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Team Europe celebrate victory at Great Stirling XCountry

women cross country stirling 2019

Scotland – In the first major international event of 2019, Team Europe celebrated victory at the Simplyhealth Great Stirling XCountry, a European Athletics Cross Country Permit event, as they successfully defended their title at a competition which has traditionally been held in Edinburgh.

Team Europe triumphed with 55 points from Great Britain & Northern Ireland with 84 and Team USA with 90. “We are so proud of all the team. We are happy to defend our title,” said Team Europe captain Adel Mechaal.

Great Stirling XCountry Women’s 6km

With a sharp wind but no rain and not much mud underfoot, Germany’s Elena Burkard gave Team Europe a brilliant start.

Having finished sixth at the SPAR Cross Country Championships in Tilburg, Burkard bided her time behind the woman who was one place behind her last month: Great Britain’s Charlotte Arter.

With Arter leading and looking strong, Burkard edged closer towards her as the bell approached and then immediately took over and was never challenged.

The fourth lap saw Burkard break further away and she won in 20:01, a victory by five seconds from Arter with European teammate Anna Emilie Moller, Denmark’s U23 champion from Tilburg, third in 20:11.

And with the first four athletes counting in the match in each event, Europe found themselves in front as Burkard’s German teammate Anna Gehring was sixth in 20:17 with Poland’s Anna Gosk in seventh in 20:19. Anne-Marie Blaney was the first US athlete home in 11th in 20:29.

Great Stirling XCountry Men’s 8km

Fresh from an outstanding fifth in Tilburg, Napoleon Solomon produced another superb run to take second and keep Team Europe in command.

In a battling finish after a tough and dramatic race, Solomon did not have enough to go past US athlete Hillary Bor who won in 23:48, the exact same time as the Swede who was 15th in Edinburgh two years ago.

Mechaal was third in 23:49 with reigning two-time winner Leonard Korir from the United States fourth also in the same time.

The United States still won the team race with 16 points ahead of Europe with 20 points. Germany’s Samuel Fitwi was the third counter in seventh in 24:03, one place ahead of Aras Kaya from Turkey in 24:05.

Europe also consolidated their position in the standings with a commanding 26 point lead over the hosts – 37 to 63 points.

After laps of 4:34, 4:26 and 4:26, Bor moved to the front on the fourth lap which was covered in 4:23 before temporarily squandering his lead after going off course on the first of the two shorter laps.

Stopping, and recovering quickly, he was back among the leaders with this distraction taking nothing out of him. Bor hit the bell in 20:51 and it was a pack of five who were going to challenge for the honours, as Solomon, Mechaal, Korir and US captain and former three-time winner Garrett Heath primed themselves for glory.

The pace quickened and as Bor went further ahead, Solomon went with him. The US athlete was looking behind all the time but the line came just at the right moment.

🇺🇸 Bor 23:48
🇪🇺 Solomon 23:48
🇪🇺 Mechaal 23:49
🇺🇸 Korir 23:49
🇺🇸 Heath 23:56
🇺🇸 Elliott 24:00
🇪🇺 Fitwi 24:03
🇪🇺 Kaya 24:05

Great Stirling XCountry Match standings after two races:

🇪🇺 37
🇬🇧 63
🇺🇸 66

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