Winder and Arant Haw near Sedbergh in Cumbria were the target hill tops in the British Athletics Mountain Running Championships on Saturday which doubled as the Trials for the GB team for the uphill World Mountain Running Championships in Cassette di Massa in Tuscany, Italy on 14 September. After his excellent 8th in the European Championships in France in July, Jacob Adkin was aiming to cement his place in the GB U20 team with another good performance over the 7.1km course. But with two of the top English junior hill runners returning to action alongside his GB team-mates from France he was under no illusions that a tough challenge lay ahead.
Unusually for an uphill only course, in addition to the 690m ascent the route included 250m of descent in the middle section in order to mirror the World Championship course in Italy. Up to the first summit fellow Scot Andrew Lawler blazed the trail and established a good early lead which he maintained throughout for a convincing win in 36 minutes 03 seconds. After settling in 5th place on the first climb, Jacob gradually moved up to challenge for 3rd approaching the final 1km with its steep leg-screaming 150m of ascent and he steadily pulled away to secure a 20-second advantage at the top and the Championship bronze, finishing in 37.23. With only the first two guaranteed selection it’s a nervous wait for the remaining two available places in the GB U20 team for Italy to be confirmed, but with no absentees of note Jacob is hopeful that he has done enough to expect the call from the GB selectors. (GN note: as soon as I get any news on this I will advise.)
Also running in the U20 Championship race was Lucas Cheskin having only his third race back after a lengthy absence. Having lost some ground in the fast middle descent section, Lucas rallied well before finding the final climb tough going. But he maintained his place to finish 10th in 43.13 and will surely improve for the run.
The senior women ran the same Championship course as the Junior Men and in a field which was a who’s who of British women’s mountain running, a slightly jaded Scout Adkin finished in 44.03 for 11th place, 2nd U23 and 2nd Scot.