Tom Owens – Shettleston Harriers athlete will represent GB
IAU World Trail Champs; Annecy, France
A strong GB and NI team will be hoping to continue the recent success of British Ultra-running teams on the international stage when they head to Annecy in France this weekend to compete in the IAU World Trail Championships.
The race will see 178 men and 109 women, representing 39 federations, lining up at the start line. This eclipses the previous record of 20 federations and 109 overall athletes in previous championships.
And Scottish athletes Paul Giblin from Paisley, Tom Owens of Shettleston Harriers and Paul Raistrick of Inverness Harriers, are expected to feature prominently in the British challenge.
The nature of the Maxi race course, which is one large loop of 85km (53 Miles) including 5,300metres of ascent, has led to an experienced mix of athletes from both an ultra trail and long distance mountain running background being selected.
Tom Owens (Shettleston) will lead an 11-strong team of six men and five women looking to repeat strong performances achieved in the last IAU World ultra trail championships in Wales in July 2013. Tom showed he is in good form having won the 75km Buffalo Stampede Skyrunner series event in Australia race last month.
Owens will be joined by Paul Giblin, course record holder for the 95-mile West Highland Way race and top placed Briton at the World 100km championships in Doha, last November. Giblin was 11th on that occasion and will be hoping to be a significant challenger in the field.
Also joining the strong senior men’s team will be 2014 Lakeland 50 winner Kim Collison; Welshman Iain Ridgway, 4th at the last championships in Wales in 2013; 2011 Commonwealth Ultra-trail running Championships 12th place finisher Paul Raistrick; and Lee Kemp, the top GB finisher from the 100km alpine CCC race in 2014.
The women’s team, although affected by the withdrawals of experienced athletes Holly Rush and Jo Meek due to injury, should be equally competitive. Sarah Fawcett, Tracy Dean, Lizzie Wraith, Sarah Morwood and Bonnie Van Wilgenburg, bring a mix of experience and emerging talent to the women’s team who could also be challenging for a podium spot.
British Athletics Ultra-distance co-ordinator and team manager Walter Hill said: ‘The quality of the opposition will be very competitive; especially the French, Spanish and Italian teams .We have strong teams, and they will be fighting hard to follow in the footsteps of our successful 100Km and 24-hour squads who all secured medals at their recent World Championships.’
Live tracking from the race which starts at 3.30am in Annecy early on Saturday morning (30th May ) can be found online
With thanks to Adrian Stott
Paul Giblin – 11th in Doha at World 100k