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clayton & douglas take the lead in mountain running challenge

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Emma Clayton
22 May 2015

Last weekend saw the start of the British Athletics Mountain Running Challenge as the athletes battled for the Inter-Counties title in Betws-y-Coed, North Wales. Andrew Douglas (coach: Sophie Dunnett) and Emma Clayton (Andrew Henderson) started their campaigns in marvellous fashion, winning the senior races and gaining an advantage in the opening leg of the series. 

The Mountain Running Challenge consists of three races and each athlete’s best two scores from the three races will decide the overall rankings at the final event on the 22 August. The winner of each event gains 52 points with second place taking 49; third place 48 and so on. 

Last year’s senior men's champion was in top form in North Wales with Douglas earning a comfortable victory. He won by a margin of nearly a minute over his closest rival on the up and down course. The Scotland West athlete additionally won the Inter-Counties title and guided his county to the team bronze medal. He finished ahead of Middlesex’s Chris Smith and Yorkshire’s Tom Adams, the latter earning the Inter-Counties team gold medal.

There was further Yorkshire success in the senior women’s race where Emma Clayton won a tight contest against Annie Conway, with only six seconds separating them at the finish line. The World Mountain Running Championships silver medallist has been in good form over the winter earning selection to the GB & NI team at the Great Edinburgh XCountry at the start of the year. The Leeds City athlete is seeking to win the Mountain Running Challenge title outright this year after sharing it with Sarah Tunstall in 2014.

The next race in the Mountain Running Challenge takes place on Sunday 31 May and the races also act as the trials for the European Mountain Running Championships in Madeira on 4 July. The uphill race will see the best mountain runners in the country descend on Glenridding with an eye on seizing valuable Mountain Challenge points and a spot on the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team. 

For the British Athletics Mountain Running Challenge standings after race one, click here

Results from the Inter-Counties can be found here.