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clayton and douglas seal challenge titles

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Emma Clayton
26 August 2015


Inverclyde’s Andrew Douglas (coach: Sophie Dunnett) came out on top over the course of the season in the British Athletics Mountain Running Challenge series after his two first placed finishes gave him the maximum of 104 points. Emma Clayton (Andrew Henderson) of Leeds City managed a first and a third as her best two marks to win the women’s challenge with 100 points.

The third and final instalment of the Mountain Running Challenge returned to Betws-y-Coed last weekend; the event also incorporating the World Trials. Scot Robbie Simpson claimed victory ahead of countryman Douglas, winning by over a minute in a time of 48.37.

Sarah Tunstall (self-coached) emerged a comfortable winner from second placed Emily Collinge, in her first and last appearance in this Mountain Running Challenge, with Clayton finishing third. All three sealed their place on the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for the World Mountain Running Championships on 19 September.

Away from the Mountain Challenge events, there were two junior races to determine the junior teams heading back to Betws-y-Coed for the World Mountain Running Championships. Jacob Adkin (Gregor Nicholson) prevailed in the men’s race with John Spill and Jacob Boyle in second and third respectively. Heidi Davies took the women’s race from Georgia Malir (Andrew Henderson) and Scarlet Dale (Colin Gemson).

Casting an eye back on the whole series this season, we saw some fantastic races unfold. The first of the three-pronged race series took place in the familiar surrounds of North Wales back in May as the athletes battled for the Inter-Counties title. It would be the eventual series winners who got their seasons off to a flying start here as both took victory. Douglas, running for Scotland West, took a commanding win by almost a minute from Chris Smith of Middlesex while Clayton running for Yorkshire, held off the challenge of Annie Conway and Sarah McCormack, both of Cumbria.

The next stop for the athletes came just two weeks later in Glenridding, Cumbria at the European (Uphill) Championship trial race on 31 May. Douglas again came out on top here; this time having a real tussle with Smith of Thames Valley before taking victory by ten seconds. Victoria Wilkinson of Bingley triumphed in the women’s race, with series winner Clayton down in third.

Those who qualified for the GB & NI team will now be looking forward to returning to Betws-y-Coed in a few weeks’ time to take on the best in the world. The full British team for the World Mountain Running Championships can be found here: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/media/news/2015-news-page/august-2015/25-08-15-wmrc-team/