The International Association of Ultrarunners organized the 9th 24 Hour World and 18th European Championships on Sepetmber 8-9th 2012 in Katowice, Poland.
The race was organized on a 1544.87 m course around Park Slozi in Chozin. Individual countries had set up their refreshments to support their athletes. The cooler temperatures during the day and night combined with a relatively flat course allowed the athletes to set several national records and personal bests.
Mike Morton (USA) took the top honours in the men’s race winning with a distance of 277.543km. Florian Reus (GER) finished second completing 261.718 km. Ludovic Dilmi (FRA) finished in the bronze medal spot running a distance of 257.819 km.
Morton, 41, took the early front running in the race from the start and never seemed to slow down his pace or relinquish his lead. His blistering pace at the start was a bit fast with a forecasted final distance of above 300 kms but one-third through the race Morton settled comfortably in his pace and maintained it towards the end.
Florian, on the other hand, ran a very different race. He came back from further down in the field and made his way through the competition in the second half. In the pre-race conference the twenty eight year old beamed with excitement in hoping to set new personal bests in the race and passing 260 kilometers.
Dilmi, 47, ran quite a consistent race constantly featuring in the top 5 throughout the duration of the race running very closely to pre-race favourite Ivan Cudin (ITA) in the middle stages of the event. Having slipped through the top 3 for some hours at night he regained his form and composure to finish very strongly and make the podium.
In the European Championships, Florian took gold, followed by Dilmi in the silver medal spot and hometown hero Piotr Sawaicki (POL) taking the third place. In the World’s team competition, Germany took home the gold with France taking the silver and the United States of America taking the bronze. In the European team Competition, Germany finished in first place followed by France and Poland in the silver and bronze medal spots, respectively.
In the women’s race, Dimitriadu (CZE) finished in the gold medal spot with a distance of 244.232 km. Connie Gardner (USA) finished second with 240.385 km. Emily Gelder (GBR) finished in the bronze medal spot completing 238.875 km.
The women’s race, unlike the men’s race, had a few more leaders through the duration of the race. Initially, the current 24 Hour track World’s Best Performance holder, Mami Kudo (JPN) was in the lead but Gelder passed her though the first third of the race only to eventually relinquish to a fast surging Dimitriadu in the later stages.
Top finisher and gold medal winner, Dimitriadu, 39, ran a textbook race coming in strong in the second half of the event. She ran very well at night and completed a feat that she had prepared for a very long time.
Gardner, 49, finished in second place and had a very consistent run throughout the competition. Also a 100km specialist, Gardner, dug deep into her endurance level and pulled out her best performance to date to take over the silver medal spot.
Race leader for a big portion of the run, Gelder, had an outstanding event and surpassed her goals for the competition. Having run the 100 km world championships previously in Seregno, Gelder, 37, has speed to go with her endurance on these longer runs.
In the European Championships, Dimitriadu took home the gold, followed by Gelder the silver and Cecile Nissen (FRA) the bronze medal. In the team competitions for the world championships, the United States of America took the gold, France and the Great Britain took the silver and bronze, respectively. In the European team competition, France took home the gold, the Great Britain silver and Germany the bronze.
The race was outstanding to watch. Several national records, national age group records and personal bests were set on this course.
The IAU is looking forward to the 10th 24 Hour and 19th European Championships in Steenbergen in May 2013.
Results 24hr World Championship 2012, Katowice, Poland
Gold — Mike Morton USA277.543 km
Gold — Michaela Dimitriadu CZE 244.232 km (1st European Championship)
Team Competition Men:
Gold — Germany 759.457 km (1st European Championship)
Team Competition Women:
Gold — United States of America 694.620 km
All photos courtesy Tania Pacev – used with permission.