At today’s 17th WMRA/WMA Masters Mountain Running Championships in Pruske, Slovak Republic, 12 different national anthems were played during the awards ceremony. The most played was that of Italy totaling 10 times, followed by Great Britain, Slovakia, and Germany four times each.
Leading the medal count on the men’s individual side was Italy with six followed by Great Britain/Northern Ireland with four. Men’s team competition saw the host country garnering the most medals with seven followed by GBR/NIR with 5.
For the women, it was Italy again leading the medal count in the women’s individual category with 8, followed by GBR/NIR, Germany, Czech Republic, and Slovak Republic with 3 each. The women’s teams were led on the podium by Czech Republic with 8, followed by the host country with 5.
As expected, the category of 35 posted the fastest time over the 9.6-kilometer course with the women led by Silvia Schwaiger (SVK) in 44:10 and the men led by Zachary Freudenburg (NED) in 38:42.
Races began at 11:00 in the morning with the start line adjacent to the town’s church steeple on a large brick pathway. The next section of approximately 1 kilometer was on pavement through the village. The course then turned up a gravel pathway with the first steady climb.
Over the 600 meters of climbing, the terrain included forested path, meadows – complete with stunning views of the valley below – and single track trail. The weatherconditions, along with the terrain, made for a relatively fast course for the competitors. In the days leading up to the competition, temperatures were in the 80s (F) and, after a rainy Friday evening, cooler temperatures prevailed and runners enjoyed a cool and overcast morning with temperatures in the 60s.
Following the awards ceremony, the flag of the WMRA was passed from Jan Bakyta, Slovakia’s mountain running team leader for more than ten years and the director of the Local Organizing Committee, to representatives of the next World Masters Mountain Running Championships which will be held in June 2018 in Železniki/Slovenia. On behalf of the LOC, Mr. Mohoric promised a tough, challenging course and traditional Slovenian hospitality.
Among the delegations was an enthusiastic team of athletes and volunteers from the 2019 host of the masters championships which will be held in Gagliano del Capo, Italy, in September.
Brochures from both the 2018 and 2019 event were eagerly accepted by the more than 500 runners in Slovakia proving that masters mountain running is a growing division within our sport.
Complete results from today’s competition can be found HERE.