McMullan and Adams make it a golden day for England
James McMullan and Lizzie Adams made it a hat-trick of gold medals for England at the Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Championships in North Wales as they won the men’s and women’s mountain races at Llanberis…
Those triumphs followed the golden performance by Lizzy Hawker in the 24 hour road race in Llandudno, which saw the 35-year-old set a world best performance by winning the title with a remarkable 246 km or 153 miles.
After Hawker had set the medal ball rolling the action moved 30 miles along the north Wales coast to Llanberis, where Adams started the clean sweep for England with her victory in the 8 km race.
Conditions for the race saw rain and mist veil Moel Eilio, in the shadow of Snowdon, but after a superb fifth place run at the recent World Mountain Championships in Albania earlier this month Adams started favourite.
After a furious start on the initial road section as the female runners approached the mountain, Olivia Walwyn-Bush led English team mates Sarah Tunstall and Adams. Mary Wilkinson was tucked in behind, with Victoria Wilkinson in fifth.
But as the race turned onto the steep part of the course Brindley started to scythe her way through the front group, so much so that she led the race as they started the descent off the mountain and head back down to Llanberis. However, 25-year-old Hallamshire runner Adams was not to be denied as she passed and then held off Scotland’s Tracey Brindley to win by a clear 19 seconds.
“This is the first major title I’ve won and it was nice to win it here. I lived in Llandrindod Wells when I was younger and I’ve been to the Snowdon area before,” said an exuberant Adams.
“It was pretty tough, but very enjoyable. The weather made it wet and that made it tricky at the start” and concluded, “England have got a really strong team and it was great to add gold to the bronze we won in Albania. Now I will concentrate on the cross-country season and hopefully make it to the European Mountain Championships next year.”
The next four places were occupied by English athletes – Mary Wilkinson, Olivia Walwyn-Bush, Victoria Wilkinson and Sarah Tunstall – with Scotland’s Catriona Buchanan taking seventh. That enabled the English team to add gold to the bronze they won in the World Championships, with the Scots taking silver. Jackie Lee ran a strong race in 9th for Wales and was backed up by Anna Barlett in 11th place, meaning that Emma Bayliss’ ensured the bronze for Wales.
Men’s Race (images to follow)
James McMullan was obviously inspired by Adams and Hawker’s success as he battled from fourth to first to hold off the strong Scottish challenge offered by young Scot, and former Snowdon Race winner Robbie Simpson.
The early leader had been Joe Symonds, fresh from his second place finish that the recent Trans Alps with Jethro Lennox. McMullan was tucked in behind in third place at the point that they started the hard grind up to the Trwyn on Moel Eilio. Coming through after a steady start was Robbie Simpson, and with his superb technical skills he was going to be a threat in the second half of the race.
As they started the descent after the second loop McMullan pushed on and after a strong 22nd place at the World Championships recently, the Englishman’s form and basic speed told as he entered the finish area with a clear 17 second margin.
Simpson took an excellent silver medal with Symonds in third. That meant both countries were tied on 16 points for the team title, but McMullen’s first place meant England retained their Commonwealth title on count back.
First Welsh runner was Rob Samuel. The Eryri Harrier had a storming run in 5th place, ahead of team mate Andres Jones. With Richard Phillips in 10th this meant that the home nation scored bronze in both team championships.
Men’s top 20
1. James McMullen (England) 50:03
2. Robbie Simpson (Scotland) 50:20
3. Joe Symonds (Scotland) 50:31
4. Francis Khanje (Malawi) 51:54
5. Rob Samuel (Wales) 51:56
6. Andres Jones (Wales) 52:02
7. Tom Cornthwaite (England) 52:25
8. Chris Smith (England) 52:30
9. Billy Burns (England) 52:44
10. Richard Phillips (Wales) 53:06
11. Alastair Anthony (Scotland) 53:21
12. Gary Priestley (England) 53:28
13. Nicholas Wrightman (Australia) 53:36
14. James Gosselin (Canada) 53:45
15. Richard Roberts (Wales) 53:57
16. Lloyd Taggart (Isle of Man) 54:12
17. Sam Hesling (Scotland) 54:39
18. Sanneh Lamin (Gambia) 54:53
19. Tim Davies (Wales) 54:57
20. Evance Nyazule (Malawi) 55:21
Men’s Team Result
1. England 16 pts (win on countback)
2. Scotland 16
3. Wales 21
Women’s Top 20
1. Lizzie Adams (England) 43:37
2. Tracey Brindley (Scotland) 43:56
3. Mary Wilkinson (England) 44:15
4. Olivia Walwyn-Bush (England) 44:41
5. Victoria Wilkinson (England) 45:15
6. Sarah Tunstall (England) 45:17
7. Catriona Buchanan (Scotland) 45:36
8. Vivian Kiplagat (Kenya 45:44
9. Jackie Lee (Wales) 47:34
10. Claire Ward (Scotland) 47:52
11. Anna Barlett (Wales) 47:59
12. Susan Ridley (Scotland) 48:19
13. Bronwyn Humphrys (Australia) 48:46
14. Hubertien Wichers (Australia) 49:06
15. Emma Bayliss (Wales) 49:18
16. Doris Fishar (Malawi) 49:27
17. Clare Derrant (Australia) 50:14
18. Christina Rankin (Scotland) 50:29
19. Annabell Wilson (Australia) 51:12
20. Syl Corbett (Canada) 51:16
Women’s Team Result
1. England 8 pts
2. Scotland 19
3. Wales 35