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GB & NI's mountain runners head to poland

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Emma Clayton
Emma Clayton
03 September 2013

GB & NI’s mountain runners head to Poland this weekend to take on the world’s best at the IAAF World Mountain Running Championships in Krynica-Zdrój on Sunday 8 September.

After winning team medals in three out of the four races at the European Championships in Bulgaria back in July the team should be full of confidence, especially given the course takes on an up and down format, one that typically suits the British runners. Leading the charge will be the senior women’s team, which is made up of three of the athletes who took European gold on an up and down course in 2012. Trials winner Emma Clayton (coach: Andrew Henderson), who was sixth at the aforementioned European Championships, is joined again by Mary Wilkinson and Katie Walshaw, as well as 2009 European Championship bronze medallist Sarah Tunstall, who is on the comeback trail following a couple of injury ravaged seasons. The team will travel to Poland with their eyes firmly set on a team medal.

There will be tough competition for medals in the senior men’s race, with a strong teams from Eritrea, Italy, Turkey and the USA all toeing the startline. Nevertheless, Britain’s men have run well on up and down courses in the past, especially team member Andi Jones who finished fourth in this championship in Alaska back in 2003. Jones was second at the trial race behind Rob Samuel (Andy Walling), and these two men and will be looking for good performances out in Poland.

Samuel said: “It's always going to be tough with stacks of the world’s best mountain runners. It would be great to get into the top 20-25 though, and I think I'm definitely capable of that. The trial has given me a big confidence boost, so I'll use that, go out and enjoy the race and give it my all, making sure I put myself in a strong position.”

Joining Samuel and Jones in the team will be GB & NI regulars James McMullan, Nick Swinburn and Chris Smith, with latter making a huge breakthrough to finish eighth at the European Championships earlier this year.

Smith said of that performance: “It's always good when you run well but what made it even more special was the men's team getting the silver medal. I gained a lot of confidence from that performance and intend to use it for the race in Poland.”

Making up the senior men’s team will be Tom Adams (Anne Buckley) who makes his GB & NI debut and was rather excited when talking about the opportunity.

“Special would be an understatement - being selected for Great Britain is a dream come true and I think the ultimate achievement for any athlete must be to compete for their country.”

In the junior women’s race GB & NI are represented by the same athletes that won team silver at the European Championships in July. Annabel Mason is the 2012 European Junior Champion and she will line up alongside trials winner Georgia Malir (Henderson) and Catriona Graves who was sixth at this year’s European Championships. This team will certainly be looking to add another medal to their ever growing collection.

The junior men’s team is made up of debutants and previous internationals alike. The team of Bradley Travis, Max Wharton (Brian Burgin), Nathan Jones and Max Nicholls (Peter Brenchley) will head to Poland with their sights set on improving on the eleventh place finish by the junior men’s team at this championships last year.

For further information please head to the World Mountain Running Championships 2013 website: http://wmrc2013.pl/