The World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), concluded three days of meetings on January 12, 2014, in Monte Carlo, Monaco, where the organization is headquartered.
Led by president Bruno Gozzelino, the nine-member council reviewed agenda items including a recap of competitions held in 2013, upcoming competitions, administrative details, as well as regulations governing the WMRA’s various activities.
From the meeting came a suggestion to start a presence for the WMRA using social media. “Many mountain runners are young people who rely on social media for information,” said Paul Hardy, IAAF liaison to the WMRA, “Getting information out using social media can boost your awareness.”
After some discussion, the Council unanimously approved the development of a Facebook presence. Richard Bolt, U.S. Mountain Running team leader who has experience with social media as well as extensive knowledge about the sport of mountain running, was contacted from Monaco to see if he would set up the Facebook page. Bolt agreed, and within one hour of creating the page at this link, more than 50 “likes” had already been received.
"I'm excited to see the WMRA's launch of a new Facebook page,” said Bolt, “The top mountain runners in the world can only meet in person a few times a year, so this page gives us a chance to connect and share our experiences throughout the year. This new social channel also gives the WMRA a way to better connect mountain runners, races and brands as we discuss the sport we all love.”
The WMRA’s signature event, The World Mountain Running Championships, will surely benefit from the new Facebook page in spreading news about the course, the event logistics, and competition schedule. The Championships will be held on September 14, in Casette di Massa, Italy, an area famous for its marble quarry. This quarry will be part of the course for this year’s events which include both junior and senior competition and will attract teams from 40, or more countries.
The WMRA’s technical delegate to the Championships, Tomo Sarf, visited the venue in December, and provided a detailed report to the Council including photographs and proposed routes for the competition. The final route is being reviewed and will be available to teams in the coming weeks to assist with their training plans.
“The proposed course is quite a technical one,” said Sarf, “Much is single track trail, with just a few asphalted road sections,” said Sarf. “The quarry will be part of the course and this provides an interesting running experience.”
In 2014, the WMRA has events in Europe, as well as North America. The Pikes Peak Ascent will host the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge on August 16, in Manitou Springs, CO, with eight to ten international teams expected to compete. The North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championships, will be hosted in Ajijic, Mexico (Chupinaya), Mexico on July 20. Teams from USA, Canada, and Mexico are slated to compete. Details on the selection criteria for Team USA will be available by March for both NACAC and the Long Distance Challenge.
Dates for the 16th WMRA Grand Prix were announced with a prize structure to mirror that of 2013. The six-race series kicks off in June, and includes venues in Austria, France, Slovenia, and Italy, with the final event to be held at Smarna Gora, Slovenia, in October.
The next WMRA Council meeting will be held in September as part of the World Championships program. Click here to follow the activities of the WMRA and be sure to “like” the WMRA on Facebook at this link.