The World Championships in Estonia came to an end with the Forest Relay, held in Vitipalu on the same area as the Middle distance yesterday. As with the Middle, runners were faced with rough conditions underfoot, low visibility through the thick forest and intricate contour detail to contend with, as well as the added pressure a relay, can bring.
The Men's Relay was first, with Alan Cherry running for Great Britain in the mass start. A tricky first control caught him and several other teams out and he dropped time on the leading pack, time which GB could never catch back up. The silver medallist from the Middle, Fabian Hertner, also missed the first control, showing just how difficult it was to keep in control at speed. Coming through the spectator run-through in 27th position, Alan caught up a place on the second half of the course, handing over to Graham Gristwood in 26th.
Graham had an excellent run, his first and only of the week, as he ran the 8th quickest time for the second lap and made up 11 places for GB. In 19th place through the arena passage, Graham continued to overtake other runners and reached the changeover in 15th position, handing over to Ralph Street for the final lap. Ralph also had a solid run, knowing that there was little point in taking too many risks especially on this area as he could easily lose more time and positions in the relay, and the gap to the runners ahead was quite large; he held on to finish 15th.
Norway retained their title from last year in the Men's relay, the team of Eskil Kinneberg, Olav Lundanes and Magne Daehli winning by over a minute from France's team of Frederic Tranchand, Lucas Basset and Theirry Gueorgiou, running in his last ever World Championships event. Johan Runesson, William Lind and Gustav Bergman of Sweden took the Bronze medal. Hosts Estonia came fourth to record their best ever WOC Men's relay result.
In the Women's relay, Megan Carter-Davies ran in the mass start for Great Britain, reaching the spectator run-through in 12th place. She lost a little bit of time on the second half of the course, handing over to Cat Taylor tied for 16th position with Poland. Cat had the 3rd best run on the second lap, making up 10 places for GB. 7th through the arena, she made up another place over the second half to send Hollie Orr out in 6th. Hollie lost a few minutes round the course and couldn't quite hold on to 6th, just managing to outsprint Jana Knapova of the Czech Republic to finish in 7th place.
Tove Alexandersson became only the third person ever to win all three forest events (Long, Middle and Relay) in a single World Championships as Sweden took the gold in the Women's relay with her teammates Helena Janssonn and Emma Johansson. Anastasia Rudnaya, Svetlana Mironova and Natalia Gemperle took silver for Russia, with Finland's Venla Harju, Marika Teini and Merja Rantanen third.
Full results are available here
Photos: Simon Errington