The 15th WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Championships will be contested this Sunday, 24 June, in Karpacz, Poland. With a population of 5,000, this small town features stunning vistas of the surrounding Giant Mountains (Karkonosze) and a unique landscape which attracts more than one million annual visitors. Its highest summit Sniezka, will be center stage on the challenging mountain course as competitors vie for the title of World Champion.
Sniezka (pronounced Shny-ezh-ka) stands 1603 meters high and its altitude, when multiplied by three, equals that of Mont Blanc. Thus, 3 times up Sniezka = 1 Mont Blanc, which is in the name of the traditional running event hosting the championships. The Championships course is a distance of 36.2 kilometers with + 2110 m ascent and -2100 meters of descent. There are two loops to Sniezka's summit, the highest point on the route. In addition, there are two other event distances offered, one with three summits of Sniezka, the final with one summit.
All teams competing in the championships will stay at the Hotel Golebiewski, the biggest hotel in Poland. Competition in the championships' race begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, with the traditonal races starting 20 minutes later. The field for the championships includes 76 men and 58 women representing 20 countries. More than 900 runners participate in the traditional races, a number that could be much larger, but the Karkonosze National Park keeps rigorous participation limits.
Last yearâ€™s champion, Italian Francesco Puppi, will not defend his world title, but he will enter the highest stage of the podium â€¦ before the race. The Championships 2017 awards ceremony in the menâ€™s category will be held during this yearâ€™s Opening Ceremony, arranged after disqualification of the 2017 winner due to a doping violation. This special ceremony will provide an opportunity to recognize the rightful medal winners on a public stage.
Although Puppi will be absent from the start line, the second through fifth place finishers in 2017 will race. Italian Silvia Rampazzo, womenâ€™s world champion from last year, hopes to defend her title, but will face strong competition as seven of the top ten women from last year are slated to race. Donâ€™t count Poland out. The host country also has favorites and dozens of mountain running fans await good performance of the national teams with course record holders Bartlomiej Przedwojewski â€“ 2:50:50 and Dominika Stelmach - 3:23:30 competing.
Before coming to Karpacz, view the video links, and get a taste of the atmosphere that awaits!