Irish XC star Fionnuala Britton talks to SPIKES about spikes

Ever worried about which spikes to wear? Well, ahead of Sunday’s World Cross Country Championships, two-time Eurocross champ Fionnuala Britton is here to reveal her secrets…


Snow time

“I don’t mind running on the snow, the part I don’t like is I know it will be cold, and I don’t like the cold. The type of snow can affect the way you set up your spikes.

“For example, I have run on slushy snow in Brussels, which is quite soft, so I would use the same length spikes as I would for a muddy race.

“In Budapest [at the 2012 Eurocross, below] the snow was a few days old, harder and more compact. I’d run with 12mm spikes at the back and 9mm at the front in these conditions.”


Great Britton: The Irishwoman leads in Budapest with 12mm at the back, 9mm at the front.

Logging on

“Also, [In Budapest] I made sure I ran with 9mm spikes at the front and not any longer, because I was jumping over logs. I didn’t want the longer spikes to get stuck on top of the logs when I was jumping over them.”

Muck and mud

“These are conditions I’m used to, because running back in Ireland as a youngster, we didn’t have a track nearby and I’d often train around a field. If it is a mucky and muddy course, I’d run with 12mm at the front and the back. I would never wear 15mm [the longest spikes] as I would feel like I’m up on stilts.”

On solid ground

“Often, a World Cross Country Championships would be run on a racecourse style surface, which is very firm and very quick. The surface would be not too dissimilar to a track, and I notice the speed of these races would be at least a level up [from a muddier course]. Yet, despite the conditions I wouldn’t opt for running in less than 9mm spikes for any cross-country race.”

Be flexible

“I often make a decision of which spikes to compete in when running the course the day before but you have to be flexible. A deluge of rain can alter conditions overnight and this could change my plan of what spikes to fit.”

Fionnuala Britton will be competing for Ireland at the 40th IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The 8km women’s race starts at 12:15 GMT (13:15 CET) on Sunday 24th March.

Top image courtesy of adidas.