Sara Treacy

Past and present members of University of Birmingham Sport’s (UBSport) Cross Country team competed at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships yesterday (Sunday, November 12) in Albufeira, Portugal.

A total of 34 European Countries and 468 runners took part in six races throughout the course of the afternoon.

First up for the current UBSport athletes was Sara Treacy (fourth year medicine) for the Republic of Ireland (ROI) in the women’s under-23 race, in which 61 runners took part. She performed excellently crossing the line first for ROI and 28th overall with a time of 21:34.

Over in the under-23 men’s race Nick Goolab (third year mathematics) raced the track in 25:04, crossing the line for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland (GB) team to finish and 25th overall, an excellent finish from a field of 102 competitors.

Unfortunately his UBSport and GB teammate James Wilkinson (third year Sport and Exercise Science) had to withdraw from the race due to illness.

UBSport Athletics and Cross Country Club Captain Chiedu Ufodiama said: ‘The European Cross Championships were a great way to end the first term. Nick and Sara both ran excellent races so a very big well done to both of them. However, it was unfortunate that James was not well on race day so he wasn't able to capitalise on his performance in the trials. The Club as a whole is very proud of them and we cannot wait to see some more outstanding performances in the New Year.’

He added: ‘All three of them can use this weekend and build on it in time for when we host the BUCS Cross Country Championships in February as they will be key figures for UBSport’s success.’

UBSport Alumni also returned home from Portugal with a respectable set of results.

Sport and Exercise graduate Sarah Waldron picked up a team gold with GB under-23 women’s, and she also was the second of the under-23 women’s GB team to cross the line with a time of 21:16, placing her 21st overall.

Phil Nicholls (Sport and Exercise Science graduate) finished 18th and was the second GB member of the senior men’s team to cross the line at 29:46, whilst Frank Tickner (French and English graduate) placed 48th and was the fifth for GB with a time of 30:50.

Photographs provided by Chris Smith