Defending European Cross Country Champion Fionnuala Britton placed fourth at the IAAF Cross Country International in Burgos, Spain.

The race was won by Ayalew Hiwot in a time of 25.01, followed by Linet Masai of Kenya in second (25.19), with Britain’s Jessica Coulson finishing a surprise third in 25.42.

Britton ran a strong race to cross the line in a time of 25.48, just holding off the challenge of Portuguese rival Sara Moreira (25.51).

Ava Hutchinson was the next of the Irish to finish in ninth place, followed by Sarah McCormack in 13th and Kerry Harty in 21st.

The senior men’s race involved a photo finish, with defending World Cross Country Champion Imane Merga being deemed the winner in a time of 28.07.

Irish athlete David McCarthy (West Waterford AC) battled bravely all the way to the line to finish in 18th place overall in a time of 29.20.

Team mate Michael Mulhare (Portlaoise A.C) showed improved form, finishing less than 20 seconds behind McCarthy in 25th place.

Next of the Irish was Brian Maher (Kilkenny City Harriers AC) placing 40th, followed by Eddie McGinley (Annadale Striders AC) in 53rd.

Sean Tobin (Clonmel AC) finished an impressive second place in the earlier junior men’s race in a time of 17.48. The race was won by Bulgarian Mitko Tsenov (17.28)

Next up for all of these athletes will be the Woodie’s DIY Inter County Cross Country Championships to be held in Tattersalls Ratoath, Co. Meath on Sunday, 25 of November.

Those championships will act as the trial for the upcoming European Cross Country Championships scheduled for 9 December in Budapest, Hungary.