8th July 2017
Tunstall's European silver delight
Sarah Tunstall bagged a wonderful individual silver medal in the senior women’s race at the European Mountain Running Championships (uphill) in Slovenia today.
The Kendal athlete secured an individual medal at the Europeans for the second time, and she did it in fine style, just under a minute clear of third placed Andrea Mayr of Austria in 28:43 over the 8km course. At the half way mark, she was 30 seconds down on eventual winner Maude Mathys who widened the gap over the last 4km but it was a strong effort as she brought home a fine team performance as the women also secured the team gold medal to defend the title won at the 2015 edition of these championships.
Tunstall said afterwards: “It couldn’t have gone better. Everything has gone well – I’ve wintered well and preparation for this race and the course has gone well. I have done some steep races that have helped and I walked the course on Tuesday and have spent time visualising how I wanted to run it.
“I broke it into two halves. I pushed the first 2km and was just behind Maude and Andrea Mayr and then when we got into the climb I felt that I was climbing well. I was still with Andrea at around half way and then pushed the second climb because there was a long, flat section towards the end of the course and I knew her pace would be good. Then at the top I needed to keep pushing – she is world champion so I could never feel safe with her behind me!”
Victoria Wilkinson used all her experience to reach the top of the course in fifth position whilst Rebecca Hilland was a magnificent 12th to make sure the women’s team convincingly earned the gold medal ahead of the Italians. Holmfirth’s Katie Walshaw added further depth with a 28th place finish on the gruelling course in Kamnik.
Andrew Douglas (coach: Sophie Dunnett) produced another impressive display at a major championship in the senior men’s race, earning seventh place overall. The uphill contest was won by the Italian Xavier Chevrier but the Scot was alongside the leaders in the early stages but the middle part of his race saw the leaders push ahead as Douglas secured another top ten finish.
British debutants Chris Farrell and Chris Arthur made a good start to their international campaigns with just two seconds separating them at the finish in 28th and 29th respectively, whilst Chris Smith (Philip O’Dell) settled for 42nd.
There was gold medal success for the junior women’s team as they were led home by a Scarlet Dale (Colin Gemson) and Anna McFadyen who claimed fifth and sixth respectively to give the Brits an edge over their rivals. These stunning displays were backed up by another top ten performance from Welsh athlete Heidi Davies in ninth, whilst Helen Thornhill finished in an encouraging 20th position on her debut for Great Britain.
Joseph Dugdale marked his maiden call-up for the British team with an eighth place finish in the junior men’s contest. In a fairly new quartet on the international stage, trials winner Chris Richards (Martin Cox) was 15th whilst Josh Boyle and Elliott Matier were 28th and 31st as the team finished sixth overall.
Full results can be found here:
British Athletics team medal tally:
Senior women’s team
Junior women’s team
Sarah Tunstall – senior women (individual)