Emma Clayton leads Britain to team title at European Mountain Running Champs in Porto Moniz

Andrea Mayr of Austria won the senior women’s individual title for the third consecutive time as third-placed Emma Clayton led Great Britain to team gold in latest European Mountain Running Championships on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

Hill running specialist Clayton was backed up by Victoria Wilkinson in sixth and Rebecca Robinson in ninth and it meant GB won the title by five points from runners up Austria with France third.

“I wasn’t confident after the trial and the Grand Ballon race in France that took place two weeks later. However, my coach Andy Henderson re-organised my training including a good run up Snowdon that gave me the belief that I am in good shape for uphill courses,” said Clayton.

“I’ve also eased into this and I feel strong,” she added. “I’ve done exactly what Andy asked and it has suited me. When I looked at the course on Thursday I saw the last part and knew I would be able to get going there.

“Today I was in third after the first kilometre and I knew I needed to stay there on the climb. As I got to the top, I heard everyone shouting my name and I got a massive shiver down my body. I knew there wasn’t long left but it didn’t feel like an 8km race.”

Johan Bugge of Norway won the men’s race in 62:35 as Italy took the team title ahead of a British team that saw Robbie Simpson and Andrew Douglas place fourth and fifth, while Chris Smith was 17th.

The junior men’s title went to Stian Øvergaard Aarvik of Norway. Turkey took team gold from Italy with GB in third thanks to Max Nicholls, Jacob Adkin and Jack Willis finishing fifth, sixth and 14th.

Sarah Kistner of Germany won the junior women’s title as Britain finished sixth thanks to Heidi Davies in ninth, Georgia Malir in 22nd and Elizabeth Apsley in 23rd.

» More in the July 9 issue of Athletics Weekly