Seven things you possibly didn’t know about the Euro XC

*Jon Brown’s winning margin of 35-seconds in quagmire conditions in Charleroi in 1996 remains the largest in the history of the men’s senior race. The next biggest winning margin was Sergey Lebid’s 23-second victory in 2004 in Heringsdorf.

*The British team crossed the milestone one-century mark of medals in European XC Championships history last year in Szentendre. The team’s collective effort when every runner came away with a medal took GB’s overall tally up to an impressive 102.

*Both winners of the Olympic triathlon title last year have at some point competed at the European XC Champs. Nicola Spirig was the silver medallist in the under-20 race in 1999 and 2000, beating soon-to-be world 5000m record-holder Elvan Abeylegesse in the latter, while Alistair Brownlee competed in the under-23 race in 2009.

*It was incorrectly reported Mo Farah was suffering from a magnesium and iron deficiency when he collapsed through exhaustion after winning silver at the 2009 European XC Champs. According to his autobiography, it’s more likely fasting in the build-up to the race left him weakened on race-day.

*Lebid and Paulo Guerra, between them, have won thirteen of the nineteen individual titles on offer. The corresponding history in the women’s race reads much more differently as the only repeat winners are Paula Radcliffe (1998/2003), Hayley Yelling (2004/2009) and Fionnuala Britton (2011/12). The latter will be seeking to make history by becoming the first three-time winner of the women’s senior title.

*Lebid has been the event’s only ever-present having competed at every edition since 1994 but the Ukrainian will be giving the event a miss this year. He’s recently moved to the marathon and clocked a creditable 2:11:24 in Lisbon in October. Another regular participant Gabriele De Nard from Italy will be making his 18th appearance though, just one short of Lebid’s record number of appearances.

*One of the favourites in the women’s junior race is Marusa Mismas from Slovenia. She finished second in the steeplechase at the European Junior Championships in a national record of 9:51.15 although she came to the longer distances in a somewhat roundabout manner. She was initially a 400m hurdler and she made the Youth Olympic Games final as a 15-year-old in 2010.

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