UKA’s head of endurance says budget issues are behind decision to only send seniors with top 30 potential to Guiyang in March

Great Britain is set to send incomplete teams to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in China next year because of the costs involved.

As Athletics Weekly reported online in a blog last week, the 2015 World Cross could be a “no man’s land” for senior Brits after it was revealed that the GB selection strategy for this winter will include full senior, under-23 and junior teams at the European Cross Country Championships in December, plus strong teams for the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country in January, but only senior athletes “who have the ability to be competitive (top 30)” at the World Cross.

Offering an explanation for that selection criteria, which has been described by Liz Lynch-Nuttall (formerly McColgan), among others, as “a joke”, UKA head of endurance and sport sciences Barry Fudge told AW how budget issues are behind the probable and “one-off” decision to send a limited number of senior athletes to Guiyang in March. The governing body does plan, however, to send full junior teams to the event.

Also, UKA’s complete selection criteria for the 2015 World Cross, which is due to be published on December 1, is expected to say that athletes with top 30 potential in 2015 or at any future World Cross will be considered for next year’s event.

Based on the “top 30 potential” theory, however, European 10,000m silver medallist Andy Vernon would never have been picked for a World Cross as he has placed between 43rd and 114th at four events. Mo Farah was also outside the top 30 in his first three senior races, while UK marathon and former world record-holder Steve Jones was 103rd in his first World Cross.

Yet UKA is not alone in struggling to support the now biennial world cross country championships. The last event, in Poland in 2013, featured no teams from Germany or Russia or any Nordic or Baltic nations.

You can read the original blog post on this topic, published September 26, 2014, here.

» This is an abridged version of a more in-depth article in the October 2 edition of Athletics Weekly magazine which you can find in stores listed here, is available to order here or read digitally here