WAKEFIELD Harriers rising star Annabel Mason produced a sensational performance to shock world-class junior athletes on their home turf and win the European U20s Mountain Running Championships crown.
Having achieved selection to the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team with a dominant win in Sedbergh last month, the 15 year-old repeated the feat in the 4.4km race in Denizli-Pamukkale, Turkey.
Despite being the youngest athlete in the field, and three years younger than many of her rivals, Mason conquered the extreme heat and gruelling course to finish almost a minute ahead of the chasing pack.
The host nation boasted two pre-race favourites in Yilmaz Cesminaz, junior silver medallist in last year’s world championships, and Eytemis Sevilay, who won bronze in the 2011 European Mountain Running Championships junior women’s race, but they were left trailing in the wake of Mason’s brilliant time of 20 minutes 25 seconds.
She revealed the secret to her success only after she had picked up her gold medal, saying: “In England I had to run with extra layers and a woolly hat to get used to the heat.”
And Mason now has her sights set on a bigger prize. She said: “I would like to have a go at the worlds, keep running and enjoy it.”
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