Elisa Desco wins 2009 World Mountain Running Championship title - WMRA (WMRA) © Copyright
General News Madesimo, Italy

Desco and Kusuro win World Mountain Running Championship titles

The 25th World Mountain Running Championships was organised today in the Italian ski resort of Madesimo close to the town of Chiavenna with Elisa Desco taking the senior women’s honours for the hosts and Uganda’s Geoffrey Kusuro taking the senior men’s gold.

The racing was held on a lap, up and down course; one lap was 4.3km long with 275m difference in altitude; the Junior Women ran one lap, Junior Men and Senior Women ran 2 laps and Senior Men ran 3 laps.

The start was 1750m above sea level, which made the races even more difficult for the athletes having to run at altitude. The course required many changes in rhythm; the surface changing from grassy to rocky terrain.

Weather conditions were excellent for the runners – after some days of rain in the area the weather cleared on the day before the race and the course dried nicely. After a cold and windy morning with temperatures just above freezing point the sun came out and warmed up the course.

In total approximately 330 runners from 35 countries participated in the event and many thousands of spectators lining the course enjoyed the spectacle on a beautiful clear day.

Italy sweep podium; Uganda gold and bronze

In the senior women’s race once again the Italians were the favourites for the team gold medal, but no one expected them to run a perfect race and for them to achieve individual gold, silver and bronze positions.

Valentina Belotti was in the lead for the first lap but Elisa Desco overtook her on the second lap to win the race. Perhaps even more spectacular was the performance of bronze medal winner Maria Grazia Roberti who came right through the field in the second part of the race.

In the senior men’s race seven of the top ten places were taken by African runners. The winner Geoffrey Kusuro from Uganda is no stranger to mountain running having won the junior title in 2007 in Ovronnaz. Eritrea’s Azerya Weldemariam slit Kusuro from compatriot James Kibet.

In the team competition the final order was the same as in Bursa 2006, when the Italian team was beaten for the first time. Once again they fell victim to Eritrea, but on this occasion on an up and down course.


The day’s competition programme had started with the junior women’s race. Turkish runners took a lead just after the start and only Morgan from USA and Mach from Poland succeeded in splitting the strong Turkish squad. The winner was Yasmin Can, who led from the start of the race.

In the teams classification Turkey won the gold, but 4 teams each had between 20-21 points and shared the places from third to sixth position.

In the junior men’s race the spectators anticipated a local winner and they were not disappointed. Xavier Chevrier ran a smart race and proved unbeatable especially on the technical descents.

Although the teams from Turkey and Italy were in close competition for gold and silver they were well ahead of all other countries.

Tomo Sarf (WMRA) for the IAAF


1 Elisa DESCO ITA 43.39 
2 Valentina BELOTTI ITA 44.03 
3 Maria Grazia ROBERTI ITA 44.23 
4 Sarah TUNSTALL GBR 44.48
5 Hulya BASTUG TUR 44.57

1 ITA 6
2 GBR 22
3 USA 38
4 TUR 44
5 SLO 48

1 Geoffrey KUSURO UGA 54.51 
2 Azerya WELDEMARIAM ERI 55.45 
3 James KIBET UGA 55.54
4 Bernard DEMATTEIS ITA 56.02 
5 Zemichael TESFAMICHAEL ERI 56.08

1 ERI 24
2 ITA 39
3 TUR 75
4 UGA 79
5 FRA 105

1 Yasemin CAN TUR 22.18
2 Megan MORGAN USA 22.35 
3 Angelika MACH POL 22.56 
4 Zeynep YOK TUR 23.05 
5 Özlem KAYA TUR 23.15  

1 TUR 5
2 ROM 13
3 POL 20
4 ITA 21
5 RUS 21

1 Xavier CHEVRIER ITA 38.26 
2 Muzaffer BAYRAM TUR 39.22 
3 Alper DEMIR TUR 39.32  
4 Brandon LORD USA 39.51 
5 Luca CAGNATI ITA 40.00 

1 TUR 14
2 ITA 16
3 GBR 52
4 CZE 62
5 SUI 67