After seven races in seven countries over the last six months, Andy Douglas has finally got his hands on the World Cup of Mountain Running.
Going into Saturday’s final event in Ljubljana, Slovenia, as the clear favourite, the new WMRA champion missed the podium by only a few seconds. But a fourth placed finish was more than enough to clinch the title from his start at the top of the points table.
It’s been a long journey for the popular Scot to the top of the mountain running world, competing with – and ultimately triumphing over – the world’s best mountain runners over a variety of terrains and distances since the spring.
Early wins at the first two races of the 2019 World Cup series – at Annecy in the French Alps and Squaw Valley, USA – helped to contribute to Douglas’ unassailable lead going into the final race. Even a fourth-placed finish at the third race in the series in Austria was followed by a return to medal-winning form at the Snowdon race in July.
The lowest placing of his 2019 campaign came at the fifth race in August, when he finished five places behind the winner of the legendary Sierre-Zinal race, the equally legendary Kilian Jornet.
His finish fifth-placed finish at Italy’s penultimate Drei Zinnen race in September gave him enough points to make him essentially unbeatable going into Saturday’s Smarna Gora race, the last in the series.
The women’s World Cup was won by Ireland’s Sarah McCormack – who, as it happens, shared the top of the podium with Douglas in Wales.
Of their new champions, the WMRA said: “It's a great achievement for these two athletes, who have shown great consistency and mental strength throughout all the season.
“It’s the day of their World triumph and is a reward for a full season of strong and consistent running.”
But although Douglas’ 2019 World Cup campaign is done, the year is not: the Scot’s next challenge will be the World Mountain Running Championships in Argentina in November.