30th July 2017

World bronze for Tunstall in Italian mountains

Sarah Tunstall sealed a remarkable bronze medal in the senior women’s race at the World Mountain Running Championships (up and down) in Premana, Italy.

Earlier this month, the Kendal athlete won silver at the European championships (uphill) so her success today on the world stage highlighted that she is one of the in-form mountain runners on the global stage right now.

The versatile athlete pushed on in the hot conditions as eventual winner Lucy Wambui Murigi of Kenya stole a march in the closing stages. Andrea Mayr, the Austrian who took bronze behind Tunstall at the Europeans this month, pulled away from the Briton to seal silver on this occasion. However, Tunstall was close behind and secured her place on the podium, just two years after placing fourth at these championships.

The British senior women’s team ultimately placed in fifth overall, just three points behind third place team, Czech Republic.

Holmfirth’s Katie Walshaw (Mike Baxter) and Bath’s Rebecca Hilland were narrowly separated in 20th and 21st after sterling performances, whilst another Kendal athlete Rebecca Robinson recovered from a fall at the start of the race to finish in 32nd place.

Andy Douglas (Sophie Dunnett) continued his remarkable run of top ten finishes at global championships, placing ninth in the idyllic Italian mountains. The Scotland-born athlete completed the course in 57:32 and that was a significant placing to ensure the men’s team ended the competition on fifth place.

With a Ugandan 1-2-3 dominating the head of the field, attention turned to the rest of the Brits with Chris Smith (Philip O’Dell) and Graham Gristwood (self-coached) producing fantastic displays for 23rd and 25th place respectively. Cutting his teeth at the senior level of international mountain running, East Cheshire’s Joe Steward (Harry Kelly) was 51st.

The junior women’s team were agonisingly outside the team medals, missing out on the bronze medal by just one point to the Italians, but significantly, there were breakthrough individual performances by the young British team.

With just four seconds separating fifth to eighth, it was anyone’s guess what the final outcome would be as the athletes turned into the finishing straight. Scarlet Dale (Colin Gemson) and Heidi Davies, the two Brits, were just edged into seventh and eighth by their Romanian and Ugandan rivals in this sprint finish.

Annabelle McQueen (Steve Livett / Andy Walling) had a debut to remember, earning a top 20 finish in 19th and Bella Williams (Rob Lewis) was closely behind in 21st, showing the potential of this junior team moving forward.

Joshua Boyle (James Boyle) led home the junior men’s team after a solid run saw him place 14th with teammate Chris Richards (Martin Cox) chasing him down for 16th.

Nathan Smith’s (Ian Wilcock) 26th place saw the team finish on 56 points in seventh after Alex Ediker sadly did not finish the race.