10th June 2023
FLAHERTY SEALS U20W TITLE ON THE FINAL DAY OF WORLD MOUNTAIN AND TRAIL RUNNING CHAMPS
On the final day of competition at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Austria, there were two gold and one silver medal won by the Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad to end the Championships in successful fashion.
Rebecca Flaherty (coach: Karen Glerum, club: Bingley) – world silver medallist in 2022 – went one better in 2023 as she won the U20 women’s classic (up-and-down) mountain running race, and also spearheaded the team to the gold medal. The senior women were also in medal-winning form as they took the team silver after strong performances by the squad in Innsbruck-Stubai.
After taking the silver medal behind Jess Bailey in Thailand back in November, Rebecca Flaherty continued her dominance on the mountains as she achieved individual gold after a storming run. She went clear of the rest and won by seven seconds from Spain’s Ines Herault to secure her first world title.
The rest of the quartet produced exceptional performances to ensure the team gold would come back to the UK. Amelie Lane (Sally Malir, Wharfedale) just got the better of her teammate Lauren Russell (Hannah Viner, Highgate) for fourth, with Russell claiming the all-important third counter points. With three athletes in the top five, the team gold was locked in.
Eve Whitaker (Joanne Day & Jack Maitland, Harrogate) rounded out four brilliant displays as she came home in eighth, further showing the strength and depth of the squad.
In the final race of the Championships, the senior women took home the team silver with three athletes inside the top 21.
Alice Goodall (Mark Pollard, Edinburgh UHH) delivered one of the best performances of her career as she earned a top 10 placing on her way to being the first Brit across the line. Scout Adkin (Angela Mudge, Ambleside) was just under 40 seconds further back in 12th spot, winning the battle over Christel Dewalle (FRA) and Francesca Ghelfi (ITA) – the trio were separated by just four seconds.
Phillipa Williams (Dark Peak) was the third counter in 21st to secure team silver ahead of France, while Kenya won gold. Holly Page (Lewis Walker, Carnethy) was the fourth Briton across the line in 55th.
The senior men finished sixth overall in the team standings with Joe Steward (Harry Kelly, Salford) once again the first British finisher in 18th after another superb display in the Austrian mountains.
Jacob Adkin (Robbie Simpson, Keswick) ran well for 20th with Andrew Douglas (Sophie Dunnett, Inverclyde) close behind in 22nd place, under 10 seconds behind his compatriot.
Chris Richards (Duncan Richards, Helm Hill) was the fourth and final Briton across the line in 31st.
In the U20 men’s race, Will Longden (Terry Fowler, Buxton) was the first GB & NI athlete across the line in 23rd as the team placed seventh overall.
Ewan Busfield (Jerry Hall, Derby) was next in 28th with Alex Poulston (Katie Hewison, Wirral) in 31st. Tom Perry (Dark Peak) – on his international debut – ended his race in 43rd.
GB & NI Medallists
Gold (3): Rebecca Flaherty [U20 Women’s Classic]; U20 Women Team [Classic]; Senior Men [Short Trail Race]
Silver (2): Thomas Roach [Short Trail Race]; Senior Women [Classic]
Bronze (1): Senior Women [Vertical]