Individual victories for Turkey & Norway in Cauterets while Italy & Switzerland take team titles

The 6th edition of the European mountain running Championships in the French Pyrenees (Cauterets) was held in dramatic scenery, enhanced by low lying mist from which the runners emerged into bright sunshine. Anna Pichrtova lost her crown to the Norwegian, Anita Haakenstad-Eversten by the narrow margin of 49 seconds. This is the first major event medal won by the Norwegians who also placed Kirsten Otterbu in bronze medal position. Unfortunately for them they could not place their third counter high enough to take the team title which went to Switzerland (17 points) who were led home by world trophy silver medallist Marina Straehl in 4th position. One wonders if Anna had had more time to recover from her car accident in Nigeria last November whether she cold have found that extra 49 seconds of pace! The men's race also produced a new champion as the Turkish runner Ahmet Arslan held off the strong Italian pair Marco De Gasperi ( four times world champion), 11 seconds behind, and last years European champion Marco Gaiardo a further 19 seconds adrift. The Italians had the consolation of a team gold medal position with 15 points to the host countries (France) 31 points. ahmet_aslan There was a pleasing distribution of medals with seven countries sharing positions on the podium. The introduction of junior races on a trial basis was judged a success. Lucija Krkoc (SLO) won the junior women's race which Great Britain taking the team title and Turkey placed their juniors 1,2,3 led by Mehmet Akkoyun to take the junior men's title. Leading Results. Men 1 A Arslan TUR 68.39 2 M Gasperi ITA 68.50 3 M Gaiardo ITA 69.09 4 A Bolkhovitin RUS 70.01 5 S Epiney SUI 70.16 6 R Fontain FRA 70.28 Teams 1 Italy 15 2 France 31 3 Germany 36 15 countries finished full teams Women 1 A Eversten NOR 51.45 2 A Pichtova CZE 52.34 3 K Otterbu NOR 52.56 4 M Straehl SUI 53.26 5 A Joly Flueckiger SUI 53.45 6 I Guillot FRA 53.51 Teams 1 Switzerland 17 2 Czech Republic 22 3 Italy 29 16 countries finished full teams

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