PEEBLES-based distance runner Sarah McCormack led Team Ireland to a bronze medal at the World Championships in Poland last weekend.
Having missed the European Mountain Running Championships earlier this summer due to a niggling foot injury, the Moorfoot runner travelled out last week very much back on form.
Fresh from her defence of the Scottish 5,000m title on the track last month and a 5,000m personal best of 15.46 at the BMC meeting in Coventry two weeks ago, and with the race this year run over her favoured up and down course, an improvement on her 15th place at the 2012 Championship was not unrealistic.
Bingley Harrier Emma Clayton took the race by the scruff of the neck from the gun, but Sarah was close behind in second on the first lap ascent. Heading out on lap two she was still vying for second with the lead runner from the traditionally strong Turkey team, but as the Turk drifted back the challenges to Sarah’s medal position started to come from behind, most notably from the Italians.
Sarah was still fourth behind Clayton and two Italians heading into the final kilometre, but her medal hopes faded on the final steep climb and she finished sixth, still a huge improvement on last year.
Consolation, if any was needed, came from finishing ahead of three of her four domestic rivals from the GB team and also leading Ireland to team bronze, their best ever finish at this level.
Speaking on her return this week Sarah said: “To get team bronze was fantastic for Ireland. I am aching all over now and my feet have taken a bit of a battering.”