Jo Pavey (coach: Gavin Pavey) will represent GB & NI for the first time since she was crowned European 10,000m champion last summer as the 41 year old joins an eight-strong team heading to the European 10,000m Cup in Chia on 6 June.
The Commonwealth 5000m bronze medallist will headline a strong women's quartet making the trip to Italy to face Europe's best distance runners. With memories of that famous night last August in Zurich on her mind, she will be hoping for an encouraging start to her track season next month.
2012 European Cross Country U23 champion Jess Coulson (Mick Woods) was second at the Highgate Harrier 'Night of 10,000m PBs' on Saturday, setting a new personal best of 32:41.59. She will be joined by British Athletics Cross Challenge winner Lily Partridge (Woods) who recorded a lifetime best of 32:20.77 in Huelva last month. GB & NI stalwart Alyson Dixon, who also set a PB of 32:55.36 completes the women's squad, and will be looking for a high finish in the team standings next month.
The men's team contains the second and third placers from Saturday's 10,000m. Commonwealth Games representative Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans) who set a PB of 28:46.80 will earn his second GB & NI cap of 2015 next month after competing at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March. Ben Lindsay (Scott Overall) will return to international duty for the first time since 2008 and will go into the event with confidence after setting a career best of 29:02.93 last weekend.
World and European Cross Country International Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton) finished seventh at the Great Manchester Run recently in a new personal best of 29:09. At the same event, Ross Millington (Steve Vernon) who was two seconds further back from the Scottish athlete is also selected.
British Athletics' Head of Endurance Barry Fudge said: "There were some really encouraging performances last weekend and I'm sure the eight athletes will equip themselves well for the challenge ahead in the European Cup.
"This is a great opportunity for distance runners to test their form and fitness at the early stage of the season ahead of another busy summer of championships. It is without doubt going to be a big test, but I'm confident that the performances shown by Jo (Pavey) last year will inspire the rest of the team to high placing's in Chia."
At the European 10,000m Cup, a team comprises of a maximum of six athletes but each team's score shall be determined by the aggregate of the three fastest times achieved by its athletes.
The Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for the European 10,000m Cup:
Jess Coulson (Mick Woods)
Alyson Dixon (Self-coached)
Lily Partridge (Woods)
Jo Pavey (Gavin Pavey)
*Rhona Auckland declined her invitation to the event to concentrate on the European U23 Championships in Talinn, Estonia in July.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty images