Italian, Kiwi win World Mountain Running

Posted: Monday, September 22, 2003

Marco De Gasperi won the senior men's race and led Italy to the men's team title in the 19th Annual World Mountain Running Trophy races held Saturday and Sunday at Girdwood's Mount Alyeska Resort.

The meet brought together more than 400 runners from more than 30 countries. It was the first time the event has taken place in the United States and only the second time it's been held outside of Europe; the 1999 race was held in Malaysia. An early snow on Saturday made this year the first time the race has ever been held with snow covering most of the course.

In Sunday's senior men's race, De Gasperi made his way through trails left muddy from the snow to complete the 11.48-kilometer course in 50 minutes, 30 seconds. The senior men's course had 900 meters of elevation gain/loss.

This was De Gasperi's fourth victory in an up-and-down course. He also won in 1997 in the Czech Republic, in 1999 in Malaysia and 2001 in Italy. In odd years the event takes place on an up-and-down course, while the races only go up in even years. De Gasperi was the junior champion in 1996 in Austria, on an up-only course.

Lflorian Heinzle of Austria took second place in 51:16, followed by Italian Marco Gaiardo in 51:56 for third place. The Italian team scored 24 points (based on the finishes of the top four runners) to beat England's 48 points and Germany's 67. The United States took eighth place with 165 points.

In Saturday's senior women's race, Melissa Moon of New Zealand won the race with a time of 39:02 for the 7.7-kilometer course with 600 meters of elevation change. Moon also won in 2001.

Moon, who borrowed a pair of trail shoes from the English team when she saw Saturday's snow, beat out a pair of Scots - runner-up Angela Mudge (59:41) and Tracey Brindley (39:59) - for the title. Scotland won the senior women's team title with 23 points (three runners), followed by France with 29 points and Austria with 34. The United States finished eighth with 71 points.

A pair of Slovenian runners took top honors in the junior men's race Saturday, which also took place on the 7.7-kilometer course with 600 meters of elevation change. Mitja Kosovelj won the race in 35:41, followed by teammate Peter Lamovec in 36:01. Sedat Gunen of Turkey took third place in 36:06.

Slovenia won the team title with 23 points (three runners), followed by Italy with 27 and Turkey with 49. The United States finished 11th with 113 points. Palmer High School junior Rory Egelus, the only Alaskan on the U.S. team this weekend, finished 40th in 41:46 and was the third American.

Karrissa Hawitt of England won the junior women's race on Saturday, covering the 4.2-kilometer course with 285 meters of elevation change in 17:24. Turkan Bozkurt of Turkey took second place in 17:48, followed by Slovenia's Mateja Kosovelj (the younger sister of the junior men's champion) in 18:00.

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