The first stage of the WMRA Grand Prix 2009 was held in a small French city Willer-sur-Thur in Alsace. Grand Ballon - the highest peak in Vosges Mountains - was the finish of the GP race for the second time.
Over 500 runners from 12 countries gathered on the start lines in Willer-sur-Thur (men) and Goldbach (women). Men ran a 12km course and the women ran just the upper 8km of the men's course.
Second Balkan MR championships will be held on Sunday, 31. May in Bulgarian city Teveten, about 100km east from Sofia. Runners will compete in 4 categories on up-downhill course. Junior women will run the 4 km long lap with 300m elevation once, women and junior men 2 times and men three times. Bulgarian Athletic federation as organizer is expecting runners from 9 Balkan countries. 1st Balkan Championships was organized in 2008 in Bulgarian spa resort Sapareva Banya - the venue of European MR Championships 2010.
The first scoring event of the WMRA Grand-Prix 2009 will be held at the Grand-Ballon Race in France on May 21st.
This is a season-opening race where top runners like race favorite Jonathan Wyatt assess their fitness and French citizens prepare for their National Championships.
The New Zealander is back on the top of the Vosges after his first success here in 2004 when he set a course record (58:19) on the 13,5km route that offers more than 1241m of elevation gain. Defending champion Emmanuel Meyssat is in good form having just won the second race of the French Mountain Cup in Seyssin-St-Nizier.
A Mountain Running Seminar was held in the Bulgarian tourist centre of Sapareva Banya, which is also the venue of the European Mountain Running Championships in 2010.
Athletic Federations from 18 Eastern European Countries were represented by 76 participants who wanted to gain more knowledge about this new athletic discipline.
Seminar was organized by the Bulgarian Athletic Federation chaired by the president Dobromir Karamarinov and supported by the International Athletic Foundation and technical cooperation of WMRA.
Mountain running experts were available to present their experiences and specific expertise gained from 25 years of mountain running development.
The following items were presented by the lecturers:
On 24th and 25th April 2009 in the city of Sapareva Banya, Bulgarian Athletic Federation, together with the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) will conduct a Mountain Running Seminar for participants from Eastern Europe and the Balkan Region. The project will come true due to the financial support of the International Athletics Foundation (IAF).