World champ Charlotte Morgan on the up after late start to running career

Scot looks back on surprise win in Poland last weekend

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After taking up the sport at the age of 34, Britain's Charlotte Morgan last weekend became the surprise world long-distance mountain running champion.

The 41-year-old Scot completed the 36km course with 2110m of elevation change in three hours eight minutes 26 seconds.

Morgan, who ran until the age of 17 before university, finally realised her potential in Karpacz, Poland, with her best performance to date.

"I knew I was in really good shape and hoped for a top placing, but I didn't ever expect to go and win," said the Carnethy Hill Runner, who was 22 seconds clear at the finish. "I went into the lead halfway down the first descent and I was like 'oh well, I wasn't planning this', but I couldn't hold back because I like descending and I was just taking it easy, rolling down the hill.

"I expected to find the start of the climb quite tough, but I didn't. I chipped away at it and no one came. The further I got up  the second climb, I was just thinking, 'I've just got to hold my head together now because I don't think anyone will out-descend me."

Improving from seventh in last year's world long-distance championships and having placed the same position while hampered by injury at the British trials at the Three Peaks Race in April, this was a major leap up in class for Morgan, who has come along way since re-emerging seven years ago.

Looking back at what got her running again in her mid-Thirties, she said: "It was with the encouragement of my partner, to do something I once loved. I've always know I had a natural ability but I've never been the best at getting the best out of myself. It's probably confidence.

"But I just went into this race very relaxed - I was well prepared, I knew the course. I think I've learned I like the big occasion."

Morgan, who made her final preparation for the race hiking on the trails in Italy, is more at home in European-style trail races than traditional British-based fell events, but uses a mixture of terrains in her general training, including around Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh but also on plenty of flat routes in the winter.

She has not yet made firm plans for the rest of the summer, but on the evidence of last weekend has the potential to become a regular feature at the front of races on the European trail circuit.