Central Athletic Club athletes Andrew Butchart and Jamie Crowe pitted themselves against Europe’s best at the European Cross Country Championships near Dublin on Sunday 12 December. Olympian Andrew has had success in these Championships in the past and by contrast this was Jamie’s first Great Britain and NI vest. Andrew and Jamie have been carrying all before them in Scottish cross country races this season and had achieved selection for these European Championships through second and third places in the British Trials.
The 10 kilometre race was held on an undulating course with some tight corners and patches of mud. As always the race was a fast and furious affair with a high quality field including Olympic 1,500 Metres champion Jacob Ingebrigtsen of Norway and two time European Cross Country champion Aras Kaya from Turkey. The two Central runners adopted differing tactics with Andrew pushing to the front in the early stages while Jamie started more conservatively. The race pretty much went with the form book with Ingebrigtsen winning in 30:15 and Kaya in second (30:29). Needless to say both Central runners gave it their all with the GB & NI runners also keeping to the form book finishing in a repeat of the Liverpool Trials with Jack Rowe of Aldershot, Farnham and District in 18th (31:18) and the Central runners finishing in close order in 23rd and 24th with Andrew recording 31:26 and Jamie 31:28. When the team scores came through Andrew’s and Jamie’s runs had contributed to the team’s scores with GB & NI finishing sixth in the race.
‘No part of the course was easy, but I loved every bit of it and the crowd was amazing.’ said Crowe. ‘You went through the woods and it was quiet then you’d come out and hear this roar. It was pretty special, it’s the best atmosphere I’ve ever heard in a race. I was focusing on the team aspect. I think I was just outside top 20 so I’m really happy with that. I’m a little disappointed as a team we didn’t finish higher but that was a tough field.’
Butchart said: ‘That was hard work today. My legs felt good but they perhaps weren’t good enough today. So I’m a bit disappointed. In this sort of race, you have to put yourself at the front. You can’t start at the back and come through against these top guys. You’ve got to put yourself at the front and in contention. That’s all you can do. It didn’t end up as I would have liked today but we move on to the next one.’