ILKLEY’S Georgia Malir has been crowned as a European Mountain Running champion.

The 18-year-old recorded the finest victory of her blossoming career when she won the junior women’s race at Gap in France on Saturday.

It was stunning performance as the Menston St Mary’s student came home two seconds ahead of her nearest challenger and helped Great Britain take the team silver medal.

Racing over a 4.25km course that contained 250 metres of climbing, Malir needed to be at her best to cope with the hot pace.

Malir and her Great Britain team-mate Catriona Graves crested the top in the main lead group. But it was on the descent of the up and down course where Malir came into her own.

She chased down and finally passed long-time leader Bahar Atalay of Turkey in the closing stages to take victory.

Malir said: “My plan was to stick with the main group on the uphill part of the course and I felt quite good but I told myself to stick with the plan and hold back and I’m glad that I did.

“Bahar had a good lead at the top of the climb but, about half way down, she came into view. Every time we came to an open bit and she came into view, I knew I had closed a bit more. I knew I had to go for it on the grassy descent and I took her just after that.

“When I finished, I didn’t know how to feel. I think my happiness was blocking out the pain from the race!”