Just 14 days before the 30th World Mountain Running Championships in Casette di Massa, Italy, Austria’s Andrea Mayr and Eritrea’s Pedro Mamu showed off their current form by winning at the fourth of the 2014 WMRA World Cup races in Leogang, Austria, on Sunday (31).
The conditions were far from ideal on the 8km course. Rain on Saturday had made the course extremely muddy and slippery, especially in the middle part, and there was also cold, foggy weather, but there was an outstanding depth of performances with course records set in both the men’s and women’s races.
Running on home soil, multiple world and European champion Andrea Mayr was clear almost from the gun.
Mayr crossed the line in 51:56 to take almost five minutes off her course record. In fact, the first three home were inside the old mark.
Slovenia’s Mateja Kosovelj was Mayr’s closest rival but still exactly two-and-a-half minutes behind, repeating the positions from the European Championships last month.
Kenya’s Lucy Murigi, an excellent road runner who won the famous Stramilano half marathon in March, showed her inexperience at this discipline but still finished a promising third, 18 seconds behind Kosovelj. She started well but struggled on the steep slopes.
Hungary’s 43-year-old Timea Merenyi finished sixth but her consistency over the first four races, with Leogang her worst placing so far, means that she is still leading the World Cup.
Nine women finished under an hour, compared to just two in 2013.
In men’s race, no fewer than 27 runners finished the race below 55 minutes whereas in 2013 there were just 16 who reached that benchmark.
In the men’s race, Mamu and the Kenyan pair of Issac Kosgei and Francis Wangari took an immediate lead and after one kilometre they had a good advantage, with New Zealand’s Jonathan Wyatt and Switzerland’s David Schneider some way in arrears.
Wyatt and Schneider showed their experience when they passed the Kenyans on the slopes above the tree line.
However, 2012 world champion Mamu was too strong and crossed the finish line in 45:06, almost two minutes in front of the six-time world champion Wyatt, who was second in 47:02 with Schneider another 15 seconds further back.
Mamu’s win in Austria also takes him into the lead in the World Cup with two races to go.
WMRA for the IAAF