Runners from 10 countries gathered on the start line of the 31st Smarna gora race nearby Ljubljana, the capitol of Slovenia.
Weather conditions were promising excellent conditions for the runners - it was not too cold, the course was mostly dry.
The organizer decided to make some small changes on the course: the first flat part is little longer, the starting ascent is not so steep and the steep dangerous downhill section is replaced with short undulating part. So the course was extended from 9,0 to 10,0km but the elevation remains at 730m ascent and 300m descent.
Ahmet Arslan from Turkey - best non-African runner from the World Championships, that was held 4 weeks ago in Kamnik just 20km away from the Smarna gora - was running this race for the first time and started with respect to the 6-times world champion Wyatt, who had run the demanding and technical course already several times. Wyatt knew that the first uphill is his chance and he passed the first summit with small advantage, he even passed as the first runner the control point just before the end of the descent, but at the very last descent he was overtaken by Arslan and Krupicka from, who was also already the winner of the race 2 years ago. Ahmet Arslan set an excellent record time with 42:28.
Behind the winner Ahmet Arslan, second was Jonathan Wyatt (NZL 42:38), third Robert Krupicka (CZE 42:45), fourth David Schneider (SUI 44:07), fifth Mitja Kosovelj (SLO 44:29), sixth Eris Costa (ITA 44:58) and seventh Orlando Edwards (GBR 45:04).
We can find runners from 7 countries on the first 7 positions.
Andrea Mayr from Austria had showed her superiority a month ago in Kamnik and she did not allow any doubts about her third World Champion title.
She was in the lead from the start to the finish and crossed the finish line in 48:48, that is 2:31 before the second Antonella Confortola-Wyatt from Italy (51:09). Local Mateja Kosovelj from Slovenia finished on the third position (51:26). The fourth Kaja Obidič (SLO 52:44); fifth Lauren Jeska (GBR 54:23); sixth Anna Frost (NZL 55:13) and Emma Clayton (GBR 56:55).
The Smarna gora race was also the final WMRA Grand Prix competition.
Only the winners were decided already before the race: Arslan and Mayr collected enough points for the first position with their excellent races at the Worls Champs.
So the final race was deciding about the other positions.
Wyatt and Schneider were successful in the men's competition and British Jeska Lauren and Anna Frost were successful in the women's race.
In the summary, the women G.P. overall result for the first five position is: 1. Mayr Andrea (AUT) p. 340; 2. Jeska Lauren (GBR) p. 223, 3. Frost Anna (NZL) p. 176, 4. Confortola Antonella (ITA) p. 174, 5. Kosovelj Mateja (SLO) p. 168; and the men G.P. overall result for the first five position is: 1. Arslan Ahmet (TUR) p. 386, 2. Wyatt Jonathan (NZL) p. 247, 3. Schneider David (SUI) p.224, 4. Skalsky Roman (CZE) p. 188, 5. Krupicka Robert (CZE) p. 181.
Tomo Sarf for WMRA
Photos: Ales Fevzer
Ahmet Arslan (n. 60): winner men.
Andrea Mayr (n. 14): winner women.
Mitja Kosovelj (n. 37) in downhill part.