The British have won a women's senior team medal at each of the last 15 editions of the European Cross Country Championships. Ahead of this weekend’s event in Hyeres, we take a look at the British team heading to France eager to make it sweet little sixteen.

Long distance runners are not so lonely when it comes to cross country. The team is everything, and to enjoy collective success consistency across the contingent is key. Over the last 15 years of European cross country championships, the senior British women have been the most consistently consistent of the lot, returning with a medal for their conserted efforts each year since 1999 – four team titles in total.

It’s a remarkable run that extends back to the days when Paula Radcliffe was first making her name. The 2015 champs take place in Hyeres, France, on Sunday, and the British senior group is as strong as ever. It blends experience with youthful gusto, and includes their trio of top ten finishers from 2014.

Gemma Steel

Gemma Steel ()

Steel has been the backbone of the British women's recent success, winning bronze in 2011, silver in '13, and taking gold in Samokov last year. She heads to France looking to become only the second woman in history to retain the senior title, which would see her join a select group of repeat winners that includes marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe and Hayley Yelling, who dominated the championships through noughties.

Steel “got rid of the rust” when she won her first XC race of the season, the British trials in muddy Sefton Park, Liverpool, a fortnight ago, where she was pushed all the way by her British teammates Kate Avery and Steph Twell.

“I’ve won a medal every time bar one championship so I have a good record which I’d like to keep going," Steel says. “I have to aim high, so I’m looking for the gold.”

Stephanie Twell

Steph Twell ()

Twell was a precocious teen; a double European junior cross country champion (‘06 and ‘07) and gold medal winner in the 1500m at the 2008 world juniors in Bydgoszcz. She made her debut in the world cross senior race in 2009, coming home as the fastest Brit in 38th.

An ankle fracture suffered in 2011 halted her progression, and subsequent injuries killed her confidence. But after strong showing at the Beijing World Championships – where she made the 5000m final in her first global champs since 2009 – her belief has begun to return.

The Scot finished seventh in Samokov last year to help secure team gold for the Brits, improving on her 15th place showing the year before. Her third place at trials will have provided further encouragement, as will a win at a test event at the Hyeres course a few weeks earlier.

Kate Avery

Kate Avery ()

Iona College graduate Avery has risen to prominence after a fruitful few years. In 2013 she won 5000m silver at the European U23 championships, came home third at the 2013 NCAA XC champs and then fourth in the U23 race at the Euro cross. Last fall she cranked it up a notch, becoming the first British woman to win an individual NCAA XC title and bagging silver behind Steel in Samokov three weeks later.

This year, on the track, she ran the 5000m at NCAAs and British champs, finishing third and fourth respectively. At the world championships she finished 15th in the 10,000m.

“I want to be competing with the best and I will get there,” the Durham-born athlete said after Beijing. The 24-year-old showed she can mud it with the best of them at trials, crossing the line in second.

Sonia Samuels

Sonia Samuels ()

Her apperance at trials was the shortest race Samuels has had all year. A steeplechaser in the early part of her career, the 36-year-old has run two marathons this year, finishing 16th in London and 9th in Berlin in a personal best 2:28:04.

She was 15th in Samokov last year in her first Euro cross appearance since her debut in 2009 when she was 21st.

Elle Vernon

Elle Vernon ()

Despite a career disrupted by injuries sustained after a sixth place finish in the 5000m at the 2005 European U23s, Vernon has finished inside the top 20 in the European mud on three occasions. She finished fourth in the trials after claiming second on the turf in Milton Keynes earlier in the month.

Lauren Howarth

Lauren Howarth ()

The last time Howarth competed in the Euro cross was in Belgrade in 2013, where she was third home (11th overall) for her country, helping secure senior team gold for the Brits.

Her highest place finish at the championships came as a junior in 2008, when she was third as part of a British team that locked down the top six. The 25-year-old junior doctor was sixth at trials.