As expected, a much tougher day for Team GB in the forest middle race today, with many of the athletes struggling to get to grips with the challenges of a green, heavily contoured forest, where the runnability was greatly reduced by both the rock coverage and the seasonal vegetation.
However, top W20, Fiona Bunn, was undeterred and continued her strong form from yesterday and recorded the best result for GB by coming in 8th. The rest of the W20's also performed commendably, with Emma Wilson in 15th, Laura King in 19th and Lindsay Robertson on 24th out of 51 starters in this class. The M20's fared less well, with Freddie Carcas injuring his knee on a rock and having to withdraw around 2/3rds of the way around, leaving him in some doubt for tomorrow's final race, and a 5 minute error by GB debutant, Tom Lines, spoiling what would have been a solid performance, resulting in him coming in 38th of 61 runners. Eddie Narbett felt reasonably satisfied with his run, finishing in 31st, knowing that this weekend for him was primarily about the sprint and tomorrow's long race.
The W18's had mixed runs, with some good legs interspersed with errors, meaning a spread of results from Eilidh Campbell (29th), to Tara Schwarze-Chintapatla (34th), to Niamh Hunter (45th) and finally to Anika Schwarze-Chintapatla (49th) in the field of 69 runners. Finally, the M18's were headed up by Alastair Thomas (19th), who has recorded yet another top twenty forest performance at junior international level to support his record at EYOC over the past three seasons. The terrain was to his liking, being reminiscent of the Lakeland forests in many ways and he stated afterwards that "I kept it steady, never really getting out of third gear, with only a few small misses in the circle, and am pretty happy with that overall." David Bunn came in 46th and Dan Spencer, after a shaky start, recovered to end in 55th out of the 68 starters.
Tomorrow sees the team conclude the programme by climbing to the top of Col de Bretaye and taking part in the mass start, forked Long race, another novel format for the juniors, being reminiscent of a typical one-man forest relay exercise. It'll be interesting to see how the race unfolds and whether the forking system works for this event, but it should suit some of the faster runners within the squad.
Full results available here.