A day for new race records at the DreiZinnen Alpine Run : World Cup #6
The Drei Zinnen Alpine Run exceeded all expectations today. 900 runners and 2 new race records and perfect weather provided an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Italian Dolomite mountains for everyone involved. It was Sarah Tunstall (ENG) and Petro Mamu (ERI) who took the wins and provided some additional spice in the race to the World Cup title.
17 km and 1300 meters of uphill climbing, the race course is a big challenge but the reward at the finish is some absolute picture postcard views such as the "Forcella Pian di Cengia" and the “Piani lakes” and of course the majestic “Tre Cime di Lavaredo” towering above the arrival at the Locatelli Refuge in the background. Sun and blue sky over the wonderful Dolomite peaks welcomed the runners who had this unique chance to race along the paths of this UNESCO heritage site.
It was a decisive stage in the race for podium positions in the World Cup 2019 even if Cup leaders Sarah McCormack (IRL) and Andy Douglas (SCO) have raced away with a big points advantage. Spots two and three are still completely open however and the winners here in Sesto (Italy) have brought themselves into contention.
The race unfolded with a fast starting lap around the town of Sesto and the favorites did not wait too long to give a strong signal of intent. The existing records were going to be in jeopardy with such a fast start. At the first checkpoint after 7km, at Fondovalle Hut, it was the Eritrean Petro Mamu who made the first move attacking the race before the climbing began in earnest. Running with him was Joe Gray (USA) and compatriot Filimon Abraham, while the Cup ranking leader Andy Douglas held a position just behind with the Italians Francesco Puppi and Hannes Perkmann who were slightly detached at that point.
And it was the same story in the women's race where there was an attack from the start by Sarah Tunstall, who had already put one minute into the Irish athlete and World Cup leader Sarah McCormack by 7km. Tunstall had an additional one minute on the group following formed by Kenyan Wanja Nganga, Czech runner Lucie Marsanova, Timea Merenyi from Hungary and the Swiss ski mountaineering athlete Victoria Kreuzer.
From that point it was steep climbing that faced the runners and at km 12, the runners touched the Comici Refuge where the race had another jolt in the top positions as this long climb started to take its toll. Out front, Petro Mamu and Joseph Gray remained alone in the lead but were battling it out between them where neither one or the other could break free. Just behind it was Abraham who slowed slightly while Puppi gained on him to race for the 3rd position.
But out front on her own at the 12km mark, Sarah Tunstall continued to gain and was climbing stongly focusing on a race record possibility that seemed more like a certainty at that point as long as she didn't blow up as the high altitude started to make its effect where runners pass the 2000m level and continue climbing higher to the peak of the race. She was increasing her advantage over McCormack to more than 2 minutes by this point.
The short but steep descent from the Forcella of Piani di Cengia (Cima Coppa) has changed the complexion of the race in previous editiona and this section leads on to the final climb to the Locatelli Refuge and the finish. Mamu and Gray were watching each other and Gray had a small stumble allowing the diminuitive Eritrean to take advantage and he surged away. In the last 600 meters he was nearing his limit though and Gray fought back but the win went to Mamu in the end setting the new course record with 1h22'37" improving the previous record he set some years ago that was 1h22 '44”.
Joseph Gray was 2nd in 1h23’09”, confirming his great form at the moment backing up from last weeks performance also at a race in Dolomite mountains. The podium of the day was completed with Filimon Abraham, 3rd in 1h25'55 ". The rest of the men's top ten were evenly spaced, where the positions were unchanged following the descent off the Forcella in the final 2.5km with Francesco Puppi 4th, Andy Douglas 5th, Hannes Perkmann 6th, Zak Hannah 7th, Bernard Dematteis 8th, Tiziano Moia 9th and Francis Njoroge 10th
For the women's finish there were no problems for Sarah Tunstall who won convincingly her first Drei Zinnen race with the addition of the new course record. The Brit crossed the finish line in 1h41'45”, and there were impressive gaps back to her rivals. Sarah Mccormack was 2nd in 1h46’21 ", third place went to Victoria Kreuzer in 1h47'40".
