Andrew Douglas has built up a significant lead in his standings in the World Mountain Running Association World Cup series, after an impressive performance in Switzerland on Sunday.
Douglas, along with fellow Scots Robbie Simpson, Jacob Adkin and Charlotte Morgan, took on the challenge of the Sierre-Zinal race, the fifth in the WMRA series. The 31km-long race with 2200m of ascent started in the town of Sierre and climbed to the village of Zinal.
While Douglas’s teammate Robbie Simpson finished a minute and one place ahead of him (2.33.55), his sixth-place finish pushed his total points for the series so far to 450. Jacob Adkin, the third man in Scotland’s team, finished 19th (2.40.43). In the women’s race, Charlotte Morgan finished 11th (3.11.03).
Speaking after the race, Douglas said he was ‘kind of a bit shellshocked about’ his performance, ‘one of his best ever’. Douglas completed the course three minutes faster than he did last year.
The Inverclyde/North Highland Harriers runner praised both the achievements of his teammates, and the other competitors, saying the race had ‘probably one of the strongest fields ever assembled in the history of mountain running’.
The Sierre-Zinal race was won – for a seventh time – by the favourite, ultrarunning legend Kilian Jornet. His win, in 2.25.35, beat the course record of 2.29.12, set in 2003.
Petro Mamu gave Jornet a good run for his money, but the Eritrean athlete finished just under a minute behind Jornet for second. American runner Jim Walmsley took third (2.31.52).
‘Absolutely over the moon’ and comfortably leading the World Cup series, Douglas is now looking towards ‘closing things out’ and clinching the title.
Just two races remain in the WMRA World Cup series: Drei Zinnen (Italy, 14 September) and Smarna Gora (Slovenia, 12 October).
Image: top Scottish finisher at Sierre-Zinal, Robbie Simpson (courtesy Sierre-Zinal/Photosports.com)