Alice Gaggi winning at the WMRA Mountain Running World Championships (Nancy Hobbs / WMRA) © Copyright
General News Torino, Italy

A look back at the mountain running year

The highlight of the mountain running year was the WMRA World Mountain Running Championships, with 329 athletes coming from 39 nations competing in Krynica Zdroj, Poland on 8 September.

On a crisp, clear morning with temperatures in the low 50s for the start of the first race,   USA’s 18 year-old Mandy Ortiz got the first gold medal of the day when winning the junior women’s competition with Great Britain taking the team honours.

In the junior men's race, Italy’s Nekagenet Crippa proved to be unbeatable on the beautiful but extremely difficult slopes of Jaworzyna Krynicka Mountain with Czech Republic winning the team competition.

In the senior women's race, Italy's Alice Gaggi, who was celebrating her 26th birthday, was the surprise winner after covering the two lap-9.08km course in 42:47 with Great Britain's Emma Clayton second in 43:12.

Italy put two women on the podium when Elisa Desco crossed the line in 43:32 and, with three women in the top seven thanks to Antonella Confortola completing the scoring trio, the ‘Azzurri’ comfortably took the team competition with 11 points.

The senior men's race saw Uganda swept the top four places and earned a gold team medal with a perfect score of 10. Philip Kiplimo won over the three-lap 13.56km course in 54:22 putting more than half-a-minute between himself and his nearest rival Geoffrey Kusuro, with his better-known compatriot crossing the line in 55:06.

Team mates Nathan Ayeko and Peter Kibet were third and fourth respectively in 55:19 and 55:27 respectively.

Italy was the most successful country in the medal table with three gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze.

The venue of the 30th World Mountain Running Championships 2014 will be in Italy, at Casette di Massa, on 13-14 September.

Kosovelj and Confortola rise to the Challenge

Mitjia Kosovelj and Antonella Confortola dominated the 10th edition of the WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge in Szklarska Poreba, Poland, on 3 August while Italy took the team titles in both the men’s and women’s races.

In the men’s race, Kosovelj and Romania’s Jonut Zinca ran together for the first two- thirds of the race but Zinca faded over the last 10km, allowing Kosovelj to run away to victory in 3:07:36.

W0ales’ Andrew Davies moved steadily through the field, going from 15th at 12km to ninth at half way before passing Zinca just a few hundred metres from the finish line to take the silver medal.

Davies clocked 3:13:39 with Zinca taking bronze in 3:14:00.

More than a minute behind the medallists, Italy’s Emauele Manzi finished fourth in 3:16:01 but with his teammates Tommaso Vaccina and Massimiliano Zanaboni finishing in the top 14, the trio securing the team gold medal for Italy.

The women’s race was dominated by Italian athletes.

The trio of Ivana Iozzia, Antonella Confortola and Ornella Ferrara led for most of the way, until Iozzia began to struggle over the final 10km, eventually fading to eighth position.

Confortola went on to win in 3:44:51, finishing almost four minutes ahead of Ferrara, who was second in 3:48:41. The biggest surprise was Poland’s Anna Celinska, who came through to take bronze in 3:51:21, to the delight of the home crowd.

The 11th WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge 2014 will be held on 16 August in USA at Manitou Springs, for the second time with a Pikes Peak ascent.

A record 15 countries participated in the 8th WMRA International Youth Cup in Gap, France on 7 July. Turkey dominated the competition by winning five medals, all of them gold.

On a course which started in an open meadow and climbed through the forest over mountain paths, Turkey’s runner Burcu Subatan led from the first few hundred metres until the finish line, which she crossed in 13:24.

During the first two kilometres, the second and third positions changed between various athletes but Poland's Magdalena Dias eventually clinched second place in 13:38.

The boys’ race was over 5.3km. After the first loop of 1.4 kilometers, Turkey's Ridvan Yilmaz was already starting to create a gap at the front and would increase his lead to nearly one minute by the finish while the race for second and third oscillated between Turkey's Onur Aras, and Italy's Davide Magnini.

Yilmaz crossed the line in 23:53, followed by his compatriot Aras in 24:46 with Magnini placed third in 24:55, and Turkey also took the team title. 

The 9th International Youth Mountain Running Cup 2014 will be held in Arco di Trento, Italy, on 29 June .

Tekley and Kosovelj finish the year in Grand Prix pole position

The 15th WMRA Grand Prix series in 2013 consisted of six  major mountain races. 

The races were the 33rd La Montee du Grand Ballon in Willer sur Thur/Goldbach, France on 2 June, the 3rd International relay race in Arco di Trento, Italy, on 21 July, the 15th Gorski tek na Grintovec in Kamnik, Slovenia, on 28 July, the WMRA World Mountain Running Championships, the 5th Asitzgipfel-mountain-run in Leogang, Austria, on 5 September and finally the famous 34th  Smarna Gora Race in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 5 October.

The top positions in the 2013 WMRA Grand Prix men’s rankings went to Eritrea’s Azeria Teklay. Second and third were both Italian runners, Alex Baldaccini and Gabriele Abate.

The top ranked woman this year was Slovenia’s Mateja Kosovelj, who was fifth overall two years ago and third in last year's competition. Like in the men’s rankings, Italy filled the next two places with Antonella Confortolla and then the World champion Alice Gaggi.

In 2013, there were also the four official Area Continental Mountain Running Championships held in Europe, South America, North and Central America, and in Africa.

The 12th edition of the European Mountain Running Championships was held on 6 July in Borovets, Bulgaria.

The new European champions are Italy’s Bernard Dematteis for senior men, Austria’s Andrea Mayr for senior women, Turkey’s Ramazan Karagoz for junior men and Germany’s Melanie Albrecht for junior women.

In the team competitions, Italy won both senior categories, Turkey took the junior men’s team title and Russia won the junior women’s contest.

The 8th CONSUDATLE Mountain Running Championships took place on 21 July in Cajamarca, Peru. Due organisational problems, only two countries were present: Peru and Brazil.

The Championships had the four traditional races: junior and senior, women and men and all the medals were won by Peruvian runners.

For the first time, the USA Mountain Running Championships, the North America  Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championships, and the US Mountain Team selection were combined together at one venue and this resulted in an amazing day of competition.

The 10th NACAC Mountain Running Championships was dominated by USA team with four gold medals, including the two individual senior titles going to Joseph Gray and Morgan Arritola.

The 5th edition of African Mountain Running Championship were in Obudu, Nigeria, on 23 November. Kenya’s Philemon Rono and Ethiopia’s Yalew Genet won their respective races. 

However, because Rono was an individual entrant and Ethiopia, despite having the first four women home, had not formally entered a team, the actual individual continental titles went to Uganda’s Geoffrey Kusuro and Kenya’s Perine Nenkampi, who were third and fifth in their respective races.

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