The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
Two wonderful days of sunshine welcomed the runners to the 20th Jungfrau Marathon in Interlaken which was the host event for the 9th WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge (8 / 9 Sep).
In total 6317 runners finished races - 4868 men and 1449 women - while more than two hundred did not complete the challenge. Overall a record number of participants!
On Saturday 8 September, with a come-from-behind victory, American Stevie Kremer beat the field of the runners to win the women’s gold in a time of 3:22:42.
"The race was nothing short of spectacular," said the 28-year-old Kremer, "From the organisation to the support, to the course and the views, this was an amazing race. I am thrilled to have been a part of it and so proud and excited for TEAM USA!"
Kremer was referring to USA’s team victory in the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge division of the race. Their team of five, with three to score was selected in mid-June before Kremer indicated her interest in racing Jungfrau, so she was not a scoring member for the team.
The silver medallist was Austrian Sabine Reiner (3:24:10), and leading Team USA – an all-Colorado squad – to the gold medal was third-place finisher Kim Dobson who posted a time of 3:26.58. Her other compatriots were as follows: Melody Fairchild (9th), Brandy Erholtz, (16th) place), Ashley Arnold (32nd ), and Gina Lucrezi (35th).
In fourth position finished France’s Aline Camboulives. Also in the first ten positions notably were Angela Mudge (7th, Scotland) the many times medallist at World Mountain Running Championships, and Hakenstad Evertsen Anita (8th, Norway) the 2011 European Mountain Running champion.
The scoring for the World Long Distance Challenge is calculated based on combined times of the top three scoring runners. Team USA won with 11:00:50, by nearly ten minutes over home country Switzerland (11:09:53). Austria finished in third position with 11:35:39.
Eleven national teams were in the results: in the order from the fourth position to the eleventh: Germany (4th - 11:39:13), Russia (5th - 11:48:57), Scotland (6th - 11:55:54), England (7th - 11:58:54), Australia (8th -12:32:10), Slovenia (9th - 12:42:05), Wales (10th -12:57:22) and Czech Republic (11th - 13:02:23).
How the race unfolded was described by Bryant, team leader coach of USA team: "With the easy first 15K at Jungfrau, the race started fast. None of the American women, including Stevie, were with the front pack. At 15K, Stevie was in the second or third pack of women and Kim was a little farther back with about 1-2 minutes on the rest Melody, Brandy, Ashley, and Gina running as a group. They all ran so smart beginning to move up as the climbing began, then continuing to move forward as the sustain climbs of the second half of race wore on. The race gains more than 2200 metres over the 42 kilometre course. We were able to see the women several times as we progressed from train stop to train stop, plus passing them and cheering from the train".
On Sunday 9 September, the men’s race was held in similar sunny weather conditions. Austrian Markus Hohenwarter was in top position throughout the race, challenged initially by Kenyan Hosea Tuei who eventually finished third (3:01:24).
Hohenwarter won the gold medal with 2:59:42. In silver came defending champion Slovenian Mitja Kosovelj who ran a strong second half overtaking many runners and finishing in 3:00:47.
For the Long Distance Challenge, in the team result, there was a triumph for the Swiss team with a total time of 9:32:11 (Wieser Patrick 4th – 3:03:11, Lauenstein Marc 14th – 3:12:45, Mathys Christian 21st – 3:16:14, Birchmeier Ralf 25th – 3:16:30 and Wenk Stephan 38th – 3:28:34.6). Silver went to USA with a time of 9:38:20 and in bronze medal position was Germany with time of 9:42:22.
Thirteen national teams were in the results: in the order from the fourth position to the thirteenth: Scotland (4th – 9:44.50), Wales (5th – 9:53.12), Slovenia (6th – 9:53.14, 5), Austria (7th – 9:59:43), England (8th – 10:15:18), Czech Republic (9th – 10:46:49), Mexico (10th - 11:05:19), Northern Ireland (11th - 11:24.41), Russia (12th - 11:38.02) and Ukraine (13th - 14:56.55).
The championships were attended by Swiss Athletic President Hansruedi Muller, and for WMRA their President Bruno Gozzelino, and two Council members, Wolfgang Munzel and Tomo Sarf.
The next edition of the WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge will be held in Poland, at Szklarska Poreba on 3 August 2013.
Watch for full individual and team results at www.datasport.com.