European Cross course update: stiff challenge awaits
The European Cross Country course in Borovets for Samokov 2014 changed quite substantially overnight with a cold snap freezing over much of the course. Two visits to the course 24 hours before the race saw it thaw out but still it will prove very trying for Europe’s best distance athletes.
It will be a rhythm-breaking course and tough on the ankles where the mud has frozen over. Sophie Duarté felt that the course needed to be rolled over but such machinery doesn’t seem to be in place like for the world cross in Bygoszcz two years ago. Below is the first video on the latest view of the course.
Swedish hope Meraf Bahta ran the course in the morning with Jumping The Gun having arrived from altitude training in Flagstaff, Arizona on Friday. She isn’t a fan of the mud and interestingly didn’t know who one of her chief rivals, Fionnuala Britton, was. She was subsequently impressed after being informed of her past results. Below is another view of the ever-changing terrain.
There has been some travel difficulties with the Great British team not arriving to the team hotel until 3am. Likewise the Irish had travel issues and their gear didn’t make the connecting flight. As for the course, one of the leading international coaches was not happy with the course and said it was not like the one he had seen when doing a recce a few months ago. “A right f*** up,” he replied unhappy with the course. One of the toughest sections will be the hill below which will prove challenging – not because of the steepness but the underfoot will be a mix of mud and ice.
The junior races look likely to be the most challenging as the course will be frozen over at that point. Following that the course should thaw out but will be chewed up by the time the senior races come round. Paula Radcliffe replied to us on Twitter when asked to compare the mud of Ostend when she won the world cross in 2001. “I’m not there but very but very different than Ostend but equally as challenging. Looks like good running mixes with frozen mud. Below is the the video of the hill in Borovets and Radcliffe winning in Ostend which looks like an accurate view of what running on Sunday will be like.