Scotland athletes line up ahead of the Vertical Nasego races (with thanks to Ross Gollan for photos)
From Andy Douglas
Bright blue skies and warm temperatures made for scenic but challenging conditions for the Scottish team in their outing at the Vertical Nasego race in Italy.
With 1,000m of elevation gain over 4km, the climbing is relentless for the duration of the 35-45min course.
In the women’s race the course record was shattered by Andrea Mayr who beat her own previous best time on the course by over 30s, finishing in a time of 38:06.
Our very own Scout Adkin competed closely with her in the first half of the race, before the Austrian World Uphill Champion pulled away over the steep, technical terrain in the latter stages.
Scout was edged into 3rd place by Kenyan Philaries Kisang as she just fell short of catching her in the final ascent to the finish. However, an excellent podium finish gives Scout more valuable World Cup points in the race for the overall series title.
Holly Page (10th) secured an excellent top-10 finish in a World class field, just behind fellow GB-teamates Sara Willhoit (sixth) and Phillipa Williams (ninth).
Not far behind, Naomi Lang (12th) was with her fellow compatriots for much of the race before the last third of the course.
Naomi was a late replacement for Alice Goodall who unfortunately had to miss out due to illness.
Just outside the top-20, Kirsty Dickson (21st) was also suffering from illness before the race but despite this dug in and worked her way through the field over the course of the race.
In the Men’s race which kicked-off 45min after the women, Jamie Crowe and Jacob Adkin sat in the front pack for much for the opening couple of km, with Alasdair Campbell and Rory Abernethy settling in a few places back.
As the morning wore on the beaming sun and warming temperatures were making it even tougher to race in.
The winner was Kenyan World Uphill champion Patrick Kipngeno in 34:25, with Jacob (12th) arriving at the finish as third Brit behind Joe Steward (third) and Chris Richards (10th); a very respectable result in amongst some of the Worlds’ best Vertical racers.
Rory (17th) worked well through the field excelling at the steeper terrain, and along with Jamie (19th), secured a hard-earned top-20 finish. Alasdair (34th) rounded off the Scottish team in a field of 113 finishers in the Men’s race.
Vertical uphill-only races are few and far between in Scotland, let alone the UK, so the overall performance of the Scottish team was very impressive.
Thanks to scottishathletics for supporting the event and the opportunity given to our top hill running athletes to line-up at this prestigious event.
Naomi Lang in action on Sunday (photo by Jacob Adkin)
Part two of the Trofeo Nasego weekend saw athletes tackle a gruelling 21km trail race with 1,300m of elevation gain, consisting of rough, undulating tracks and mountainside trails.
Although mild at the 9:30am start, over the duration of the morning the temperature quickly rose to the mid-20s making the climbs especially draining for the Scottish quartet of Scout Adkin, Naomi Lang, Andy Douglas and Ross Gollan.
Both Scout and Naomi had raced the Vertical Uphill race the day before and thus has to contend with other more fresh-legged rivals.
However, both stood up to the challenge and finished impressively high in the field. Scout (seventh) managed to overtake fellow GB team-mate Phillipa Williams (eighth) in the closing stages and was only 11s further back from previous winner Lucy Wambui from Kenya.
The incredible Austrian Andrea Mayr made it a double victory over the weekend, crossing the line in 1hr 46min 06s.
Naomi (11th) was so close to a top-10 finish but can come away very satisfied with two strong back-to-back races where she placed well among the other world-class mountain running athletes.
In the Men’s race, recent Sierre-Zinal winner Philemon Kiriago took top honours ahead of fellow Kenyan and yesterday’s victor Patrick Kipngeno in a time of 91:00, just a few seconds off the course record.
Andy (ninth) ran much of the race sandwiched between the chasing pack of five athletes, and the other top runners vying for a top-15 spot.
Among those athletes in the top-15, Ross (13th) battled through the tough conditions and came close to picking up a place in the last 200m of the course.
Ross Gollan in action in Italy (photo by Jacob Adkin)
Fellow Scots racing in yesterday’s Vertical Nasego race spread out over the course to watch their team-mates, providing much appreciated vocal support at some pivotal moments!
Trofeo Nasego forms part of the World Cup series of Mountain Races (www.wmra.ch).
After this event Scout sits in fifth place as she looks upwards to the podium places.
With an athlete’s six best results to count, Scout is yet to complete her quota of counting races so is well placed to reach the points tally of some of the athletes currently ahead of her in the rankings.
The next fixture in the series is in Canfranc in northern Spain next weekend, however, Scout is looking to compete next at the grand finale Sky Gran Canaria in October.
With thanks to Andy Douglas