After winning the Copenhagen Half Marathon last weekend in a sensational European record of 65:15, Sifan Hassan has said she harbours aspirations of tackling the full marathon distance – but only after the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
A 5000/10,000m double beckons for Hassan at the 2020 Olympics but her next goal will land closer to home: the SPAR European Cross Country Championships on home soil in Tilburg on 9 December.
After slicing more than a minute off the European record in Copenhagen, Hassan traveled to Tilburg on Tuesday (18) to inspect the Beekse Bergen Safari Park, the location for the 25th edition of the championships.
Hassan expressed her liking of the course and the location and told reporters that she is looking forward to taking part in a home championship in December.
“The Netherlands is home for me. And I think cross country is the best thing there is – a soft surface and time is not that important. But I want to win of course,” said Hassan, who moved to the Netherlands from Ethiopia at the age of 17.
Hassan hasn’t competed at these championships since 2015 when she romped to victory in the senior women’s race in Hyeres, France. Hassan marked her arrival onto the European stage two years prior with victory in the U23 race in Belgrade, Serbia – her first appearance in a Dutch vest in an international competition.
On her plans to move up in distance, Hassan told local reporters: “I have never run a whole marathon but I will do that after the Tokyo Olympics where I want to contest the 5000m and 10,000m, I am going to focus on that. But I do not want to let go of those shorter distances, I would regret that.”
Hassan, who also eclipsed the European 5000m record in July, will begin as the automatic favourite in the senior women’s 8km but there could be success for the Netherlands in the team race as well.
European 10,000m silver medallist Susan Krumins and sub-4:00 1500m runner Maureen Koster – who were sixth and eighth respectively behind Hassan in the 5000m at the European Championships – have also been pre-selected for Tilburg.