Eritrea’s Petro Mamu was one of the favourites ahead of the second race of the WMRA Mountain Running World Cup and he did not disappoint in the 34th edition of the La Montée du Grand Ballon race in France on Sunday (14).
When he crossed the finish line on the top of Vosges mountain, the stopwatch showed the incredible time of 57:36, an improvement of almost two minutes on Ahmet Arslan’s course record from 2012.
After 3km of the 13.4km course, with 1230m elevation gain that also included also 210m of descent, Mamu started to pull away from his closest opponents, which included his compatriots Azaria Teklay, Debessay Tsege, France’s Julien Rancon and Kenya’s Hirum Wandangi.
From that point, the 2012 world mountain running champion was never headed as Teklay come home a distant second in 1:00:29 and Tsege 17 seconds further back to complete an all-Eritrea podium; all the runners benefiting from dry and relatively cool conditions.
“The course was not very difficult. The biggest obstacle during today’s race was the wind, which was blowing extremely strong, especially in the upper part of the course, when the route emerges from the forest. For that reason, there was also a chill in the air from time to time,” commented Mamo.
In the women’s race, Italy’s Valentina Belotti made it a hat-trick of wins after her victories in 2012 and 2013.
Her winning time of 47:41 on the 8.4km course was almost two minutes slower than her record, but still enough for a clear victory.
Hungary’s Merenyi Timea, who had finished fifth in the opening World Cup race in Austria a week ago, three places behind Belotti, this time got closer to the Italian and finished second in 49:12.
“I was not in top shape for this event, because I am preparing for the European Championships (in the French town of Gap on 12 July). I liked the challenging course and the friendly organisers. The only part of the course I did not like were the two rocky sections in the last two kilometres,” said Belotti after her win.
The third leg of the six-race World Cup will be the 16th Gorski tek na Grintovec race in Kamnik, Slovenia, on 27 July.
WMRA for the IAAF