Two strong mountain running teams have been selected to represent England at the WMRA International U18 Youth Cup in Susa, Italy. There is a good mix across the age group; some making their England debut alongside athletes who have competed for GB.
Last year was England’s most successful Youth Cup with the boys collecting individual gold and silver as well as team gold and the girls team placing 5th. This year’s teams will continue to build on that success, reinforcing England’s reputation as a strong mountain running country.
- William Kay (Club: Mercia/Dudley & Stourbridge)
- Matthew Knowles (Club: Lancaster & Morecambe AC)
- Ben O’Dowd (Club: Eden Runners)
- Sam Soles (Club: Buxton AC)
- Alice Crane (Club: Derby AC)
- Florence Duff (Club: Haut Vallespir)
- Chloe Rylance (Club: Ambleside AC)
- Rosie Woodhams (Club: Kendal AC)
William secures his second England vest with his fourth placing at the trial race, held over Loughrigg in the Lake District. Competitive in 2019 over cross country and on the track, William has built on his mountain running debut in 2018 where he finished 8th in the Junior Home International in Glendalough. Earlier in the year, William represented West Midland region finishing 67th in the 2019 Virgin London Mini Marathon. Following his win in the trial race, this will also be Matthew’s second England vest in mountain running. His debut was in 2018 which saw Matthew lead home the U17B England team with a fine 4th place in Glendalough. Matthew is another of the squad to show good form over all surfaces. He is the 2019 Fell Running Association (FRA) U19B champion. Ben makes his England mountain running debut following his 2nd place finish in the trial race. On the back of a strong cross country season, Ben is another of the squad to compete in the 2019 Virgin London Mini Marathon where he finished 36th in the regional race. Third in the trial race, Sam is making his England mountain running debut. Like a number of this year’s team, Sam has shown strong form in the major cross country competitions and on the fells where he finished 2nd in the 2019 FRA U19B behind his teammate, Matthew.
Alice earns her first England mountain running vest with her win at the trial race. She is an experienced runner over the country and on the fell, latterly placing 4th in the FRA U17G championships in 2018. Whilst this will be Florence’s debut in an England vest, she has already represented Great Britain earlier in June as part of the GB junior team in the uphill only European Mountain Running Championships in Zermatt, where she finished in a fine 23rd place. Living in Font Romeau, Florence has also shown her strength over cross country where she finished an impressive 10th junior in the 2019 French National cross country championships. Chloe represents England mountain running for a second time, the first being at the 2018 Junior Home International in Ireland. She has a strong background in cross country and on the fell, evidenced by her win in the 2019 Cumbria cross country championships and as bronze medallist in the 2019 FRA U17G championship. Representing the North West, Chloe finished 66th in the 2019 Virgin London Mini Marathon. Rosie is a seasoned international mountain runner and will pick up her fourth England vest in Susa. Her returning good form follows after a period of injury but Rosie’s international experience, gained from her England representation at the 2018 IYC in Lanzada and as part of the junior mountain running GB team at both the 2018 European and World championships, make her a strong and experienced competitor.
Team Managers are Duncan Richards and Carol Evans. Duncan said, “Susa presents a great opportunity to test some very talented athletes abroad against high quality athletes. It’s always tricky to predict junior events but I’m excited about the teams that have selected and am looking forward to them to them continuing the successes of previous years.”
Photo by Woodentops