Saturday, April 6, 2013

World Masters Mountain Running Championships set for Czech Republic

Janské Lázné, Czech Republic, will host the 13th WMRA/WMA Masters World Mountain Running Championships on August 31.

The event is organized annually by a host club who submits a bid which must be supported by the respective IAAF-member nation and is sanctioned jointly by the World Masters Athletics (WMA), and the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA).

2012 World Masters Championships - Photo by Nancy Hobbs

This event provides an opportunity for athletes ages 35 to 79 to compete in their age group for podium honors. The top three men and women in each 5-year age category receive medals – gold, silver, bronze – and there is team competition as well which consists of the first three to finish for each country per age categories up to 60-64.

However, the competition provides much more than medals and victory celebrations. Anyone who meets the age standards can compete. There is no qualifying race. Athletes of all abilities participate and for many, it is an annual event on their training and racing calendar. In addition to the competition, there is a festive opening ceremony the night before complete with a parade of nations and a cultural celebration and a closing ceremony to highlight the day of racing and to pass the flag to the next host country of the event.

The courses are typically of the uphill variety and are run almost entirely on trail or unpaved surfaces. In this year’s event, the course will be approximately 8.6 kilometers and include 650 meters of elevation gain from start to finish.

Photo by Nancy Hobbs

Poland was the first host of this competition which has grown over the years from several hundred athletes participating in that first event in 2000, to more than 1000 in 2012 when Germany served as the host country. Austria, like Germany, Poland, Italy, and the Czech Republic, has hosted the event twice; Great Britain, Switzerland, and Croatia have each held the event one time.

The event is always held in a village situated in a mountainous or very hilly region. This is true for 2013 as well. Janské Lázně is located at the foot of Černá hora (Black Mountain) to the east of Krkonoše (Giant Mountains) and is just 170 kilometers from the Václav Havel Airport in Prague. The area is known for its recreational opportunities as well as its curative abilities through its many thermal springs which number in the thirties.

Make your travel plans today for this exciting and challenging event. Entries will be accepted for this year’s event online through July 30, 2013.

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Article by Nancy Hobbs - Executive Director, American Trail Running Association