A SPORT ON THE UP!
There is no denying that over the last few years, there has been a huge increase in the popularity and growth of trail and mountain running. As more people continue to hit the trails, the future of our sport looks extremely promising. This steep surge in participation has also risen significantly within the UK and Ireland, with an increased representation of our athletes in European mountain races. These are exciting times to be a mountain runner and I’m very proud to consider myself part of this growing movement.
Now don’t get me wrong, we’re certainly not the first runners from the UK and Ireland to venture into Europe in search of new and exciting races. Early pioneers, such as Billy Burns, Martin Cox, Anne Buckley and Angela Mudge, have been doing it for years and have enjoyed a huge amount of success.
“THE FUTURE OF OUR SPORT LOOKS EXTREMELY PROMISING…THESE ARE EXCITING TIMES TO BE A MOUNTAIN RUNNER“
But this is different. Different because I’m not just talking about a handful of athletes, now we’re more like an army, invading Europe and entering races on mass. Inspired by the achievements of others, our ranks are swelling in size. Leading the line are the famous names of Robbie Simpson and Victoria Wilkinson, newly-crowned World Cup winners Andy Douglas and Sarah McCormack, Skyrunning champion, Holly Page, European champions and medal winners Jacob Adkin, Sarah Tunstall, Emmie Collinge and Emma Moran. The list goes on. British and Irish mountain runners are flocking to the continent to compete and we’re giving our European counterparts a real run for their money. The lure? Aside from the prizes, the chance to run in truly amazing places, compete against some of the best athletes in the world and most importantly, enjoy new and exciting experiences. There are literally hundreds of races out there and thousands of trails and mountains just waiting to be explored.
Take the Trofeo Vanoni relay, in Northern Italy, as one such example. In 2006, only one woman and one men’s team from the UK and Ireland entered the race. This year, a staggering total of ten women and nine men’s teams competed. It’s a huge contrast, but it’s also easy to see why this particular race has become so popular.
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