World Mountain Running Championships
Sunday 10 September
Australia’s teams at the World Mountain Running Championships in Turkey on Sunday have finished 10th in the senior women, 11th in the senior men and 10th in the junior men. There were representatives from 36 countries contesting the championships.
National cross country champion Anna Thompson was the best performed individual, finishing 15th in the senior women’s 8.5km race in 51.08. World long distance champion Emma Murray did not recover from an exhausting 37 hours of travel to reach the race hotel late on Thursday and ran a solid 54.52 for 43rd. Jessamy Hosking and Cindy King finished 53rd and 55th in 56.32 and 56.53 respectively in the field of 87 in their debut representative runs. The race was won by Andrea Mayr of Austria in 47.11 from Martina Strachl of Switzerland in 47.29 and 44 year old former 4-time champion Isabella Guillot of France in 47.43.
Hot conditions with the midday start made it a hard day at the office for the men according to Australian team manager Barry Keem and there were many upsets. Five-time world champion Jonathon Wyatt of New Zealand, bitten by wild dogs on a training run two days earlier, was beaten by 6 seconds in a sprint to the finish by Columbia’s Rolando Ortiz who clocked 56.16. Tesfay Telfele of Eritrea was 3rd in 56.39. Australia’s big hope Ben Du Bois who had been in outstanding form in the lead up races did not handle the heat well and finished 29th in 61.22. Scott McTaggart was 39th in 62.16, Barry Keem 70th in 65.23, Stephen Brown 85th in 66.41 and Stuart Doyle 101st in 68.51 in the field of 148.
In the junior men’s 8.5kms Australian champion Ryan Gregson fell after only 10 metres and was trampled by some other competitors, suffering major abrasions. However, he got up and moved through the field to finish 24th, but fell again a few more times and was very disappointed not to finish higher up. David Mainwaring was 30th and Dominic Perry 53rd. Gregson commented afterwards, "I was very disappointed with the start as this set me back both in position and in being able to set a good steady rhythm with the lead pack. But given this set back, the event was an awesome experience for me and one I can learn heaps from.This has definitely been the hardest event I have ever competed in, in athletics. I have lost heaps of skin from most areas of my body but hopefully nothing seems too serious. Apart from that there have been no other injuries to me or any other member of the team. The team atmosphere has been great".
The next World Mountain Running Championships will be held in Switzerland in 2007 and 2008 and conditions are likely to be more favourable to Australian competitors.