6th May 2016
Trial Winners Lightfoot & Wilkinson Headline Team For Podbrdo
06 May 2016
A nine-strong British Athletics team has been announced for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships, which takes place in Podbrdo, Slovenia on Saturday 18 June.
Trial winners Ricky Lightfoot and Victoria Wilkinson will headline the team following their impressive performances at the Three Peaks Race in the Yorkshire Dales. A winner in 2014 and 2015, Lightfoot completed the 23 mile course in 2:49.07 to book the 2013 World 77km Trial Champion his place on the plane. Lightfoot missed out on a hat-trick of wins by an agonising nine seconds finishing behind Switzerland’s Marc Lauenstein. Despite poor underfoot conditions caused by the snow and hail the 31 year old still managed to become only the third man ever to run under 2 hours 50 minutes for the event. Wilkinson meanwhile was the winner of the women’s race in a time of 3:26.47, which will fill the 37 year old with a great deal of confidence heading into next month’s championships.
Lightfoot will be joined by Andrew Davies (coach: Steve Vernon), who has started 2016 in strong form finishing second in the mass race at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships before running 2:17.45 at the Virgin Money London Marathon to cross the line inside the top 25; Tom Owens, fourth at the 2015 World Trail Championships will also be looking for another strong placing alongside the final two members of the team, World V45 Masters Mountain Running Champion Karl Gray and 2015 British Mountain Running Championships 12th placer Rob Hope. Owens, Gray and Hope all had impressive runs in the conditions at the trial, all going under three hours.
In the senior women’s team, Wilkinson will join up with teammate Helen Bonsor, who finished seventh at the WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge three years ago but missed the trial this year. Annie Conway, 11th place at the European Mountain Running Championships in 2015 who had an impressive debut at the longer distance, and 2015 British Masters cross country silver medallist Helen Berry will also be looking to make their mark on the world stage on a challenging 42.2 km course, which has 2800m of ascent and descent with a winning time of 3 hr 45 predicted.
Sarah Rowell, British Athletics’ mountain running lead said: “I am both pleased and excited with the quality of runners we have been able to select, there is a strong British contingent heading out to Slovenia that will be challenging for both the individual and team medals at the championships.
"There will be a record number of 22 nations competing this year at the 13th edition of the event, but I have no doubt that as a team we can mix it with the best in the world.”
British Athletics team for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships, 18 June:
Andrew Davies (Steve Vernon)