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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Border Harrier is top Brit in world mountain running championships

Border Harrier Pete Harrison has gone up in the world after taking on the best mountain runners on the planet.

Pete Harrison photo
Pete Harrison

The 19-year-old runner finished 16th in the junior race at the world championships in Valle Camonica in Italy. Harrison was the best young British runner in the under-23 category in the gruelling 9km uphill course.

His selection for the world championships came after he finished 14th in the European championships in Turkey in July.

Harrison said: “My aim was a top 20 place so I would definitely have taken 16th place before the event. I was eighth at the halfway stage and we faced a ski slope with a 30 per cent gradient and I started losing my position.

“If I had had a couple of weeks more training then I might have got eighth place, but I was happy with 16th place. The next best British junior was a long way behind me.”

The teenager, from Linstock, near Carlisle, hopes to enhance his growing reputation with another impressive performance when he makes his senior debut for Scotland in the home internationals in Melmerby, near Penrith, tomorrow.

The event is part of the McCain Mountain Challenge Series, which incorporates the home internationals, and it will mark Harrison’s last fell running event until next spring as he concentrates on road and cross-country running over the winter.

“It’s going to be a tough event and I think it will be between ourselves and England as we have the strongest teams,” he said.

“It will be the first time I’ve competed for the seniors and I’ll be one of two under-23s in the team. The aim would be to finish as the top under-23 runner.”

Harrison took up fell running at the age of 14 after being encouraged by former British champion Hugh Symonds, his teacher at Sedbergh School. He went on to be crowned the English Schools champion at Sedbergh in 2010 and then collected the British under-18 championship in Ireland in the same year.

Harrison, who competes for Scotland as it was the birthplace of his grandparents, runs for Border Harriers’ men’s team at 1500m, 3000m and the 5000m.

He has been forced to pull out of their team for this weekend’s northern road relay championships in Manchester, but hopes to return at next month’s national road relay championships in Sutton Coldfield.

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