Italy nearly sweeps gold at Long Distance Mountain Running Championships
Of the four gold medals awarded at todayâ€™s 14th World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in Premana, Italy, the host country earned three along with one silver medal. The lone gold medal not awarded to Italy was earned by Giir di Mont course record holder Petro Mamu (ERI), who repeated his winning ways on the legendary 32-kilometer course finishing in a time of 3:12:52.
Second in the menâ€™s field was Italyâ€™s Francesco Puppi, followed by Pascal Egli (SUI).
With Puppiâ€™s silver medal performance, and two more of his teammates finishing in the top ten, Italy was assured the senior menâ€™s gold medal with a score of 14. USA followed for silver achieving a score of 39, led by Tayte Pollman in fourth, who at 21 was one of the younger athletes in the field. In bronze medal position was Czech Republic with 53 points just three points ahead of Romania.
This was the first year team place was used for scoring as opposed to cumulative finish time.
On the womenâ€™s side, it was a close competition between course record holder Kasie Enman (USA), who led through much of the race, and Italyâ€™s Silvia Rampazzo. At the finish line, it was Rampazzo, who passed Enman after the 20-kilometer mark to take the lead and then broke the tape with a time of 3:56:45, less than one minute ahead of Enman. In third, Denisa Dragomir (ROM), posted a time of 3:59:34 to take the bronze.
With Italians Antonella Confortola and Stephanie Christel Jimenez finishing in 10th and 11th position respectively, Italy scored an impressive 22 points for gold. USA again saw silver on the podium with a score of 28, followed by Romania with 39 points.
In the few days leading up to the competition, the weather was incredibly hot for Premana, however, the preliminary weather forecast for Sunday indicated a storm was in the offing, thereby forcing organizers to create a plan B with a shortened course on race day if need be. The skies held for the 8:00 a.m. start, but the rains came less than 30 minutes into the race. Fortunately, the distant thunder and lightning never became a threat and the rains were intermittent, though sometimes heavy throughout the race.
The rain did not dampen the athleteâ€™s spirits, or those of the spectators who could be found lining the course, not only at the finish line, but throughout the entire route.
At the awards ceremony, the top 10 men and women from the open race (which started five minutes after the World Championships division and included nearly 400 runners), received their prizes prior to the awarding of the World Championship medals and trophies. Following the prize giving, the WMRA flag was presented to next yearâ€™s host country, Poland, by WMRA president Jonathan Wyatt.
Complete results from the championships be found here.