Matlock's Billy Cartwright finishes 29th overall in the Golden Trail Championships in the Azores
Matlock AC’s Billy Cartwright’s finished 29th overall in the Golden Trail Championships in the Azores, Portugal.
He qualified for the event, which had runners from 20 countries take part, by winning the UK Golden Strava Segment set in the Lake District over a 26k circuit .
“With ‘virtually’ no races this year, I felt like the amount of stress involved with travelling to the Azores should be endured to try and use some pretty decent training I had put in during the spring and summer,” said Cartwright.
“With numerous COVID tests and flight cancellations to contend with, once I arrived on Faial Island, I took a huge sigh of relief.”
Stage 1 was a tough 14.5 miles and 4,500ft of ascent and descent.
Cartwright said: “The first climb was surreal with such changing landscapes and terrain to contend with, from dense forest with knee deep mud to knee high tussocks which would collapse when you stood on them.
"I felt pretty strong throughout and picked my way through the razor sharp volcanic rock by the beach thorough to finish Stage 1 in 38th position.”
Stage 2 was 15 miles and 4,000 ft of ascent and descent which saw him drop to 39th overall.
Cartwright said: “It was a strange experience waking up as stiff as the tin man and knowing what was in store for us that day.
"I could sense that now we knew who we were racing against but it felt like there was great camaraderie and a Japanese runner and myself were shouted back on-track after a wrong turn.”
Stage 3 saw 19 miles with a 5,750 ft ascent and descent, with Cartwright finishing 34th.
Added Cartwright: “Although the longest stage, the pace seemed to be faster than previous and it wasn’t long till I was completely sodden with sweat whilst we all negotiated the undulating, dense and humid jungles by the ocean.
"The descending was especially uncomfortable but towards the end its great to know your legs will loosen and find their rhythm again.”
Stage 4 was 21 miles and a climb of 5,750ft, with Cartwright, who finished the stage 26th, adding: “My legs were pretty destroyed. With just this stage to go I tried to go more kamikaze towards the end of this stage to try and finish within the top 30.”