European Cross Country: Great Britain pick Kate Avery

By Joe TownsendBBC North East and Cumbria Sport
Great Britain runner Kate Avery

Durham's Kate Avery will run for Great Britain Under-23s at the European Cross Country Championshipsexternal-link 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.

"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, , 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.

In 2009, Avery won a silver medal at the European Under-20 track championships in the same country -

"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."

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