WMRA Congress 2022
The 39th annual WMRA Congress took place in Chiang Mai last week, prior to the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships.
At present the WMRA has 37 Member Federations, 32 of which were in attendance at the World Championships in Thailand. Of those, 23 participated in the congress, as well as 2 observers from non-member federations, Indonesia and Mauritius.
WMRA President Tomo Šarf gave an overview of the Council's work in the 9 months since the last Congress, held virtually in February this year. Following some difficult years, in 2022 there was a full calendar of events, including the International Under 18 Cup, World Masters Championships and a World Cup season comprising 17 races across 14 venues. The new partnership with the World Cup's title sponsor, Valsir, has allowed an increase in prize money and travel support for athletes, as well as increased media support.
Alessio Punzi, representing World Athletics, gave a report on the collaboration between WMRA, IAU and ITRA in delivering the new combined World Mountain and Trail Running Championship.
Passion, energy, and drive of the council and delegates to the LOC of the combined World Championships is much appreciated. The steering committee - IAU, ITRA, WMRA under the support of WA, has worked well together. The hosting fee from the WC will be used to support the range of activities from the various organizations - ITRA, WMRA, and IAU. Mountain running is not yet an official WC for the WA, but there is much value in the program for commercial reason, benefits of promotion. The management of the discipline lies with the three partners presently. The anticipated success of 2022 WC and 2023 WC will lend to further discussion in the future with WA and the relationship moving forward. Trail running and mountain running combined provide elevation for off-road disciplines.
A proposal to approve Wolfgang Münzel as an Honorary Council Member received unanimous support. Wolfgang served on the council for 25 years, from 1997 to early this year, and continues to work with the WMRA, being the Technical Delegate to the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Clonmel, Ireland earlier this year.
This year brought 2 tragic events, with the deaths of 2 ex-Council members. Adrian Woods from Great Britain, who served for many years as a Council member and even as Secretary, and Andy Puchacz from Poland, who also served on the Council for several years. However we are happy that Pierre Weiss, our long-time supporter and secretary, is getting better after having serious medical problems.
Looking forward, there was a review of the upcoming racing season, including;
- 2nd W.M.T.R.C. in Tyrol, Austria from 6th-10th June
- 22nd World Masters Championship, which takes on a new 2-race format, in Madeira on 16th and 17th September
- 16th International U18 Mountain Running Cup in Annecy, France from May 27th-28th
- 2023 World Cup, which shall continue to grow and evolve under the direction of the recently appointed World Cup Manager, Jonathan Wyatt.
Photo by Sergio Mayayo.