Andrea Mayr en route to another victory on Smarna Gora (© Ales Fevzer)
The Berglaufteam Sparkasse Bludenz, the first meeting in the 2014 Mountain Running World Cup series, will welcome a world-class field on 8 June.
The hopes of the host nation will be carried by European mountain running champion Andrea Mayr. The talented all-rounder, who has represented her country in the marathon at the Olympic Games and in the steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships, has this year won national titles in both the 10,000m on the track and 10km on the roads.
On home soil in Bludenz this weekend she will face the two other medallists from last year’s European Mountain Running Championships, Italy’s Valentina Belotti and Slovenia’s Mateja Kosovelj.
Also in the field are Italy’s 2011 European mountain running silver medallist Antonella Confortola, Britain’s 2008 European mountain running bronze medallist Sarah Tunstall, Kenya’s Veronica Maina and Austria’s Sabine Reiner.
In the men’s race, European mountain running silver medallist Alex Baldaccini is among the favourites. He will face Switzerland’s David Schneider, twice a top-10 finisher at the European Mountain Running Championships, and Slovenia’s Mitja Kosovelj.
Other contenders include Italy’s Emanuele Manzi, Hungary’s Adam Kovacs and Kenya’s Hirum Wandangi.
This year’s race in the Austrian town will be held on a demanding 8.4km course which will peak at an altitude of 1160m. The race begins on the roads of Bludenz, before heading on to forest roads and woodland paths.
The winner will be decided on the final steep alpine paths where an ascent of 380m will have to be overcome within less than two kilometres. If the weather forecast is correct, all finishers will be awarded at the finish on the ‘Fraßenhütte’ with a marvellous mountain panorama.
Organisers for the IAAF