In front of the European Athletics President Hans Jorg Wirz, nine countries won medals at the 10. European Mountain Running Championships in Bursa - Uludag (Turkey), in which 26 countries took part.
The uphill races were held on a course which was a true test of mountain running skill, finishing at the ski station of Uludag, on a day when temperatures for the runners reached 30 degrees.
The host nation Turkey, dominated the event, winning nine medals in total (four gold, three silver, two bronze), only in the senior women's race did they not win a medal.
The strong mountain running nation of Italy were next with five medals (two gold, two silver, one bronze); then Romania (one gold and one silver) and Switzerland (one gold and one bronze) followed with two medals each.
The other countries on the podium where Russia and Czech Republic with one silver each, then Portugal with two bronze and Austria and Slovenia with one bronze each.
The junior women's race was won in 21.43 by Denisa Dragomir of Romania, who repeated her win from last year, followed by the Turkish runners Yasemin Can and Sevilay Eytemis in 22.08 and 22.16 respectively as 32 runners completed the 3.5 km course with 405m of climbing. Turkey won the team medal with five points, Romania won silver and Austria the bronze.
Turkey dominated the junior men's race, taking all three places on the podium with Nuri Komur in gold (43.08), Sonmex Dag in silver (43.12) and Murat Orak in bronze (43.40), giving them also the lowest possible team score and gold medal. The junior men's team silver medal was won by the Czech Republic with 39 points, just beating Italy in bronze medal position with 43 points as 54 runners tacked the 8.5km course with 865m of climbing.
Switzerland were the other nation to win a gold medal, with Martina Strahl winning the senior women's race in a time of 48.44 (repeating her win from 2009). Close behind in silver was Italian Antonella Confortola in 49.09, with Lucija Krkoc from Slovenia completing the podium in bronze medal position in 49.24. Confortola lead the Italian team to the team gold medal with 22 points, with Russia (28 points) in silver and Switzerland (38 points) in bronze medal position. Fifty four runners completed the race.
In the senior men's race over 12 km with 1.245m of climb, Ahmet Arslan made it five European Mountain Running Championship wins, as he finished 45 seconds in front of Gabriele Abate from Italy, in 58.08. The bronze medal went to Jose Gasper of Portugal in 59.05, from the large field of 78 men. The three individual medal winners were also team medal winners, with Italy taking the gold medal (12 points), followed by Turkey with silver (34 points) just in front of Portugal in bronze (36 points).
WMRA President and EA Technical Delegate for the event, Bruno Gozzelino, congratulated the City of Bursa and Governor together the Turkish Athletic Federation (Mehmet Terzi, TAF President was present to all the Championships time) for their excellent hosting and organisation of the event and thanked the European Association for their hosting of the European Mountain Running Championships in 2011.
Other WMRA Council present were Raimondo Balicco, Wolfgang Munzel, Tomo Sarf and, of course, Erhan Basoglu, who was also a wonderful General Secretary of Local Organising Committee of the Championships.
News by Sarah Rowell
Photos by LOC:
in front page: Ahmet Arslan, senior winner;
in second page: opening ceremony.