Irish Mountain
Running Association

WMRA Youths Challenge


Gerry Brady

Gerry Brady


The 6th International Youth Mountain Running Challenge was held in Gorenja Vas in Slovenia. A record 13 countries competed on a very runnable mainly grass course which the athletes enjoyed. On paper the girls race was going to be the more keenly contested with Ffion Price (WAL) the 2010 winner and silver medallist Ekaterina Ivonina (RUS) in the field as well as local favourite Lea Einfalt (SVN) who finished 6th in the 2010 World championships.

Price of Wales opened an early lead of around 40 metres early in the first climb followed by Remuye Temel (TUR), Megan Withers (WAL) and Katja Stanonik (SVN). Halfway through the descent on the first lap Price was still clear with Stanonik and Temel chasing. On the flat run in to the finish of the first lap, Stanonik moved quickly through to join Price, and Einfalt moved up into 3rd with Temel. Jana Hinterholzingerova (CZE) was 5th followed by Halina Rees (SCO) and Clare McCarthy (IRL) in 7th. Eadoin O Reilly (IRL) and Sorcha Humphries (IRL) were running in the top twelve at this stage and the team was in contention for medals. Going up the hill for the second time Einfalt was clear of compatriot Stanonik who in turn had a gap on the two Russians Ekaterina Ivonina and Anna Khryascheva. Price had gone back to 7th and McCarthy was holding 8th ahead of two Scottish runners. Humphreys had moved into 13th and O Reilly was 15th.

When the runners came around for the finish, Slovenia had much to celebrate as Lea Einfalt raced to victory in 14 minutes and 6 seconds. She was followed home by Russian Ivonina. Slovenia also took the bronze medal through local runner Stanonik. Russia won the team race with 20 points from Slovenia on 30 points and Turkey on 31. Ireland had their three runners in the top 15 but had to settle for fourth with 36 points. Clare McCarthy (DSD) was the best of the Irish runners in 8th with a time of 15:12 which was 66 seconds behind the winner. Eadaoin O Reilly was 13th in a time of 15:28 and Sorcha Humphreys 15th in 15:31. Ten countries had full teams.

The boys race was a much tighter affair with less than a minute separating the top 14 runners. Nekagenet Crippa (ITA) broke away at the start and led the field down the descent on the first lap followed by Andrey Chernov (RUS) and Miha Simenc (SVN). These were followed by the eventual 1-2-3 and 5th placed runners. As the runners approached the end of the first lap, Crippa led from Suat Karabulak (TUR) and Rafal Matuszczak (POL). Russians held 4th to 6th ahead of Marcin Zychski (POL), two Slovenian runners, Nadir Cavagna (ITA) and Ozan Iskey (TUR). The three Irish runners were in the top 16 at this stage and medals were a possibility.

Going up the hill for the second time two Polish runners and Konstantin Galiullin (RUS) had broken away. Matuszczak eventually took the gold medal by three seconds from the Russian Galiullin and Zychski (POL). With their third runner in 12th this was enough to give Poland the team victory from Russia and Italy who were separated by only one point (23 against 24). Turkey were fourth with 33 points and Ireland 5th one point back. The Irish boys ran very tightly throughout with Killian Mooney and Ian Guiden making the running. On the second lap, Hugh Armstrong surged through on the hill climb into 10th and Guiden and Mooney rallied behind him. The three Irish runners were within 56 seconds of the winner and within five seconds of each other. Twelve countries had complete teams.

The competition was opened by WMRA President Bruno Gozzelino in the presence of Janez Aljancic the Vice-President of the Slovenian Athletics Federation ands the Mayor of Gorenja vas – Poljane, Milan Cadez. Ireland has submitted an application to host the event in 2012 in the ancient monastic village of Glendalough in County Wicklow.

1. Lea Einfalt (SLO) 14:06
2. Ekaterina Ivonina (RUS) 14:18
3. Katja Stanonik (SLO) 14:27
8. Clare McCarthy 15:12
13. Eadaoin O Reilly 15:28
15. Sorcha Humphreys 15:31

1. Russia (2,6,12) 20
2. Slovenia (1,3,26) 30
3. Turkey (4,11,16) 31
4. Ireland (8,13,15) 36
5. Wales (5,17,21) 43
6. Scotland (9,14,28) 51
7. Poland (10,19,29) 58
8. Czech Republic (7,31,33) 71
9. Italy (24,27,30) 81
10. England (20,32,34) 86
11. Russia 2 (18,22)
12. Bulgaria (23,25)
13. Slovenia 2 (35,36)

1. Rafal Matuszczak (POL) 15:01
2. Konstantin Galiullin (RUS) 15:04
3. Marcin Zychski (POL) 15:09
10. Hugh Armstrong 15:52
11. Killian Mooney 15:54
13. Ian Guiden 15:57

1. Poland (1,3,12) 16
2. Russia (2,5,16) 23
3. Italy (4,6,14) 24
4. Turkey (7,9,17) 33
5. Ireland (10,11,13) 34
6. Scotland (15,22,24) 61
7. Slovenia 1 (8,20,25) 53
8. Wales (19,21,26) 66
9. England (18,28,29) 75
10. Germany (25,31,34) 90
11. Slovenia 2 (32,33,36) 101
12. Czech Republic (30,37,39) 106
13. Bulgaria (23,27)
14. Macedonia (38)