Sierre / CransMontana (Valais), SwitzerlandThe Swiss Athletic Federation staged a record breaking Trophy event on Sunday 14 September with more athletes and countries (38) than ever before. Sierre was dry but overcast. Crans-Montana, 1000m higher, was shrouded in thick mist and drizzle. This did not detract from some fine performances.
Jonathan Wyatt once again proved himself the supreme mountain runner as he recorded his sixth World title, winning in a time of 55:03 for the 12km, 1046m climb course. In the fast early stages the Ugandans and Turkish runners set the pace while Wyatt hung on in about 8th position and as the course steepened he started to gain positions.
With 2km to go Martin Toroitich (UGA) had a 50m lead. The course became steeper and with 500m to go, and Wyatt to caught both Totoitich and European champion Ahmet Arslan. The last stage became a sprint with the New Zealander hanging on to win by just 12 seconds.
It was noteworthy that the podium was occupied from athletes from three Areas - Oceania, Africa and Europe. As expected the Italian men recorded yet another team victory, with host country Switzerland second and USA third.
The women’s race proved a great consolation prize for Andrea Mayr (AUT) who had just missed out on Olympic selection for the 3000m Steeplechase for Austria. She destroyed a talented field in winning with a 59 second margin over Renate Rungger (ITA). There was a desperate sprint for the bronze medal with Elisa Desco(ITA)l, edging out Olympian Kirsten Otterbu (NOR) by 0.2 seconds. Otterbu still received a gold medal as she led the Norwegian team to victory over Switzerland by just one point.
Norway confirmed their rise in the mountain running firmament as their junior men, placed second in the team contest led home by gold medallist Sindre Buraas. The strong Turkish junior team, European champions, took the gold medal position again.
England enjoyed welcome success in the junior women’s race as young Laura Park had a convincing win over Turkey’s Esra Gullu. With Heather Timmins in 7th position England also took the team gold.
This was the last occasion on which we will see England in the competition since IAAF have granted the 25th event in 2009 the official title of World Mountain Running Championships. As a result the four UK teams with be replaced by a Great Britain and Northern Ireland team. The change was approved by the WMRA congress by 32 votes in favour, two abstentions and non against.
Danny Hughes for the IAAF
1 J.Wyatt (NZL) 55:03
2 M Toroitich (UGA) 55:16
3 A.Arslan (TUR) 55:26
4. B. Dematteis (ITA) 55:48
5. R. Fontaine (FRA) 55:52
6. J. J. Vargas (COL) 56:30
Team: 1. Italy 43, 2. Switzerland 59. 3. USA 76
1. S. Buraas (NOR) 42:12
2. R. Sterni (ITA) 42:25
3. M. Savaser (TUR) 42:43
Team: 1. Turkey 13, 2. Norway 20, 3. Italy 35
1. A. Mayr (AUT) 43:57
2. R. Rungger (ITA) 44:57
3. E. Desco (ITA) 45:29
4. K. Otterbu (NOR) 45:29.02
5. M. Strahl (SUI) 45:43
6. A. Haakenstad Everten (NOR) 46:02
Team: 1. Norway 24, 2. Switzerland 25, 3. Italy 33.
1. L. Park (ENG) 22:34
2. E. Gullu (TUR) 23:07
3. A. Dunne(USA) 23:33
Team: 1. England 8, 2. Turkey 11, 3. Switzerland 22.