Marble Mountain of Medals?

World Mountains

A 17-strong Great Britain & Northern Ireland team will compete today in the 30th World Mountain Running Championships looking to build on the success of 2013.

This year's competition takes place in Casette Di Massa in the Tuscany region of Italy on an interesting course that is as challenging as it is unique. The British team arrived on Thursday and, on Friday, walked the course, that takes them through a marble quarry in the last 4km. The junior women's race takes place entirely in the quarry, whilst the junior men and senior women will run 8.9km and start further down the mountain in Cassette. The senior men start in Forno for their 12km course. Although the courses are predominantly uphill, with some severely steep climbs they include some very tricky and technical sections, some of which are downhill.Pictured are the junior women and team manager walking a section of the course that takes them 600m through a tunnel in the quarry on the only flat part of the course.

A total of four medals – one individual and three team – was achieved in Poland in 2013.

12 months since her solo silver, Emma Clayton (handicap 5.9) leads the way in the senior women’s team along with Rebecca Robinson, (handicap MINIS 0.4) who won the trial race in Sedbergh.

Fresh from her recent junior women’s gold at the European Mountain Running Championships, Georgia Malir (handicap 2.2) is certainly one to watch in Tuscany.

Another athlete heading to the championships in good form is Robbie Simpson (handicap MINUS 4.3), who won silver in the senior men’s race at the Europeans. Simpson’s team mate James Walsh (handicap MINUS 3.3) has withdrawn from the squad and has been replaced by  Rob Jebb.

Team Leader Sarah Rowell is confident of medal success in Italy: “It’s a strong team and one that knows what it takes to win medals at this level," she said.

“Whilst we are traditionally stronger over the up and down format, there has been a growing confidence within Britain that we can succeed in the predominantly uphill only races, and so I fully anticipate another good medal haul in Italy.”

Full Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team:

Junior Women

Heidi Davies (handicap 2.9)

Catriona Graves (handicap 5.1 )

Georgia Malir (handicap 2.2)

Junior Men

Jacob Adkin (handicap 0.3)

Andrew Lawler (handicap -1.4 )

Max Nicholls (handicap -1.9 )

Max Wharton (handicap -4.6)

Senior Women

Emma Clayton (handicap 5.9 )

Rebecca Robinson (handicap -0.4 )

Katie Walshaw (handicap 2.8)

Mary Wilkinson (handicap 14.7 )

Senior Men

Tom Addison (handicap 2.3 )

Andrew Douglas (handicap -4.3)

Orlando Edwards (handicap -1.5)

Rob Jebb

Robbie Simpson (handicap -4.3)

Nick Swinburn (handicap -4.6)