Report11 Sep 2016

Mayr collects sixth world mountain running crown in Sapareva Banya


Andrea Mayr after winning at the 2014 WMRA World Mountain Running Championships (© Giancarlo Colombo / organisers)

Austrian mountain running sensation Andrea Mayr won a sixth women's senior title to highlight the 32nd WMRA World Mountain Running Championships in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria, on Sunday (11).

Mayr covered the 7.3km course with a 700m elevation gain in 39:04, well ahead of Italy's Valentina Belotti, who clocked 40:47. Christel Dewalle of France was third, clocking 41:05.

Mayr, the Austrian record holder in the half marathon and marathon, seems to be at her best when competing in the mountains in even years. The 26-year-old has won the crown every other year since her first in 2006.

Belotti, the winner in 2009, lead Italy to a comfortable victory in the team race with 17 points. The Czech Republic, led by Petra Novakova who was fifth, was second with 32. The USA was third with 36, just one ahead of Great Britain.

Joseph Gray of the US dominated the men's race, winning by nearly two minutes. He covered the 12.5km course with a 1390m elevation gain in 1:02:13 to lead the inspired US squad to its first-ever team title.

In a heated battle, USA edged mountain running powerhouse Italy by a single point with 32. Mexico was third with 69. 

In the battle for individual honours, Israel Morales of Mexico was second in 1:03:52, with Ahmet Arslan of Turkey, a six-time European champion, finishing third, clocking 1:04:49.

Brothers Bernard and Martin Dematteis led Italy, finishing sixth and eighth, respectively.

In the junior races, Uganda's men's squad swept the top-three spots to dominate the competition. Joel Ayeko covered the 7.3km course with an elevation gain of 700m/-20m in 33:53, winning by nearly a minute-and-a-half over Victor Kiplangat. In the team chase, Italy was a distant second with 41 points.

Sarah Kistner of Germany won the women's junior title, covering the 3.5km course with an elevation gain of 500m in 22.48. Czech Michaela Stranska was second in 23:31, 25 seconds clear of Bronwen Jenkinson of Great Britain.

Stranska, along with Barbora Havlickova, who finished fifth, led the Czech squad to the junior team title with 19 points, ahead of Germand and Italy, with 25 and 33 respectively.

The mountain resort city of Sapareva Banya in the country's southwest is the first to host a Balkan, European and World championship in mountain running. Athletes from 35 nations competed.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF