Reigning champion Michaela Dimitriadu and Germany’s Florian Reus headline this weekend’s IAU 24 Hour World and European Championships in Steenbergen on May 11.
Organised by the International Association of Ultrarunners, it will be the 10th edition of the World Championships and the 19th edition of the European Championships, and this year’s event has attracted some of the world’s best runners for the day-night competition.
Reus, last year’s World silver medallist and European champion, is the top 2012 podium finisher in the men’s field. Current World champion Mike Morton of the USA will be absent from Steenbergen as he is nursing an injury.
Reus, with a 2012 performance of 261.718km, will face tough competition from Italy’s Ivan Cudin and France’s Ludovic Dilmi with recent top performances of 263.814km and 257.819km respectively.
Other notable names in the field are Ioannis Kouros of Greece, Emmanuel Fontaine of France, and Japanese duo Masahiko Honda and Shuhei Odani.
In the team competition, Germany will do its best to defend their World title. France, Japan and the United States will be sending strong teams to Steenbergen, while Norway and Great Britain will also be vying for the podium.
In the women’s race, Dimitriadu of the Czech Republic will be looking to defend her title after finishing in the gold medal spot in 2012 with a distance of 244.232km. The other 2012 podium finishers, Connie Gardner of the USA and Emily Gelder of Great Britain, will be in Steenbergen hopeful of winning another medal after recording recent performances of 240.275km and 238.875km respectively.
Current World best-holders and IAU Athletes of the Year Mami Kudo of Japan and Lizzy Hawker of Great Britain will also be in the field, competing in the same 24 Hour event together for the first time. Also in the field are Mikie Sakane of Japan, Cecile Nissen of France and Szilvia Lubics of Hungary.
In the women’s team competition, the USA will be looking to defend their title, while Japan, Great Britain and France will have strong teams in contention of a top-three finish. Sweden, Russia and Finland are always part of the overall mix with strong runners.
The beautiful municipality of Steenbergen in southern Netherlands is one of the most picturesque regions in the country and the race runs through a fairly flat 2.34km course.
Nadeem Khan (organisers) for the IAAF