9th June 2019
ALBON WINS GOLD AT TRAIL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Jon Albon was crowned IAU / ITRA Trail World Champion on Saturday following a superb performance in Portugal, leading the men’s squad to the silver medal.
Albon was fourth at these championships in 2018, and magnificently improved his record this time around in Miranda do Corvo, overhauling the Swiss athlete Christian Mathys after the halfway point of the 44km course, never looking back as he pushed on to his first world trail title.
Despite been a minute and half behind the leader after 22km, by the 33km mark, Albon had taken command of the contest, leading his rivals by the same 90 second gap. In the end, he crossed the line in 3:35.34, over two minutes ahead of France’s Julien Rancon, and five seconds ahead of the fast-starting Mathys.
Albon said post-race: “World champion – it sounds pretty good. The race was pretty controlled in the first 7km as that was relatively flat but as we got to the top of the first climb and a technical downhill, the field was blown open. The Swiss guy went off, and I just sat in fifth or sixth and kept working. I squeezed into second at the next climb, but probably went into the lead right at the top of the course.
“I’d run out of water with about 10 / 15 km to go, but I decided to just go for it and try and hang on. I dipped my cap in the rivers on the way down to keep me cool. I think if I’d had another 5 or 10km to go, I’d have been in trouble, but fortunately, I held on.”
Albon also led the men’s team to the overall silver medal behind France. Carl Bell (Keswick) and Andrew Davies (Steve Vernon, Stockport) were the next to follow, both confirming their places in the top 20 following fine displays around the challenging course.
Bell was 13th in 3:47.57 while Davies was 16th in 3:49.57, both performances pushing the Spanish squad into the bronze medal position.
Andy Symonds (Trail Vaucluse) was the next Briton home in the men’s race, clocking 3:56.50 for 33rd. Debutant Seb Batchelor and 2013 World Trail champion Ricky Lightfoot (Ellenborough) were 40th and 46th respectively in 4:00.40 and 4:02.14.
In the women’s race, World Long Distance Mountain Running champion Charlotte Morgan (Carnethy) once again was the highest placed British athlete at a major championship, placing 13th in 4:26.43.
Georgia Tindley (Hunters Bog Trotters) and Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn (Keswick) were the second and third finishers for the British team in 25th and 32nd, their times 4:39.29 and 4:45.15 respectively.
Not far behind the duo was Jasmin Paris in 35th, her time 4:46.34, on her GB & NI debut. Jo Meek (Winchester) was 56th in 5:04.56 while late replacement Meryl Cooper was 91st in 5:22.22.
France’s Blandine L’hirondel won in 4:06.17, while New Zealand’s Ruth Croft and Spain’s Sheila Aviles completed the podium places. France secured the team title ahead of Spain and Romania.
Full results here.
Photo from irunfar