Calli Hauger-Thackery leads Britain to European half-marathon team gold – AW

    Hauger-Thackery wins individual bronze on a morning where Karoline Grøvdal of Norway and Yeman Crippa of Italy emerged as overall winners

    Led by Calli Hauger-Thackery in third place, Britain won their first gold medal of the 2024 European Championships in Rome with a women’s team title in the half-marathon.

    Italy’s brilliant week continued, meanwhile, as Yeman Crippa notched up the host nation’s seventh gold in the men’s half-marathon. For Karoline Grøvdal, the Norwegian added a half-marathon gold to the 5000m silver she earned behind Nadia Battocletti two days earlier.

    Racing in warm and muggy but slightly overcast conditions on Sunday morning, Grøvdal ran 68:09 as Joan Chelimo Melly of Romania was runner-up in 68:55 and Hauger-Thackery taking bronze in 68:58.

    Backed up by Abbie Donnelly (6th in 69:57), Clara Evans (9th in70:06 and Lauren McNeil (17th in 71:26) the Brits ran out team winners by almost three minutes ahead of Germany and Spain.

    “I’m delighted but I have mixed emotions as it’s so overwhelming,” said Hauger-Thackery. “Training has been going so well and as an athlete you always want more, but I’m so happy and the rest of the team really helped get me through today.

    “To get a gold medal as a team shows a lot about where British women are right now.”

    The 31-year-old was also supported by her mum in Rome. Her dad, meanwhile, actually raced in the 10,000m at the 1986 European Championships for Britain, finishing 16th.

    Her husband, however, wasn’t in Rome. Instead he was racing on the same day in the Chicago Half Marathon.

    Calli Thackery (Getty)

    Hauger-Thackery is building up toward the Olympic marathon and plans to go to St Moritz in Switzerland soon for about five or six weeks of training.

    Donnelly added: “I am so so proud of the whole team. I was welling up in the end as we came into the stadium, it is such a good feeling.

    “We all get on so well, and we are all rooting for each other and helping one another. I kept seeing Calli on the course and I just wanted to scream and cheer at her to encourage her.”

    Karoline Grøvdal (Getty)

    Evans was pleased with her PB in the warm conditions and said: “Running with the girls is really great. We are a great team, we’ve run a lot of races together already and we really get along so when it was hurting we were thinking just keep running for that time and we were doing it for each other out there today.”

    McNeil added: “It was tough out there in the heat, but I just kept my head down and kept going and I knew the girls were ahead of me and doing amazingly so I just kept it going and got to the finish.”

    There were no Brits in the men’s race as Crippa and Pietro Riva scored a one-two for Italy. Crippa clocked 61:03 as he added to his nation’s impressive medal haul. With Eyob Faniel in eighth it meant Italy won team gold too.

    Yeman Crippa (Getty)

    After 18 of the 49 events, Italy has a placings score of 113 – based on points given for positions one to eight – with the next best nation of Germany way behind on 63 points, Spain with 59.5 and Britain on 54.

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