Britton faces defence of the title

Britton facing stiff challenge next month

Published 14/11/2012 | 11:09

Fionnuala Britton leads the field on her way to winning the Gerry Farnan Cross Country 2012.

WICKLOW athlete Fionnuala Britton will face her first major test since the Olympics next month when she defends her European cross-country title.

And she learned at the weekend that she is not going to have it all her own way when finishing fourth in a high quality field in the Burgos international in Spain.

However the Wicklow runner is coming back into form and we can be reasonably confident that Britton will give the European Cross-country in four weeks time her best shot and should be there or there-abouts at the finish.

Victory in the Burgos international on Sunday went to Ethiopia's Ayalew Hiwot, ahead of Kenya's three-time world cross country silver medallist Linet Masai, proving that African athletes are very hard to beat in endurance and stamina sapping races.

Britton was edged out of third spot by Jessica Coulson, the emerging British talent, further proof that the Wicklow lass will need to be at the top of her form if she is to retain her European cross-country crown.

And they were closely followed by three other Europeans, Sara Moreira from Portugal in fifth, Nadia Ejjafini, Italy, sixth, and Britain's Hanna Walker taking seventh. It all goes to show that Britton is pitted against serious athletic competition at international level.

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