The 17th WMRA/WMA Masters Mountain Running Championships will be held on September 2, in the Ilava district of Slovakia at the foot of the Biele Karpaty Mountains. Expected on the start line are more than 500 runners representing 22 countries.
WMRA president Jonathan Wyatt says,"The Masters Champs is something quite unique in our sport in that once per year each age category of runners competes for equal recognition. It's always a fantastic celebration of the healthy benefits of Mountain Running and I know that Slovakia will be a great host for the 2017 edition.”
The athletes, ages 35 to 79, will face a 9.6-kilometer course at the Championships, to include 606 meters of ascent and 106 meters of descent. The mostly uphill route will start in the center of Pruske village, elevation 245 meters. After a short section of road, the course will be primarily mountain path and up the slopes of Vrsatec Mountain to the finish line at 745 meters.
Competition gets underway on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. with the largest categories for men in the group 50, 55, and 60, and for women group 50 then 55 together with 60. There will be a pasta party and closing ceremony by the finish area after racing is concluded.
In advance of Saturday's competition, there will be an opening ceremony in Pruske on Friday evening starting with a parade of nations at 4:30 p.m. The local organizing committee consists of experienced organizers, most of whom are runners from Jogging Club Dubnica nad Vahom, including Jan Bakyta, Slovakia’s mountain running team leader for more than ten years. The event is held in cooperation with the Slovak Athletic Association.
The WMRA will be represented at the event by Andrzej Puchacz, Tomo Sarf, and Nancy Hobbs. Honorary president Bruno Gozzelino will be attending as a special guest of the LOC. Brian Keaveney will be on site to represent the WMA.
Unable to be on site at the championships, Wyatt offered a message to the athletes, “Having competed myself last year in Susa I can confirm that the spirit of competition and the spirit of friendliness in Mountain Running is alive and well! Good luck to all of the runners and enjoy the friendly atmosphere and beautiful nature that you will find in Slovakia.”