Not even early race fall could stop Robbie Simpson’s medal run – photo by Andy Stark
Scotland’s Robbie Simpson claimed a superb individual third place to take bronze at the World mountain Running Champs in Wales.
And the man from Deeside Runners came away with a team bronze as well as Andy Douglas finished sixth to help GB to 3rd in the team race.
Jacob Adkin took home team bronze, too, in the Junior Men’s race as he finished 8th and thus all three Scots involved with GB at the World Champs at Betws-y-Coed came away with medals.
Indeed, that applied right across the spectrum of the British team in what was a remarkable overall performance by the ‘home team’ after a couple of years preparing for the event in North Wales.
In a Scottish context, three athletes represented GB on the World stage and all finished in the top eight in what was a fine collective performance in that respect by our best hill runners.
Simpson had won the GB team trial across the same course a few weeks back and he put that knowledge to good use durung the 13K Senior Men’s race.
Douglas, likewise, worked his way up the field having been 18th in the early stage to come through to sixth just as Simpson had edged his way into medal contention from halfway onwards.
And what a moment it was for Robbie after taking a silver in the Europeans in 2014 and spending spells living in Austria and Germany over the past couple of years to train and compete at the right level and conditions.
Robbie clinches third place and bronze
Andy Douglas – well-judged run for 6th
Robbie, in fact, 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.
‘I’m absolutely delighted to do it; it was really tough all the way,’ grinned the Scot.
‘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.’
Douglas 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.
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.
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.
All at scottishathletics would like to congratulate Robbie, Andy and Jacob on first class performances at the very highest level and pay tribute to their families, coaches and clubs who have supported them and helped in their development over the years.
With thanks to Gareth Burrell of British Athletics
GB Medal Count (with Scottish performances):
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 (Simpson 3rd, Andy Douglas 6th)
Junior women’s team – Silver
Junior men’s team – Bronze (Jacob Adkin 8th)
Jacob Adkin of Moorfoot Runners – 8th in World Champs