Petro Mamu of Eritrea and Kenyan Lucy Murigi won the 40th Smarna Gora Mountain Running Race, the final event of the 2019 WMRA World Cup season, near the Slovenian capital Ljubljana on Saturday (12).
Behind them, Andrew Douglas of Scotland who finished fourth and Sarah McCormack of Ireland, who was second to reach the summit, collected the overall WMRA World Cup titles, Douglas with 525 points and McCormack with 495. Eritrean Filimon Abraham, who pushed Mamu nearly to the line today, was second overall with 365 points. Murigi, on the mend from injury and just competing for the second time this season, finished second overall with 210 points.
Eager to work his way up the World Cup point chart, Abraham attacked early in the men's race, forcing his opponents to respond to his quick early pace on the first and longer climb of the 10km course.
Mamu let him go initially, choosing to lead a chase group that included Douglas and Slovenia's Timotej Becan. Mamu kept the gap to under 20 seconds and responded with a strong second climb up to the finish after a tricky and technical descent.
He overtook his compatriot just 400 metres before the summit finish and sprinted away in the final metres to win in 42:17, four seconds clear of Abraham. Further back, Becan was third in 43:19, a few steps aheaf of Douglas who clocked 43:23.
In the women's race, Murigi waged a fierce battle with McCormack before pulling away in the second half to successfully defend her Smarna Gora title, clocking 50:55. McCormack dropped back but still held on for second in 51:51, with Czech Lucie Marsanova third in 52:20.
The course records, 41:32 by set by Italy’s Alex Baldaccini in 2012 and 47:40, set by Austrian Andrea Mayr in 2017, remained firmly intact.
The WMRA calendar picks up again on 20 October with the NACAC Mountain Running Championship in Tepatitlan, Mexico, and continues on 27 October with the Trofeo Vanovi International Mountain Rely in Morbegno, Italy. The season reaches its climax at the 35th World Mountain Running Championships in Villa La Angostura, Argentina, on 15-16 November.
WMRA for the IAAF