Sarah McCormack in action at the Snowdon International Mountain Race, the fourth leg of the 2019 WMRA World Cup (© WMRA)
Britain’s Andrew Douglas and Ireland’s Sarah McCormack extended their lead at the top of the WMRA World Cup standings after winning at the Snowdon International Mountain Race – the fourth stop in the seven-race series – in Llanberis on Saturday (20).
Douglas pushed hard from the beginning and no one was able to match him on the ascent, which was somewhat unexpected as his strength is downhill running.
Ireland’s Zak Hanna and Italy’s Martin Dematteis took it in turns to try to close him down, but Douglas was too strong and reached the summit of the course 88 seconds ahead of Dematteis in 40:42, the second fastest time ever recorded for that section of the race.
Douglas maintained his lead on the descent and once again recorded one of the fastest ever times for that part of the course, eventually winning in 1:04:04.
Dermatteis and his twin brother Bernard started more conservatively but were in second and third by the time they reached the summit. They held on to those places until the end with Martin finishing second in 1:06:34 and Bernard taking third in 1:07:06. Hanna, confirming his status as a rising star of mountain running, placed fourth in 1:08:09.
With three wins out of four races, Douglas has consolidated his leadership in the WMRA World Cup standings. Martin Dematteis overtakes Filimon Abraham to move into second place overall, while both Hanna and Bernard Dematteis have moved into contention for a podium place.
Unlike the men’s race, there were several changes in the leading position in the women’s contest.
McCormack set off very strongly, but as the climb steepened she was overtaken by Britain’s 2010 European steeplechase silver medallist Hatti Archer. McCormack regained the lead, though, and reached the summit with a 46-second lead over Italy’s Elisa Sortini with Archer a few strides further back.
Sortini, one of the best descenders in mountain running, reeled in McCormack and passed the Irish runner with less than two miles to go. But in the closing stages, McCormack once again dug deep and kicked on ahead of the Italian to win by 22 seconds in 1:14:49. Archer was third in 1:17:17.
After a race in which some of her biggest World Cup opponents were missing, McCormack now has a decent lead in the overall standings with just three races remaining.
The next race in the WMRA World Cup will be held on 11 August in Sierre Zinal in the French-speaking Valais region of Switzerland.
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