women look very strong and hopefully we can win that competition again, as well.’
Muir, who is coached by Andy Young, will run the 6K distance for U23 in the south of France after taking on the 8.1K challenge of the mud at Sefton Park.
Laura is heading for a training camp in South Africa over Christmas and New Year following the event and then will jet back home to represent Scotland in the Great Edinburgh XC – in the 4 x 1K Relay event.
Maddie Murray wins at Falkirk last February (photo by Bobby Gavin)
For Maddie Murray, this is a breakthrough moment as she wins a first GB vest after moving over from Australia a number of years ago. Maddie has represented Scotland at cross country in 2015 – winning the Home International in Antrim in March – and the Edinburgh AC athlete has made big strides on the track under the tutelage of coach John Lees.
‘I am delighted for Maddie because she is totally committed and dedicated to her athletics,’ said John.
‘There are no short-cuts and she is always willing to put in the hard work. I’ve coached her now for four years and you see the improvement coming but sometimes I have to hold her back a little – she is 22 and there’s plenty of time ahead.
‘I am a believer in movement dynamics. Running is a technical event – many people think that it isn’t and is different from throws and jumps. You have to get the foot-fall right and Maddie is someone who doesn’t tire of doing one legged hops in the gym to improve her technique. Many athletes find that boring but the work has to be done.’
Murray improved significantly on the track last summer and will relish teaming up with Muir in Hyeres.
‘The target for her 1500m was to get around 4.12 to 4.10 and she managed that despite being out for seven weeks at the start of the season through illness,’ added John.
‘We will look to get to 4.06 next year if possible. The U23 team for GB was another target and third place in that age group in Liverpool achieved that. So now she will go to France and then spend Christmas and New Year with her family in Australia before coming back for a bit of an indoor season and the National XC at Falkirk.’
Luke Traynor (photo by Bobby Gavin)
Luke Traynor, coached by Dudley Walker, flew back from America late last week to race at Liverpool in the Euro Trial – and finished fifth at U23 level to make the team after being 34th in the NCAA XC finals in Louisville the week before.
‘Liverpool was a different world from the week before in Kentucky – where you are basically running on golf courses. They were out drying the course with leaf-blowers in Louisville the day before the NCAA finals!
‘Sefton Park was probably more my cup of tea but I did only get back from the States on Thursday so I have to be pleased with my performance here as fifth U23.
‘For me, I’m at university at Tulsa now for two years and it is all about trying to improve my 10,000m times on the track. But it is great to get the nod to to represent GB again at a Euro Cross.’