Brian Furey once again represented Ireland in the mountains, this time at the 32nd World Mountain Running Championships in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria. Brian was the 4th man home on the Irish team, finishing in 73rd out of 141 competitors over a 12.5km course with 1400m of elevation. Brian said the course was tough, with 750m climbing in the first 5km. Well done Brian! Full results
WMRA Facebook (photos)
Brian's Race Report from Bulgaria
The World mountain running championships took place this weekend gone on Sunday 11th September in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria. This year was uphill only format. The Irish team consisted of a team of 6 senior men - 4 to score, 2 senior women (our womens team short due to injuries), 4 junior men, 1 junior girl and 2 managers.
I ran the European mountain running championships here in 2010 and remember thinking at start of this year 'wouldn't it be great to qualify to run there again' as I had very positive memories of the previous trip. I'd also never qualified to run the 'up only' championship so that would be great to experience.
As it turned out I was delighted to finish 4th in trial race early August enough to earn a place on the plane. 2 weeks before this Bulgarian race I ran the v35 uphill championship in Susa Italy as part of an Irish team. This Susa race served as a warm-up event with similar climb and distance of 1500m elevation over 12 kms. 3 of us Irish won v35 team gold in Susa which was a great confidence booster.
We arrived in Bulgaria on the Friday evening and did a short run on part of the course on Saturday. Saturday evening we got some valuable information from Gerry Brady on the course layout and what to expect. Consensus was the first half was the toughest with 750m climbing in 5kms. Having got all pre race debrief from Gerry and Leo Mahon we were ready to go for Sunday at 11.30am.
Time came around quick enough and before long we were winding our way through Sapareva Banya streets heading for the first steep climb. From the off I found the going tough to get any rhythm, particularly first half of course. Everyone did I guess :-) I gained confidence as I climbed picking up over well over 10 to 15 places from 5kms in. I finishes in 72nd place out of 140, happy to collapse on the ground once I crossed the line, most runners doing similar. The effects of altitude late in the race made the finish tough. Everyone on the team gave it their maximum efforts. I was also pleased to finish 4th Irish scorer on the team.
Brian Mc was 42nd, Ian 46th, James 61st, me 71st, Zak 75th and Andrew 78th. Overall all the Irish on all teams ran well in all 4 races with alot of each experience gained from the trip. Laura was high up in the top ten in the ladies race early on before fading a little to finish a very credible 31st in high class field. USA sent a very strong mens team this year taking the mens team gold with USA's Joseph Gray winning the mens race outright.
The post race party was great. It always a chance to enjoy some post race drinks with friends and get to know runners from the other countries. Stories were swapped and connections were made. Hopefully we will meet again in future championships. Thanks to Gerry Brady and Leo Mahon for all the efforts in organising the trip smoothly for us. We survived the Bulgarian food :). I'm taking a few down weeks now :)