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gb & Ni triumphant in turin

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Robbie Britton

13 April 2015

Every member of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland 24 hour ultra-running team came home with a medal after a sterling performance in Turin at the IAU World and European 24 hour Championships. The 12-strong squad picked up team medals alongside Robbie Britton’s marvellous World and European individual bronze.

Britton paced his effort well, reaching half way with a distance of 131.650km. He slowly worked his way through the field over the next 12 hours and in an exciting last hour, sensing an individual podium slot was possible, he increased his pace to move from sixth to third position to claim world bronze.

He finished with a distance of 261.140km (162 miles) taking him to 5th on the GB all-time 24 hour rankings.

Britton was delighted with his race saying, “It is one thing to be one of the best at home and win races. Coming to an event like this with a quality world field and doing well, is a step up again”

He was backed up by Pat Robbins in 7th with 256.801km, Steve Holyoak in 11th recording 252.836km, Dan Lawson in 24th with 241.274km and Marco Consani 212.253km in 63rd, to claim the world gold medal for the GB & NI men’s team in Italy.

The British men’s team performance also shattered the collective British team total for a 24 hour championships, based on cumulative distances by leading three runners.They improved the existing British record set at the world championship in 2010 to 770.777km putting them 6th on the world all-time list.

Florian Reus from Germany was the overall world champion covering a distance of 263.899km with Poland’s Pawel Szynal narrowly ahead of Britton. Conditions were warm throughout the Saturday and it seemed those who made a more cautious start benefitted as the race wore on.

The women’s team was led home by Cornwall’s Izzy Wykes, who like Britton, ran a steady and strong race to reach 227.090km and claim 8th position in the world championships, and fourth in the European competition. 

Wykes was supported by the Scottish trio of Debbie Consani in 12th with 221,714km, Sharon Law, 13th in setting 219.501km and Fionna Ross in 36th with 201,247km. Emily Gelder followed with 199.297km and finished in 41st and Karen Hathaway came home with 181.996km distance for 65th place. 

As with the men’s team competition, the women's team medals were closely contested. The strong USA team, led home by the race winner Katalin Nagy, were comfortable winners, but a close battle for the other medals resulted in Sweden and Poland taking silver and bronze in the world event.

However, the GB & NI women fought hard to hold off the Germans and Russians and take the European bronze team medal.

The GB & NI team manager in Turin Richard Brown said “This is the best performance we have ever achieved and everyone in the squad – runners and supporters – are rightly delighted. It shows that hard work over many months and a great team spirit can deliver when it matters.”

Full results can be found at http://www.iau-ultramarathon.org