The Smarna Gora Mountain Race in Slovenia features the best mountain runners in the world. An England representative team competed in the 9k long IAAF permit race on Saturday 12 October to gain experience competing against a quality international field. Their excellent performances will act as a springboard for participation in other international mountain races in Europe next summer.
Jemima Elgood (Ilkley/Leeds Uni), Hannah Russell (Helm Hill), and Helen Thornhill (Ribble Valley/Leeds Uni) took 6th, 8th and 10th place respectively in the Women's competition - with Max Wainwright (Dark Peak), Chris Richards (Salford) and Will Marshall (Kings College) taking 14th,16th and 23rd respectively in the Men's
This, the 40th edition, of the Smarna Gora Race, was fiercely contested with eventual male winner Petro Mamu (Eritrea) narrowly missing out on the Course record. Richards started well in the top 10 but faded in the later stages with Wainwright coming through strong in the final stages to take 14th. Lucy Wambui (Kenya) was the clear winner in the Women's race; Elgood of Ilkley Harriers was applying pressure early in the race and finished strongly in 6th with Russell and Thornhill both representing England very well to make the top 10.
The team members have gained valuable exposure to race organizers and meeting with seasoned international athletes has given them a greater understanding of the mountain running opportunities available to them. They have gained insight in how to make use of these opportunities to aid their development as mountain runners and make a lasting successful transition from junior to senior competition.
Pictured Jemima and Max