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Smarna gora will host again the WMRA Grand Prix final. Print
einfalt_smarna_2011.jpgThe International Smarna Gora Mountain Running Race remains one of the highlights of the mountain running season, and its rich tradition will continue on Saturday, October 6, with its 33rd edition.
After Turkish organizers in Bursa canceled what was to be the final race of the 2012 WMRA Grand Prix circuit, the Smarna Gora race organizing committee met and the decision was made to help the WMRA by again hosting this top class international mountain running event as the final race in the Grand Prix.
In spite of the change of the Grand Prix final race date -- from September 22 to October 6 -- and a different type of mountain course -- up/down vs uphill, the WMRA Grand Prix final will attract many top runners to the slopes of Smarna gora.
In the autumn and fall season of 1979 running enthusiasts from Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital, decided to organize a race to the top of one of the most popular mountains in Slovenia at Smarna Gora.
Nobody envisaged that it would become such a massive event with worldwide popularity.
The WMRA Grand prix champions of the world will again be crowned this Saturday at this magnificent mountain peak.
In the early 1990s the event was the first national championships in the new nation of Slovenia and later that decade, world champion Lucio Fregona (ITA) made the ©marna Gora race an internationally recognized event.
abate_smarna__2011.jpgAfter the millennium, the ©marna Gora race became one of the founding members of the WMRA Grand Prix and since than it has been the final Grand Prix event on ten occasions.
In the last 33 years many world champoin medalists have been tested on the demanding course that takes runners 360 meters uphill to the first summit, followed by 300 meters of technical descent before a 300 meter climb to the finish.
The top men will race just over 40 minutes for this 10-kilometre course.
This Saturday, the best mountain runners will again meet to test their strength, speed and skills.
This will be the first meeting after the World Championships and many will strive to climb the famous podium at Smarna Gora.
This will be a tall order, as the top female runners will include World Championship second place finisher Valentina Belotti (just married Emanuele Manzi, ITA) and Mateja Kosovelj (SLO) who took sixth place. kosoveljmateja_smarna_2011.jpg
Stevie Kremer (USA), the 2012 WMRA World Long Distance Challenge winner, will also try to earn a spot on the podium.
Slovenia's Lea Einfalt, the World Junior Championships bronze medalist, is expected to be a factor at some stage of this wonderful festival of mountain running in Slovenia.
In the men's event, six-time European champion Ahmet Arslan of Turkey, returns to defend his Smarna Gora title from 2010 and 2011.
iaaf_mr_permit.jpgStrong Eritrean team members will test the Smarna gora course for the first time; Teklay Azeria, 3-times world vice-champion and Grand Prix current leader will do his best to improve upon Arslan's course record and his fellow team member Tekle Yossief, 2010 junior world Champion (Kamnik-Slovenia) will try to repeat his successful run on Slovenian soil.
Mitja Kosovelj of Slovenia is well positioned to offer a strong challenge since he knows the course very well.
David Schneider (SUI) will test his recovery on Smarna gora.schneider_smarna_2011.jpg
Other world-class male mountain runners include the always-strong Italian and British national team members: Gabriele Abate, Alex Baldaccini, Emanuelle Manzi, Orlando Edwards, Gary Priestley and many others.

News by WMRa (Tomo Sarf and Nancy Hobbs)

Photos (source by LOC):
on front page:
- Lea Einfalt (SLO):
on second page:
- Gabriele Abate (ITA)
- Mateja Kosovelj (SLO)
- IAAF Mountain Running permit
- David Schneider (SUI)

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