Anna Pichrtova sets new record
900 athletes and supporters descended on the tiny Yorkshire (England) Dales village of Horton to contend for the World Championship titles on offer for the winners of the 54th Three Peaks race. Thankfully, the weather forecasters got it completely wrong and instead of the forecast heavy rain, running conditions were ideal under high cloud and mild temperatures.
The local, vastly experienced, and leading English fell runners were faced with an overseas invasion determined to prove that they could succeed in the British version of mountain running. And so it proved.
The star performance came from the diminutive 2007 World Trophy champion Anna Pichrtova (CZE). Dominating the womens entrants from the start, she sped around the 37.4km course that included 1608m of ascent and descent in a new record time of 3 hours 14 minutes 43 seconds. This beat the old record set in 1996 by 1 minute 34 seconds. Anna thus follows Jonathan Wyatt (NZL) in becoming both short and long distance mountain running champion. Long distance expert Angela Mudge (Scotland) was six minutes behind in second place. There was a fierce tussle for the bronze medal between Australian Angela Bateup and New Zealander Anna Frost with the former winning by just 40 seconds on the final run in. The Russian ladies, in 6th, 7th an 8th position won the team award.
In contrast, the mens race was one of ever changing positions. Early leader coming off Pen-Y- Ghent Martin Cox (GBR) was nowhere to be seen as the leaders came off Whernside. Young Slovenian Mitja Kosovelj was in the lead closely followed by Jethro Lennox (Scotland). On the long 10km run off the final summit of Ingleborough. Lennox overtook the tiring Slovenian to become a surprise winner in the time of 2.53.39.
English pride was salvaged by Thomas Owens, the only English runner to gain a medal in second position, 37 seconds later. Kosovelj completed an excellent run in third position, beating the winner for the past three years Rob Jebb (GBR) and the British fell running champion Rob Hope in 4th and 5th positions. The next overseas competitor was Jon Tvedt in 18th position.
Jethro Lennox nears the finish
1. Jethro Lennox (SCO) 2.53.39
2. Thomas Owens (ENG) 2.54.16
3. Mitja Kosovelj (SLO) 2.57.3
4. Rob Jebb (ENG) 2.59.13
5. Rob Hope (ENG) 2.59.51
6. Ricky Lightfoot (ENG) 3.00.25
1. Anna Pichrtova (CZE) 3.14.43
2. Angela Mudge (SCO) 3.20.53
3. Angelas Bateup (AUS) 3.25.33
4. Anna Frost (NZL) 3.26.13
5. Sharon Taylor (ENG) 3.34.15
6 Elena Rukhlyada (RUS) 3.34.35