02 OCT 2010 General News Ljubljana, Slovenia

Arslan and Mayr cruise to victory on Smarna Gora, take overall WMRA Grand Prix titles

Andrea Mayr en route to another victory on Smarna Gora (Ales Fevzer)Andrea Mayr en route to another victory on Smarna Gora (Ales Fevzer) © Copyright

Ahmet Arslan from Turkey and Austrian Andrea Mayr cruised to victory at the 2010 WMRA Grand Prix finale on Smarna Gora on Saturday (2), sealing the overall Grand Prix titles as well.

Runners from 10 countries gathered at the start line of the 31st Smarna Gora race, located just to the north of Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital. With reasonably cool and dry conditions, the weather conditions promised excellent conditions for the runners. The organizer decided to make some minor changes to the course this year, making the initial flat portion a bit longer, lessening the incline at the start of the ascent, and replacing a dangerously steep downhill section with a shorter undulating route. The new course was extended by one kilometre to ten, but the elevation remained at an ascent of 730 metres and the descent 300.

Ahmet Arslan from Turkey, the best non-African finisher at the World Championships that were held four weeks ago in Kamnik, just 20km away from the Smarna Gora, competed at this race for the first time and started with respect to the six-times World champion Jonathan Wyatt, who had already run the demanding and technical course several times. Wyatt knew that the first uphill was his chance and he passed the first summit with a small advantage. He was the first runner to pass the control point just before the end of the descent, but at the very last descent was overtaken by Arslan and Czech Robert Krupicka, the winner here two years ago. Ahmet went on to take the victory with an excellent new course record of 42:28, ten seconds ahead of Wyatt. Runners from seven countries took the first seven positions.

Andrea Mayr from Austria showed her superiority a month ago when taking the World title in Kamnik and she did not allow any doubts about that third World triumph. Leading from the start, the crossed the line in 48:48, nearly two-and-a-half minutes clear of runner-up Antonella Confortola-Wyatt from Italy. Local Mateja Kosovelj from Slovenia finished third.

The Smarna gora race was also the finale of the 2010 WMRA Grand Prix competition. The winners were already decided before the race with Arslan and Mayr having collected enough points for the victory with their excellent races at the World Championships. So the final race was deciding about the other positions. Wyatt and David Schneider from Switzerland took second and third on the men’s side, with Briton Jeska Lauren and Anna Frost of New Zealand taking positions two and three in the women’s overall tallies.

Tomo Sarf for the IAAF

Leading Results:
MEN -
 1. Arslan AHMET, TUR      42:28
 2. Jonathan WYATT, NZL    42:38
 3. Robert KRUPICKA, CZE   42:45
 4. David SCHNEIDER, SUI   44:07
 5. Mitja KOSOVELJ, SLO    44:29
 6. Eris COSTA, ITA        44:58
 7. Orlando EDWARDS, GBR   45:04

WOMEN -
 1. Andrea MAYR, AUT           48:48
 2. Antonella CONFORTOLA, ITA  51:09
 3. Mateja KOSOVELJ, SLO       51:26
 4. Kaja OBIDIC, SLO           52:44
 5. Lauren JESKA, GBR          54:23
 6. Anna FROST, NZL            55:13
 7. Emma CLAYTON, GBR          56:55

WMRA Grand Prix Results (Final):

MEN -
1. Arslan AHMET, TUR      386
2. Jonathan WYATT, NZL    247
3. David SCHNEIDER, SUI   224
4. Roman Skalsky, CZE     188
5. Robert KRUPICKA, CZE   181

WOMEN -
1. Andrea MAYR, AUT           340
2. Lauren JESKA, GBR          223
3. Anna FROST, NZL            176
4. Antonella CONFORTOLA, ITA  174
5. Mateja KOSOVELJ, SLO       16