Ellenborough AC have a world champion!
Ricky Lightfoot won the 77k world trail running championships in Wales.
4th IAU Trail World Championships – July 7, 2013
In sweltering conditions Great Britain and France dominated this weekend at the 4th IAU Trail World Championships in Llanrwst.
There was home delight as Britain’s Ricky Lightfoot won the men’s individual race by almost 10 minutes, and in doing so led the GB and NI team to a superb team gold.
Given a few days to download exactly what he achieved, Ricky Lightfoot has put in words his IAU world title winning run at the weekend. Humble and relaxed as ever, the Cumbrian-based Salomon athlete explains to MST how the day panned out…
“What a weekend – nerves, shock, surprised, amazed, humbled! I don’t want to say I was due a big run, but my initial goal earlier in the year was to qualify for the Great Britain Team to go to the World Championships in Wales, I achieved that by finishing 2nd in the trial which was the Highland Fling, a great race which isn’t to be underestimated.
I had qualified for the World Trail Champs, so I was happy, and though the trial race was run at the end of April it gave me just over 9 weeks to train. I did have a few races penciled in so I had to fit my longer runs and speed work in around them.
July came around quick and before I knew it I was in Wales with the Great Britain team for the opening ceremony. A few pictures and a chance to look at the course the day before, I ended up in bed due to being ill, so the first I saw of the course was on the day of the race!
A meal in the Grand Hotel in Llandudno and an early night were on the cards. We were up at 6.30 for breakfast in the Grand Hotel then down to the start for 8am. The first I see of the course is the long stretch of road which leads up to the forest where we were to run 5 ×16km laps.
Some more pictures and an interview later and the start was upon us. I went for the new Salomon Fellraiser – good grip, light and comfortable which on a hot day like today was most important. We gathered inside the stone circle with the 18 other nations, in race previews there were to be strong teams from France (reigning Men’s & Women’s Team Champions), Italy and the USA to name but a few.
The race started on the bridge so being the last team to leave the stone circle meant we were first on the start, a quick briefing and a count down to the start and we were off.
I quickly got to the front to avoid any bottle necks, the pace was quick but steady, after climbing up through the forest a small group began to pull away from the rest of the field – three French guys, a Norwegian, a German and a Argentinian I think, I didn’t really take much notice at this point as there was a long way to go!
We went through one lap in just over the hour, it was the start of the second lap where a couple of the guys dropped off the pace and I was left with France’s Julien Rancon and his team.
I not sure if it was the way they run but, in turn the three French guys were taking turns at running hard and easing off, this would continue for the next 10 miles or so. I stuck with it and tried to keep my pace steady, we came round to the 3rd lap and two of the French guys dropped off the pace so I was left with Julien.
It was at this point that he put a huge effort in on the first climb on the 3rd lap, I stuck with him until the top and put another effort in on the rough undulating track, when to my surprise I dropped him, I didn’t know if this was race tactics or if he was tired so I pushed on.
At the beginning of the 4th lap I had pulled out a 2 minute lead, this wasn’t ideal as there was still the best part of 20 miles to run. I worked hard and felt strong, picking a Kinetica Gel and some water up at every opportunity from the excellent GB support crew which were manning two stations along the route.
I didn’t relax though, as from previous experience in the Highland Fling I knew if it went wrong that 5 minutes lead could be lost in 5 miles and I had 11 miles to the finish. I enjoyed the last lap, I took my time on the first climb and pushed a little harder on the faster sections, the hoards of French supporters were even shouting for me at this point. I went through the last check point and they told me I had at least 9 minutes.
It was then I only realised that with 5 miles to go I could win this, barring any falls or my legs falling to pieces, but if they were going to they would have by now going on previous ultras. I ran past the Saw Bench check for the last time and on to the road for the final 1.5 km on the road, finishing in 5hrs 36minutes 03seconds.
Thanks must go to every one involved in making the race possible, it was a fantastic weekend.
Thanks to Salomon for the continuing support keeping me kitted out in the best gear, Kinetica for keeping me fuelled when it gets tough and Suunto for keeping me on time.”
1 Ricky Lightfoot Great Britain and NI 5:36:03
2 Florian Neuschwander Germany 5:45:16
3 Julien Rancon France 5:54:21