European Cross Country: Great Britain pick Kate Avery

European Cross Country Championships

  • Venue: Belgrade, Serbia
  • Date: Sunday, 8 December

Coverage: Live on BBC Two from 12:00 GMT

Durham's Kate Avery will run for Great Britain Under-23s at the European Cross Country Championships  after a history-making run in the United States.

Avery, 22, who is at university in the USA, came third in the National Collegiate Championships to become the first British woman to win a medal.

NCAA cross-country context

Avery's third place finish ended a 10-year wait for an individual British medallist.

In 1995, Kathy Butler won the race but represented Canada at the time, switching allegiance to GB later in her career.

The last British winner came 24 years ago when John Nuttall won the men's event.

Both Butler and Nuttall went onto compete at the Olympic Games.

"I didn't expect a medal but it was so cold, muddy and windy that it was like a British race," she told BBC Sport.

"I'm just over the moon and then to be picked by GB is a huge bonus for me."

The last Briton to win a medal in the NCAA Cross Country Championships was Sussex athlete Gavin Thompson in 2003, when he too took bronze.

For Avery, it is the culmination of a frustrating 16 months after a year in which she was declared ineligible to represent her Iona College team.

"I came over to Iona last summer and only found out when I got here that a new rule had been brought in about athletes who had taken time out between school and university," she explained.

"Because I took two gap years, it meant I had to miss a season of competition before I was eligible for NCAA so that was incredibly tough."

The European Cross Country Championships take place on 8 December in Belgrade, Serbia.

Avery is joined in the Under-23 team by Morpeth Olympian Laura Weightman, whilst Cumbria's Tom Farrell has been selected for the senior men's race.

Weightman, a finalist in the 1500m at London 2012 , was selected after a fifth place finish in the Under-23 trial race whilst Farrell showed his form via by coming 16th in the NCAA's.

Avery's European podiums

  • 2009 European Under-20 3000m - second
  • 2009 European Under-20 cross-country - third
  • 2013 European Under-23 5000m - third

In 2009, Avery won a silver medal at the European Under-20 track championships in the same country - one of three individual medals she has won for Great Britain.

"I'm always really proud to run for my country so it's brilliant to be selected," she added.

"But I'm at university thousands of miles away and I'll have to agree some sort of plan to do my work back home.

"So if I'm totally honest, I wouldn't be doing the Europeans unless I thought I had a good chance of winning a medal."