Scottish hill runners enjoy Trofeo Vanoni experience in Italy

Tuesday 24th October 2023

Our five athletes who represented Scotland at Trofeo Vanoni event in Italy

Scots prepare for their Italian job

Whilst there were two major domestic relay events taking place over the weekend at Cumbernauld and the Lake District involving many across the Scottish endurance community, a small squad of Scots ventured to another relay race a bit further afield.

On Sunday two Scottish teams and several other Scottish-based athletes competed at Trofeo Vanoni in the north of Italy.

The race is well established in the international mountain running circuit and Scotland have been sending teams to it for a number of years.

It is renowned for its atmosphere as both men’s and women’s courses start and finish in the town centre of Morbegno and the courses combine some steep climbs with fast and frantic downhill sections, including the notorious ‘jump’ in the second half.

For the women,  the event is usually held as an individual race but this year teams comprising of two athletes were invited to take part.

Scotland were represented by Alice Goodall and Catriona Macdonald, both of whom were tackling the 5km course, which had 250m of ascent and descent, for the first time.

Alice on first leg pushed the pace on early at the front along with the Irish athlete Sarah McCormack (formerly of Moorfoot Runners). But with experienced international athletes applying pressure, she duly handed over to Catriona in sixth place.

Catriona quickly then closed down a couple of competitors ahead of her and by the end had pulled Scotland up to a fine fourth place, ahead of other teams from Slovenia, Great Britain, Wales and Poland. Both Alice (ninth) and Catriona (10th) finished inside the top-10 individual lap times.

The record holder for the course, Sarah McCormack, ran the fastest female lap of the day in 22. 34 helping the Irish team to third spot behind two Italian duos.

Helen Leigh of Highland Hill Runners ran as part of the Snowdon-select team helping them to finish in sixth place overall.

In the men’s event, each team consisted of three runners racing over a 7km course with 450m of ascent and descent.

Scotland were represented by a youthful squad featuring Kieran Cooper, Jonathon Downey and Joseph Wright, all rewarded with their first senior vests.

Each individual ran superbly, Kieran (15th fastest lap) in particular on the first leg, to give the team an excellent overall ninth place finish and the takeaway of a great experience competing against some high-level mountain running opponents.

Also competing as a trio were Matt Knowles, Andy Douglas and Ross Gollan as one of the GB-assembled teams and secured a podium spot, second only to the French team. All three finished in the top-10 individual lap times (Andy third, Matt fifth, Ross ninth).

Italian international Alberto Vender posted the fastest lap time of the day in 29.32. Other Scots-based athletes involved included Jack Trainer, Robert Sparks and Jack McKenna whose team finished 28th out of 91 teams.

With thanks to Andy Douglas


The British Fell and Hill Relay Championships were held in Brathwaite on Saturday with only Carnethy’s V40 team making the podium in the ‘championship’ category.

Carnethy narrowly missed out on the win, finishing just eight seconds behind Ambleside to take second place.

In the senior men’s event, the Ochils were again the first Scottish team home in seventh, narrowly beating Carnethy in eighth by 18 seconds over an event of more than three hours. Honours went to Dark Peak.

In the women’s event, there were three Scottish teams in the top ten. Carnethy just missed out on the podium finishing fourth and Westerlands women had their highest finish position ever to finish sixth with Shettleston in eighth.

Westerland’s V60 team finished in third place where less than a minute separated the first three teams.

With thanks to Angela Mudge

Tags: Carnethy, hill running, Italy, Trofeo Vanoni

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