Written by Nancy Hobbs, Treasurer, World Mountain Running Association. Photos by Richard Bolt, USA Team Leader.
Team USA secured two team silver medals and an individual silver at this year’s 14th World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in Premana, Italy.
USA’s Kasie Enman, course record holder on the host course, the legendary 32-kilometer Giir di Mont, led for much of the race and although she settled for second place today, her performance led the way to silver for Team USA.
Enman and fellow teammate Addie Bracy ran together in first and second place through the initial stages of this grueling and technical mountain course, which included nearly 9000 feet of climbing and descending. Enman pulled away and was chased and eventually passed by race winner Silvia Rampazzo, Italy. Bracy ended up in sixth place with countrywoman Kristi Spravzoff finishing in 20th place for a team result of 28 points. Turning in solid performances, Dani Moreno and Anita Ortiz finished in 21st and 26th position respectively. Italy was atop the podium with 22 points followed by Romania with 39 points, led by third-place finisher Denisa Dragomir.
The top three women all went under four hours on the course with Rampazzo besting the field in 3:56:45.
For the men, junior mountain team member from 2015 Tayte Pollman, caught 5 men in the final 12 kilometers to finish in fourth place to lead the men’s squad to a silver team medal. Mario Mendoza was patient in his strategy after sustaining a fall early on, to move from 24th position to 12th at the finish. Rounding out the top three US team members for scoring was 23rd place Cole Watson. Admittedly Andy Wacker and Matt Daniels didn’t have their best races today and finished in 38th and 69th place respectively.
Italy won gold with three in the top ten for a score of 14 and Czech Republic finished with a bronze amassing 53 points.
Giir di Mont course record holder Petro Mamu (ERI), repeated his winning ways finishing in a time of 3:12:52. Italian Francesco Puppi finished in second position followed by Pascal Egli, Switzerland.
In the few days leading up to the competition, the weather was incredibly hot for Premana, however, the preliminary weather forecast for Sunday indicated a storm was in the offing, thereby forcing organizers to create a plan B with a shortened course on race day if need be. The skies held for the 8:00 a.m. start, but the rains came less than 30 minutes into the race. Fortunately, the distant thunder and lightning never became a threat and the rains were intermittent, though sometimes heavy throughout the race.
The rain did not dampen the athlete’s spirits, or those of the spectators who could be found lining the course, not only at the finish line, but throughout the entire route.
At the awards ceremony, the top 10 men and women from the open race (which started five minutes after the World Championships division and included nearly 400 runners), received their prizes prior to the awarding of the World Championship medals and trophies.
Following the prize giving, the WMRA flag was presented to next year’s host country, Poland, by newly minted WMRA president Jonathan Wyatt who hails from New Zealand.
Complete results from the championships be found at: http://www.tds-live.com/ns/index.jsp?login=&password=&is_domenica=0&nextRaceId=&dpbib=&dpcat=&dpsex=&serviziol=&pageType=1&id=9079&servizio=000&locale=1040