Rain and cold temperatures on Śnieżka Peak didn’t slow down the world's best mountain runners at the WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in the Polish town of Karpacz on Sunday (24).
Held on a challenging 36km course with 2110 metres of climbing and descent, four nations came away from Poland with gold medals.
Britain’s Charlotte Morgan held off Poland’s Dominika Stelmach and defending champion Silvia Rampazzo of Italy to win the women’s race in 3:08:26. Stelmach took silver in 3:08:48 with Rampazzo picking up the bronze in 3:10:33.
“I had no expectations before the race and am I'm surprised by the win; it wasn't something I planned,” said Morgan. “I took the lead on the first descent before briefly losing it due to calf cramps at the top of the second climb. I really liked the descents and went through the race feeling relaxed.”
The team contest was also extremely close with the top three nations separated by just three points. With three women in the top 12 finishers, Austria took the team title with 28 points. Led by individual winner Morgan, Great Britain took silver with 30 points while Romania earned bronze with 31.
In an equally exciting men’s race, USA’s Andy Wacker led for more than half the race before falling back near the Śnieżka summit. Italy’s Alessandro Rambaldini made up significant ground on the uphill sections and passed Wacker before charding into downtown Karpacz in first place, crossing the finish line in 2:39:18.
Robert Krupicka of the Czech Republic took the silver medal in 2:40:55, holding off USA’s 2016 world mountain running champion Joseph Gray by just seven seconds.
“I didn’t expect to win as the competitors were very strong,” said Rambaldini after earning his second long distance win following his 2016 triumph in Slovenia. “I didn’t follow the Americans on the first uphill because I didn’t want to take any risks and I wanted to stay in control. On the second uphill, I caught up with Krupicka and I found the resources to fly away in the long final downhill.
“To tell the truth, I felt I was struggling towards Kopa, but in the end I tried my best and it was my winning strategy. It’s emotional to repeat the 2016 Podrbrdo success and to contribute to my team’s bronze medal.”
The men's team contest was a close one. The Czech Republic’s three scoring runners were each a single place ahead of the USA’s three scoring runners, meaning the Czech Republic took gold with 15 points to the USA’s 18. Mountain running powerhouse Italy rounded out the podium by taking bronze with 40 points.
WMRA for the IAAF