Eritrean Teklay Azerya and Italian Valentina Belotti Manzi won 14. WMRA Grand Prix 2012.
2012gpsmarnafinalmen.jpgThis Saturday, October 6., 2012, a mountain on the edge of Slovenia's capital Ljubljana hosted one of the races with the longest tradition - the Smarna gora race was this year organized for the 33. time.
The race was also WMRA Grand Prix Finals after cancellation of the race in Bursa, Turkey.
The Smarna gora race once again shone in all its beauty.
Not only the weather conditions were perfect with sun shining and almost ideal temperatures but about 180 contesters from 12 countries created great atmosphere on the top of the mountain.
Athletes competed on 10 kilometers of technically demanding course which has been changed two years ago making it a bit longer and less dangerous.
In the men's division a group of athletes from Italy, Eritrea, Switzerland and Slovenia dictated the pace of the race but in the crucial fight in the last meters Alex Baldaccini (ITA) showed more strength and finished first only a tenths of a second before Teklay Azerya (ERI).
They both improved the record of the race for 30 seconds and record is now set on 41 minutes and 32 seconds.
2012gpsmarnafinalww.jpgIn women's competition Slovene champion Mateja Kosovelj (SLO) did not allow any surprises and lead from start to finish improving the record of the course for no more than 2 seconds. After failing to qualify in the Olympic marathon she was highly motivated to improve her position in WMRA Grand Prix placement and she succeeded with excellent performance on Smarna gora. The second to finish the race was Stevie Kramer (USA) before Valentina Manzi Belotti (ITA) who finished third.
The Smarna gora race was also the finale of the 2012 Grand Prix competition.
Both Teklay and Manzi Belotti had to do their best and finish in top positions if they wanted to keep winning position in Grand Prix and we had to admit that they showed great performance and didn't make any mistakes.
But the ranking on other positions is completely mixed after the final race.
In men's competition Teklay Azerya (ERI) won with 404 points, followed by Alex Baldaccini (ITA) with 327 points and Gabriele Abate (ITA) with 305 points. Last year's Smarna gora and Grand Prix winner Ahmet Arslan (TUR) ended fourth (233 points) and showed that we can count on him again next year, since he is now recovering after some health problems.
In women overall placement Valentina Belotti Manzi (ITA) won with 357 points. Iva Milesova (CZE) took second place with 283 points before Mateja Kosovelj (SLO) with 267 points.
See full results on http://www.timingljubljana.si/
Source by www.liverun.it
Video of the race http://youtu.be/6R-MoxOU9uM
Video of the prize ceremony: http://youtu.be/ngCrzEB1GIc

News by  Tomo Sarf (WMRA)

Photos (source by LOC)
on front page:
- sprint for the victory in the men race;
on second page:
- Mateja Kosovelj, winner women.