Robbie Simpson and Andy Douglas – racing in World Champs for GB
Three Scots compete in the World Mountain Running Championships over the ‘home’ course in North Wales on Saturday.
And, after claiming silver team medals at the Europeans in July, senior men Robbie Simpson and Andy Douglas will be aiming high as they seek to lead GB’s bid for honours.
Simpson and Douglas finished first and second in the trial race, which was deliberately held over the same course at Betws-y-Coed as British Athletics sought to maximise home advantage.
Jacob Adkin won the Junior Men’s trial and will head up the British effort in that age group following the announcement of the GB teams for Wales.
‘It’s definitely an advantage running on a course you know, as it’s easier to judge exactly how to pace the race and which parts are the toughest,’ said Robbie, who has travelled back from Germany to compete this weekend.
“The first half is a mixture of steep climbing and fast single tracks with mud and rocks which is great for me, especially if it rains. The downhill is very fast and all on a wide track which isn’t so good, as anyone can run it fast.
‘But, I’ve had time to train for this course so now I have to make the most of what it is. Some of the rocky sections at the top of the path split in different directions a few times and there are faster lines which are good to know about.
‘The most experienced guys will be able to race any course well, but they’ll still have to spend time walking or running over it first. They have to spend a few hours travelling there and walking around the day before the race while we are relaxing.
‘Overall I like the course. It’s an up and down course, which suits me better than the uphill-only ones which I’ve done before.’
Jacob Adkin – World Champs chance in Wales
Simpson is upbeat about his prospects and, although he knows it’s going to be tough, he’s ready to give it a real go.
‘Things have gone very well recently,’ he added.
‘It could be possible for me to be top 10 with a good run and that would be satisfactory, although the higher the better.
‘An individual medal will be very tough with the Ugandan team there, but I’ll be starting the race feeling confident and knowing that it’s my best chance to get a medal.
‘The Ugandans have to be favourites, although it doesn’t guarantee they will like the course and run amazingly well.
‘I think GB senior men have a decent team medal chance but we’d need to beat at least one of either Uganda, Italy or USA – so that’s a target for us.’
With thanks to Fraser Clyne
Junior hill runners in Bulgaria in June
Scotland’s junior hill runners are also headed for the same venue in North Wales – to contest the Junior Home International over the Betws-y-Coed course on Saturday.
While 16 athletes in total have been selected, special mention should be made of those juniors who are gaining their first Scotland vest, namely Mairi Wallace (U17G), Finlay Todd (U17B), Rhiannon Kirk (U20G) and Lucas Cheskin (U20B).
And there are some family ties within the four teams with Fife AC brothers Tristan and George Rees both selected while Ross Gollan (Highland Hill Runners) and Mairi Wallace (Moorfoot Runners) may live at opposite ends of the country but are in fact cousins!
The teams were picked following closely-fought trial race at Aberfoyle at the end of August, results of which carried the most weight in the selection process.
Age group categories for the competition are U17 and U20, male and female. Team members are listed below with a number of the athletes having raced in Bulgaria earlier this year at the International Youth Cup for 16 and 17-year-olds.
Malcolm Patterson, National Coach Mentor (Hill and Mountain), and one of four selectors, said: ‘We were delighted with the quality of competition at the Trial race and this is reflected in the strong teams that will race in the Junior Home International.
‘I congratulate all the junior athletes who made the teams, plus their coaches and supporters, and wish them every success in Wales.’
Emily Nicholson (Pitreavie AAC); Laura Stark, Rona Tytler (Kilbarchan AAC), Mairi Wallace(Moorfoot Runners)
Freddie Carcas (Edinburgh AC), George Rees, Tristan Rees (Fife AC) Finlay Todd (Ross County AC)
Ailsa Cruickshanks (Fife AC), Rhiannon Kirk (Caithness AAC), Lucy McLeod (Aberdeen AAC)
Gavin Bryson (Edinburgh AC), Lucas Cheskin (Moorfoot Runners), Ross Gollan (East Sutherland AC), Thomas Otton (Gala Harriers)