Every member of the British Athletics squad won a medal at the World Mountain Running Championships today, held in Betws-y-Coed, Wales. There was individual success for Emily Collinge and Emma Clayton (coach: Andrew Henderson) securing silver and bronze medals respectively in the senior women’s race and also won team gold. Robbie Simpson (Martin Cox) rounded off the perfect day with a hard-earned bronze in the men’s race.
Collinge had the run of her career as she won world silver in North Wales. The debutant to the British fold was part of a GB & NI 1-2-3 on the opening lap alongside Clayton and Sarah Tunstall (self-coached). However, they were caught on the first lap downhill descent by the fast-paced Ugandan Stella Chesang who went on to take individual gold.
Mid-way through the final lap, Collinge made her move and an eight second gap between herself and her compatriots continued to be extended and she claimed her first global medal, completing the 8.9km route in 38:23.
Collinge spoke afterwards: “I’ve never fought or hung on so much in my life. The uphill felt tougher today which was better for me. I’m ecstatic (to win a medal), and I’m so happy for Emma (Clayton) and I wish Sarah (Tunstall) could have got a medal as well, she deserved it.”
The Italy-based athlete added: “It was amazing to win the team gold, I’m so proud. There was so much cheering going on around the whole course. It was a great occasion and good to have my family here to watch me.”
Clayton confirmed her place on the podium with the bronze medal which added to the silver she won at the Championships in 2013. Tunstall was fourth overall and the final counter for the team who won gold on home soil. Victoria Wilkinson, a late addition to the team, was 15th to complete a good day for the team.
Clayton commented: “It’s one of the toughest Championship courses I’ve ever done. The first lap was so quick but once you’ve made a commitment, you have to go with it. We all secretly thought after the trial we could place highly (as a team) so we are really happy with the performance.”
Simpson took individual bronze in the senior men’s race despite a fall just 50 metres into the race. Aside from the battle scars, the Scot ran a professional race to move into the medal positions on the final lap to secure his first world medal. He was fifth after the first of three loops of the 13km course, but in the scorching mid-afternoon sun, he moved into fourth with one lap to go and reined in the Italian ahead of him to win the silverware.
He said afterwards: “I’m absolutely delighted to do it; it was really tough all the way. I started quite fast but I actually felt quite comfortable, just in the rhythm I wanted to be in. Coming off the second lap I was fourth but I could see the Italian in front was tiring so I just pushed and pushed and caught him by the top and managed to hang on during the descent.”
Andrew Douglas (Sophie Dunnett) ran a superb final lap to move up to sixth position while Chris Smith completed the top ten. Tom Adams was the fourth and final counter and the Ilkley athletes’ 27th place finish was enough to secure another team bronze medal. Ben Mounsey was edged into 31st in the final stages with Tom Addison (Billy Proctor) completing the team in 42nd. Uganda’s Fred Musobo clinched the gold medal in 49 minutes to earn the senior double for the country.
Earlier in the day, the junior women kick started the elite races in fine style as they earned the team silver medal after impressive performances from the trio. Trials winner Heidi Davies started the race in commanding form, sitting in second up the first hill before the course narrowed. The home favourite established a strong position in the race and although she was overtaken at the halfway point, the Welsh athlete held on to fifth position to lead the team to silver success.
2014 European champion Georgia Malir (Henderson) followed shortly behind in eighth after moving through the field and debutant Scarlet Dale (Colin Gemson) enjoyed a solid start to her international career in 21st. USA’s Allie Ostrander won by nearly a minute.
The junior men earned their place on the podium for the third consecutive year as they won team bronze. They were led home by Tonbridge’s Max Nicholls in sixth. Nicholls made a brave move on the downhill section of the first loop as he moved up to third position. However, Nicholls was pegged back and had to settle for a place outside the medals behind Ferhat Bozkurt of Turkey.
Jacob Adkin moved his way through the field to claim 8th place after a well-paced race. He was down in 25th after the first climb but worked hard to finish in the top ten in the world. John Spill was 16th and Jacob Boyle 49th as they claimed a fourth team medal of the day, a bronze.
Full results can be found via the link: https://www.tdl.ltd.uk/
Emily Collinge: Senior Women – Silver
Emma Clayton: Senior Women – Bronze
Robbie Simpson: Senior Men – Bronze
Senior Women’s team – Gold
Senior Men’s team – Bronze
Junior women’s team – Silver
Junior men’s team – Bronze