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Douglas lays out the footprint of California success


By Matt Leslie


Halkirk athlete, Andrew Douglas, won the Broken Arrow Skyrace 26km – his second win in as many races in this year's Mountain Running World Cup Series – in a time of 1hr 56min 31secs. Second place went to Sam Sahli (left) of the United States who crossed the line in 2hr 6min 18secs with Italy's Henri Aymonod (right) finishing third in 2hr 8min 3secs. Picture: Broken Arrow Skyrace/Myke Hermsmeyer.
Halkirk athlete, Andrew Douglas, won the Broken Arrow Skyrace 26km – his second win in as many races in this year's Mountain Running World Cup Series – in a time of 1hr 56min 31secs. Second place went to Sam Sahli (left) of the United States who crossed the line in 2hr 6min 18secs with Italy's Henri Aymonod (right) finishing third in 2hr 8min 3secs. Picture: Broken Arrow Skyrace/Myke Hermsmeyer.

Douglas, who had won the opening 26km meeting in the French Alps town of Annecy last month, stormed to victory in the Skyrunner race on the Californian side of Lake Tahoe.

Leading from the front at the start Douglas powered his way to a convincing three minute lead at the 10km mark of the American course and would eventually win not shy of 10 minutes from his nearest challenger.

Douglas won in a time of 1hr 56min 31secs. Second place went to Sam Sahli of the United States who crossed the line in 2hr 6min 18secs with Italy's Henri Aymonod finishing third in 2hr 8min 3secs.

On paper, it appears that this was a mere cruise in the hills for Andrew however, as he says himself, he needed a bit of help.

He said: "Despite the glorious sunshine weather on the ground, towards the top of the course was quite a lot of snow.

"Fortunately, the 52km race was held the day before and there were still some footprints left over from that event which made sure I was on the right track.

"The snow was a bit tricky. The organisers had put up ropes for runners to haul themselves up but as we started the race very early in the morning, the snow was hard and icy so you had to be careful. Not to forget the altitude as we got higher up the mountain.

"I didn't think about changing my footwear beforehand. Some people take up poles with them or even have shoes with micro-spikes but I was confident that my own footwear had enough grip to get me through.

"I knew that I had set a good pace at the start and while I was aware that there was a decent a gap between myself and second place, I had no idea during the race as to how big a lead I had at 10km and how big the gap was when I crossed the finishing line.

Halkirk's Andrew Douglas uses the ropes to get up the snowy conditions in round two of the Mountain Running World Cup series in California. USA. Picture: Broken Arrow Skyrace/Myke Hermsmeyer.
Halkirk's Andrew Douglas uses the ropes to get up the snowy conditions in round two of the Mountain Running World Cup series in California. USA. Picture: Broken Arrow Skyrace/Myke Hermsmeyer.

"It was strange during the run downwards as there was a ski-track next to the running course and you had all the skiers whizzing past you. I managed to rein in any natural instinct to try and catch them up.

"There were some great views around of the surrounding mountains and of Lake Tahoe but unfortunately, when you're competing, you can't stop to take in the beautiful surroundings.

"You do find yourself in a zone where you concentrate on your running. I was able to take in the sights the day after though."

Next up for Andrew is a break away from the World Cup series and the European Championships.

This takes place next month and sees Douglas take a trip to the Swiss town of Zermatt – home of the infamous Matterhorn mountain that has claimed the lives of many a climber – most famously Edward Whymper in 1865 when he fell to his death not long after becoming the first mountaineer to scale its peak.

Douglas added: "Thankfully the Matterhorn is not part of the course – I'm sure the one they've laid on for us will be challenging enough.

"I'm in good form and have had a couple of good results but this will be tough. I can expect strong competition from the Italian, French and Norwegian runners so I will be delighted to come back with a medal of any colour."



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