Ahmet Arslan prevails in Kamnik (© Tomo Sarf)
Kamnik, SloveniaThe weather forecast for Sunday’s (24) 13th running of the Grintovec Mountain Running race was not a promising one: heavy rain with thundering and stormy winds above 1500m, and snow limit at about 2000m. Organising a mountain running race with the finish at 2500m above sea level, with no lodging facilities close to the finish, would be more than hazardous.
In this situation the organisers used an alternative course, actually just the initial two-thirds of the classic course, with a still respectable 1200m elevation gain in just 6.0 kilometres and the finish at a “safe altitude” of 1800m.
Stormy weather reduced the number of preliminary entries by half, but those who came Kamnik, a picturesque city about 25 kilometres northeast of Slovenia’s capital, were determined to finish the difficult course.
Some successful runners from the recent European Championships appeared on the finish line: men’s gold medallist Ahmet Arslan of Turkey, junior women’s winner Denisa Dragomir of Romaina, and women’s bronze medallist Lucija Krkoc of Slovenia. The winner of the last race (2009) Robert Krupicka was also determined to use his knowledge of the course to his advantage. In all, competitors came from 13 countries.
From the very beginning and onwards to the finish line there was no doubt who were the strongest that day. Arslan crossed the finish line more than one minute ahead of Switzerland’s David Schneider and three minutes before Krupicka. Krkoc was the strongest in the women’s division, winning by more than a minute-and-a-half ahead of Dragomir.
The young Romanian appears to be a follower of Krkoc. The Slovenian won the European junior title in 2006 and Dragomir followed suit in 2010 and 2011.
Organisation of a mountain running race in these tough conditions is a hard test for every organiser and in this case the local organisers passed the exam with excellent marks, as they did in 2010 when the same team organised the World Championships in neighboring Velika Planina.
The next WMRA Grand Prix race will take place on 31 July in Mayrhofen, Austria.
Tomo Sarf for IAAF
1. Lucija KRKOC SLO 55:21
2. Denisa DRAGOMIR ROM 57:06
3. Lauren JESKA GBR 58:38
4. Veronika JURIŠIC CRO 1:01:26
5. Marion KAPUSCINSKI AUT 1:02:56
1. Ahmet ARSLAN TUR 42:50
2. David SCHNEIDER SUI 44:26
3. Robert KRUPICKA CZE 46:08
4. Simon ALIC SLO 46:32
5. Orlando EDWARDS GBR 47:08
WMRA Grand Prix standings after three races:
1. Lucija KRKOC SLO 200
2. Emma CLAYTON ENG 140
3. Lauren JESKA ENG 135
4. Bernadette MEIER-BRANDLE SUI 100
5. Adelaide PANTHEON FRA 85
6. Denisa DRAGOMIR ROM 85
1. David SCHNEIDER SUI 185
2. Martin DEMATTEIS ITA 100
3. Ahmet ARSLAN TUR 100
4. Orlando EDWARDS GBR 89
5. Bernard DEMATTEIS ITA 85
6. Georges BURRIER FRA 85
7. Gebrengus OGUBIT ERI 75
8. Julien RANCON FRA 75
9. Robert KRUPICKA CZE 75
10. Adam OSBORNE GBR 75
11. Gabriele ABATE ITA 70