2015 Gorski tek na Grintovec mountain race winners Nejc Kuhar and Karmen Klancnik (© WMRA)
Slovenian runners Nejc Kuhar and Karmen Klancnik took the honours on home soil at the 17th edition of Gorski tek na Grintovec mountain running race, the third stage of 2015 Mountain Running World Cup, in Kamnik on Sunday (26).
In the men's race, Kenya's Francis Wangari and Francis Njorge opened up a small gap over the initial flatter two kilometres – the 9.8km course having almost two kilometres of elevation up to the to the summit of the Grintovec mountain at 2558m – however Switzerland's 2015 European mountain running championships silver medallist David Schnieder and Kuhar were not far behind and they soon went past the flagging Njorge when the inclines started to get steeper.
Kuhar then pulled away from Schneider before passing Wangari, last year's third place finisher, about a kilometre from the finish.
The local star managed to put 40 seconds between himself and his African rivcal by the finish, crossing the line in 1:19.57 to become the first local winner of the men's race since 2007 and finally climb to the top of the podium after finishing second the last two years and third in 2012.
Wangari came home in 1:20:37 with Schneidar holding on for third in 1:21:46.
However, Schneidar moves up into second place in the WMRA World Cup standings with 140 points, 20 behind Great Britain's Andrew Douglas, who did not compete on Sunday.
The women's race was decided just a few hundred metres from home when Klancnik pulled away from Hungary’s Timea Merenyi.
Klancnik – 55th overall in the combined race – won in 1:42:36 with Merenyi second in 1:43:08. Croatia’s Veronika Jurisic almost caught the tiring Hungarian but had to settle for third place in 1:43:14.
However, after two second places and a third in the opening three races of the WMRA World Cup, Merenyi leads the way with 220 points and Klancnik a distant second on 140 points.
After a month or more of very hot conditions in central Europe, the runners did get a slight respite. Rain the night before the race cooled the temperatures to the low 20 degrees Celsius, still warm but at least tolerable, although the early morning drizzle aslo made the course slippery in many palces.
The fourth event in the six-stage World Cup will be Asitzgipfel-mountain-run in the Austrian town of Leogang on 6 September.
WMRA for the IAAF