Crunch time in Blackburn
The UK’s elite mountain runners go on Trial this Saturday, as the selection races for World MR Champs in Albania on 11 Sept and Commonwealth Mountain Championships in Wales on the 24 Sept take place at Witton Park, Blackburn…
The trial races take on extra significance this year as they will determine the GB squads for the men, women, junior men and junior women, which will travel to Albania in 4 weeks, and also the English and Welsh teams who will head to Llanberis two weeks after the World Champs for those Commonwealth Champs. So there is a lot at stake!
Some may be asking why a trial race for such events is taking place in the relatively low-altitude of Witton Park, a venue more akin to hosting XC races. Well, looking at the WMRC course profile, which rises a mere 200m above its 122 metre start point on each lap it will be a course which is best suited to a fast road runner, who can climb, as opposed to an out-and-out mountain runner.
With entries on the day it’s a little tricky to see who the contenders are, however we can expect a heady mix of road, mountain and fell running talent to take to the Witton Park course, and here are a few probables courtesy of my International, UKA and Run Britain contacts, who include Jackie Newton and Sarah Rowell (reliable sources I might add!):