In the ranking of the World Cup for the men; Andy Douglas takes home enough points so that the Scotsman now has a big leading margin with 525 points and he is out of reach by the rest going into the final event. Following him is Filimon Abraham and with today’s 3rd position he rises to 320 points. It's getting exciting for the 3rd step of the final World Cup podium which is possible for at least 5 athletes. Bernard Dematteis climbs to 215 points chased by Zak Hannah with 195, Mamu with 190, Puppi with 175 and then Beçan from Slovenia with 165 prove that everything is still open and still to be decided at Smarna Gora in Slovenia where the finals take place in October!
It's mission accomplished for Sarah Mccormack who with the 2nd place today flies to 395 points and is now unreachable. Sarah Tunstall jumps into 2nd place with today's victory. She has 200 points and now has overtaken her compatriots Emma Clayton and Charlotte Morgan. Kenyan Lucy Murigi has also been distanced and due to illness could not race this weekend. Austrian runner Alexandra Hauser rises up to 160 points and is now 3rd overall. Louise Mercer from Scotland was 16th at the Drei Zinnen. She reaches 115 points in the general classification and she is now 5th overall.
The updated and complete World Cup overall rankings available on the official WMRA website. Next stop for the World Cup is planned for the final in Ljubljana, 12th October 2019. The 40th Smarna Gora Race.
See WORLD CUP #6 page for more Drei Zinnen Alpine Run details.
TOP 10 - Drei Zinnen Alpine Run 2019 : WOMEN's RACE
Sarah Tunstall (GBR) 1h41’45”
Sarah Mccormack (IRL) 1h46’21”
Victoria Kreuzer (SUI) 1h47’40”
Lucie Marsanova (CZE) 1h50’56”
Alexandra Hauser (AUT) 1h52’19”
Jane Wanja Nganga (KEN) 1h53’31”
Monika Pletzer (GER) 1h54’47”
Timea Merenyi (HUN) 1h55’10”
Petra Pircher (ITA) 1h56’31”
Dimitra Teocharis (ITA) 1h56’36”
TOP 10 - Drei Zinnen Alpine Run 2019 : MEN's RACE
Petro Mamu (ERI) 1h22’37
Joe Gray (USA) 1h23’04”
Filimon Abraham (ERI) 1h25’55”
Francesco Puppi (ITA) 1h27’29”
Andrew Douglas (SCO) 1h27’48”
Hannes Perkmann (ITA) 1h28’42”
Zak Hannah (IRL) 1h29’20”
Bernard Dematteis (ITA) 1h31’00”
Tiziano Moia (ITA) 1h32’30”
Francis Maina Njiore (KEN) 1h33’22”
Photos: By Marco Gulberti / Corsa in Montagna
Tre Cime di Laveredo from the finsh area of the Drei Zinnen Alpine Run
Tre Cime di Laveredo from the finsh area of the Drei Zinnen Alpine Run
Rifugio di Locatelli and the finish of the Drei Zinnen Alpine Run
Sarah Tunstall (GBR) in 1h41’45” makes her the fastest ever.
Sarah Mccormack (IRL)
Victoria Kreuzer (SUI) comes through strongly in the final half and completes the women's podium
Petro Mamu (ERI) men's winner and new record.
Joe Gray (USA) finishes less than 30 seconds behind.
Filamon Abraham (ERI) in 3rd
Francesco Puppi (ITA) 4th place.
Andrew Douglas (SCO) finishes in 5th and still leads the 2019 World Cup classification
Hannes Perkmann (ITA) in 6th
Zak Hannah (IRL) arrives in 7th place
Bernard Dematteis (ITA) in 8th
Bernard shows it's a real privaledge to run next to such amazing mountains.
Tiziano Moia (ITA) 9th and recovered from a fall on the course
Francis Maina Njiore (KEN) rounds out the top 10 in the men's field.
Luca Cagnati (ITA)
The final 150 metres
Lucie Marsanova (CZE)
Alexandra Hauser (AUT)
Petra Pircher (ITA)
Japan represented with Fujio Miyachi
Women's top three, (Left to Right) McCormack, Tunstall, Kreuzer
Men's top 3 (Left to right) Gray, Mamu, Abraham