EXCELLENT IN ALL RESPECTS
June 2nd was a picture-perfect day for nearly 400 Masters competitors at the 18th WMRA/WMA World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Zelezniki, Slovenia in the picturesque Julian Alps and close to the popular tourist spot of Lake Bled. After several days of afternoon or evening rain storms, the weather held from the first race start at 10:00 a.m. to the awards ceremony later in the day. The clouds threatening at the summit of Ratitovec at 1678 meters, which served as the finish line.
The Opening Ceremony, awards and closing went off without a problem. Local ethnic dancing, a band, flags for all countries present, local foods and handmade lace, along with food and beverage made the closing ceremony very enjoyable and comfortable.
Brane Čenčič and family led the Local Organizing Committee and volunteers. The Slovenian Arm provided the first aid. Athletes coming from the Ljubljana Airport were greeted by volunteers and brought to the event village.
Athletes from 25 countries tackled two challenging courses, the long route of 10.8 kilometers with 1184 meters of height difference for men up to 54, and the shorter route of 7.2 kilometers with 869 meters of height difference for the men ages 55-79, and all women (ages 35-79). The terrain included a short stretch on pavement at the start of each race, and then a combination of wide forested path, single track trail, rocky steps, a section to the finish line in a meadow filled with wildflowers and an amazing view.
The fastest time of the day on the long course was posted by 50-year-old Miran CVET (SLO) who raced 1:02:22. The short course top times were from 36-year-old Monica KOLLIGAR (SLO) in 52:04, and Franco TORRESANI (ITA) timed in 47:31.
Of the 109 medals awarded, Italy took the most with 33, 19 by individuals and 14 for team competition. Germany was second in the medal count with 15, nine individual and six team. Host nation Slovenia and came away with 11, four individual and seven team. Of the 25 countries represented, 15 earned at least one medal.
Representing the WMRA were president Jonathan WYATT (NZL), secretary Tomo SARF (SLO), treasurer Nancy HOBBS (USA), and at-large member Wolfgang MUNZEL (GER) who also served as the technical delegate to the race. Said Munzel of the event, “Perfect organization, high motivation by all. The volunteers never looked stressed. It was a fantastic course. It was the first time at a masters championships that I heard no negative comments. It was a true mountain course.”
The WMA was represented by Brian KEAVENEY (CAN), vice president competition, who said, “It was extremely well organized. The volunteers knew what they were doing. They were friendly and helpful. Coming to the masters mountain running championships is the highlight of my year. I like the raw ability of the athletes. That’s what makes it exciting to me.”
Nine members of the local organizing committee for the 2019 event which will be held in Gagliano del Capo, Italy, September 27-29. Luca SCARCIA and Eleanora d’AMORE from the LOC received the flag at the closing awards ceremony from Jonathan WYATT. A record number of competitors are expected at the event which features a beautiful seaside location on a unique and special course. The organizers are well experienced having hosted the Youth Championships (U 18) in 2017, and each year, the Italian Masters Mountain Running Championships starting in 2003. The 2015 masters championships boasted over 750 competitors. Details will soon be available on a website dedicated to the event.
Complete results from today’s event are available at: http://remote.timingljubljana.si/timing/rezultati.aspx?IDtekme=3443&tip=E
The results can be found on the: Non-Stadia Results Page
Photos from today’s race: https://prijavim.se/gallery/album/51/sp_ratitovec_2018_wmra/1/
By: Nancy Hobbs/Brian Keaveney & Photos by: Brian Keaveney