Ireland’s Sarah McCormack and Scotland’s Andrew Douglas are among those racing at the Snowdon International Mountain Race

A selection of the world’s best athletes will head to the Castell Howell Snowdon International Mountain Race on Saturday.

The 44th edition of the famous mountain race will host the fourth round in the 2019 WMRA Mountain Running World Cup that started in Annecy and will culminate in Ljubljana this October.

The 10-mile race scales the highest mountain in Wales before returning to finish in Padarn Park in Llanberis.

This year’s race will host teams from England, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Northern Ireland, RAF, Scotland and Wales. There will also be international athletes looking to claim valuable WMRA World Cup points.

The 2018 women’s race saw a first Welsh winner in nearly 30 years with Bronwen Jenkinson storming to victory ahead of Miranda Grant but Jenkinson is absent this time.

Sarah McCormack has won the Snowdon race on two occasions and will lead the team from the Republic of Ireland on Saturday. Her recent form includes a top 20 placing at the European Mountain Running Championships earlier this month. McCormack is also the current leader in the WMRA World Cup following the third race in Heiligenblut, Austria, last weekend.

Elisa Sortini is the sole Italian athlete in the women’s race but knows the mountain well thanks to a fourth place finish in 2015. Sortini will be riding a wave following a fifth spot at the European Championships that saw her lead her team to victory.

Hatti Archer is a former international on the track and at cross country and is now an accomplished mountain runner. She will be joined in the England team by Kelli Roberts and 2015 third-placer Katie Walshaw. Youngster Jemima Elgood completes the England team line-up.

Emma Clayton is a high-profile English athlete that will not be in their team but is likely to feature during a comeback where she looks to recapture the fitness that saw her claim a bronze medal at the 2015 WMRA World Championships in neighbouring county Conwy.

Grant will hope to improve on her runner-up spot from 12 months ago whilst leading the Scottish team. Katie Beecher, Elliw Haf and Gemma Moore will race for the hosts Wales.

Lucy Wambui of Kenya is a big name in mountain running and will be a huge race favourite on Saturday. The reigning WMRA champion and 2017 winner also claimed victory at the season opener in the French Alps earlier this summer.

Lucie Marsanova of the Czech Republic and Claire Chatterton of New Zealand will add further international flavour in the women’s contest.

Italy have been a dominant force at the event in recent years and will be led by twins Bernard and Martin Dematteisin in the men’s race. Both secured gold team medals at the 2015 WMRA World Mountain Running Championships at Betws Y Coed with Bernard also claiming individual silver.

England will be represented by the relatively unknown quartet of Dan Haworth, Michael Cayton, Billy Cartwright and Joe Baxter. Zak Hanna leads the Irish challenge, hoping to improve on a previous best performance in seventh.

Scotland’s Andrew Douglas is the current leader of the WMRA World Cup and the outright winner in the second round at the Broken Arrow Skyrace in Olympic Valley, California. The Caithness man was one of five Scottish athletes in the great Britain and Northern Ireland team in Switzerland and a member of the winning team in the senior men’s race.

Mark Hopkinson will lead the Welsh team following a win at the iconic Cader Idris race in May. Russell Bentley is a notable member of the Welsh team and is a twice winner at the nearby Snowdonia Marathon Eryri.

Open race interest here sits with Kenya’s Robert Panini, Australian Etinenne Blumstein Jones, Szabo Sandor of Hungary and American duo Joseph Gray and Sam Sahli.

Sahli was the second athlete home at the Broken Arrow race with Szabo ninth in the Californian Mountains.

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