Rumble in the jungle

Tacen (Slovenia), Saturday 3 October 2009

30th Šmarna Gora Mountain Race 2009: Gilbert Mat and Andrea Mayr

Andrea Mayr (Austria) on the heels of Gilbert Matthew (Wales)


It's only a hill of 669 metres, a popular hiking destination for the city folk of Slovenia's capital Ljubljana, and many experienced mountain runners who are used to climbing more than 1000 metres in the Alps may believe the race to the summit of Šmarna gora is a piece of cake.

True, it features an elevation gain of just 710 metres over a distance of 9 kilometres, but it includes 350 metres of descent as well, and most competitors will agree that this downhill section in the middle of the race is the toughest part. Šmarna gora's narrow forest trails are filled with rocks and roots, and after a night of rain, like this time, they get slippery. The course is highly technical and the gradient changes constantly. Accordingly, runners change position again and again which makes the race exceptionally exciting.


Antonio Toninelli (Italy) in the lead of the Šmarna Gora Mountain Race 2009

Antonio Toninelli (Italy) in the lead with 500 metres to go to the finish line


For many years, the event has attracted the world's best mountain runners. In this year's jubilee 30th edition, competition was particularly fierce.

New Zealand's seven-times world champion Jonathan Wyatt was in the lead on Grmada, the first peak to climb, but then, on the long downhill section, last year's winner Mitja Kosovelj from Slovenia came from seventh place and surged past all his rivals. However, Italian Antonio Toninelli proved the strongest on the final ascent to Šmarna gora and won the race and a prize cheque of 1000 euros. Robert Krupicka (Czech Republic) got within striking distance but had to be content with second place. He was closely followed by five-times world champion Marco de Gasperi (Italy).

In the women's race Austria's Andrea Mayr, world champion 2008 and Vienna Marathon winner 2009, went off like a rocket and kept the lead to the finish but she missed her own course record by 17 seconds. The other podium positions were hotly contested. Anna Frost of New Zealand was on second place after the first climb, trailed by Mateja Kosovelj and Lucija Krkoč, both from Slovenia. On the downhill section Krkoč took second place but then lost it again to Frost on the way up to the finish.

Kaja Obidič, 18-year-old training partner of Krkoč and Kosovelj, completed a superb performance by the Slovene team by finishing on seventh place.


Kaja Obidič (Slovenia) in the Šmarna Gora Mountain Race 2009

Elegance on rough terrain — Kaja Obidič (Slovenia)


Results: 30. Tek na Šmarno goro 2009


  1.  Antonio Toninelli  1984  ITA  40:03
  2.  Robert Krupicka  1981  CZE  40:09
  3.  Marco de Gasperi  1977  ITA  40:16
  4.  Mitja Kosovelj  1984  SLO  40:24
  5.  Emanuele Manzi  1977  ITA  40:38
  6.  Jonathan Wyatt  1972  NZL  40:58
  7.  Andrzej Dlugosz  1978  POL  41:12
  8.  Uroš Vodopivec  1985  SLO  42:45
  9.  Markus Kröll  1972  AUT  42:52
 10.  Costa Eris  1982  ITA  42:54



  1.  Andrea Mayr  1979  AUT 45:41
  2.  Anna Frost  1981  NZL 47:19
  3.  Lucija Krkoč  1988  SLO 47:35
  4.  Mateja Kosovelj  1988  SLO 48:48
  5.  Maria Grazia Roberti  1967  ITA 49:46
  6.  Iva Milesova  1977  CZE 50:00
  7.  Kaja Obidič  1991  SLO 50:26
  8.  Ursella Laura  1969  ITA 52:55
  9.  Emma Clayton  1988  GBR 54:06
 10.  Nathalie White  1982  GBR 54:54


Full Results 2009: Timing Ljubljana

Race report and photos: 2010


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