Jessica Sparke won an impressive bronze medal at the European Cross-Country Championships in Dublin.
From the UKA website:
The women’s under 23 team, who looked strong on paper coming into the championships, translated that expectation into a team gold medal on the muddy course in the Irish capital, with all six girls through the tape in the top 20 and four in the top ten.
The win was a distant dream for those who chased eventual gold medal winner Sultan Haydar of Turkey, who got an early lead and held onto it with impressive form, but second and third place were very much up for grabs and it was Jessica Sparke (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) who took full advantage, powering home to take individual bronze.
Sparke said “I’m so happy and so pleased. I just aimed to go off and be in the first group and work my way through. I was hoping I would get an individual medal but the aim was to just be as high up as possible. It didn’t seem that quick, I had a cold at the beginning of the week and I wasn’t able to train but I don’t think it was a bad thing because I felt quite fresh. It was amazing to be on the podium, I’ve always wanted that! I’m so pleased.”
Sparke was followed in quick succession by Charlotte Browning (AFD) and Hollie Rowland (City of Norwich) in fourth and fifth place respectively, with Stevie Stockton (Vale Royal AC), the fourth scoring athlete, in 10th and three times junior women’s champion Stephanie Twell (AFD) in eleventh place.