Maria Jannson after winning the IAU European 24 Hour title (© Nadeem Khan/organisers)
Dan Lawson of Great Britain and Swede Maria Jannson won the 21st IAU 24 Hour European Championships in Albi, France, on Sunday (23).
Lawson won the men's division with a distance of 261.843km. In the women’s contest Jannson broke the previous European Best Performance running a distance of 250.647km.
Both the men's and women's race, contested on a course of approximately 1.1 kilometres, was a clinic in patience and pacing as was witnessed throughout the 24 hours. The competition was a unique one where strength one lap can translate into weakness the next. The competition and race was top notch and the results proved that brilliantly with six national records, several personal bests and one European best performance set.
In the men's race, Aleksandr Sorkin of Lithuania put in a very gutsy performance for the first 21 hours leading the charge, at one time leading by as much as 18 kilometers over the rest of the field. Good form, cool temperatures and a fast course contributed to the fast pace. That pace however caught up to Sorokin in the last three hours and he eventually faded to sixth.
Employing a different strategy, Lawson paced himself through the early afternoon hours and late evening to move into the top five, and at 7am made his move, taking the lead which he did not relinquish.
Czech Ondrej Velicka had the same game plan in mind moving up the field in the second half of the race, and in particular making a move during the early morning hours to finish with a distance of 258.661km to take second.
Stephane Ruel of France was the only podium finisher who was consistently featuring in the top five from the early stages of the event. With a strong last four hours, Ruel finished in the bronze medal spot on his home ground running a distance of 257.296km.
European best for Jannson - women’s race
In the women's race, Jannson, the defending champion, came into the race to make a statement. She started steady and controlled making her move at the 12-hour mark when she moved by Croatia’s Antonija Orlic who had set a fast pace in the first half of the event.
Jannson, who is known for her night running, increased her pace in the cooler temperatures as darkness descended and when the sun came up again, she was knocking on the door of a European best performance which she achieved with a distance of 250.647km to take the gold.
Patrycja Bereznowska of Poland ran a superbly timed raced making her move when it mattered the most. She wanted to make the podium and it could be seen as she moved through the crowded field placing herself in the top five at the 13 hour mark. She finished with a distance of 241.633km to grab second.
Her teammate Agata Matejczuk also started conservatively similar to the other podium finishers and started moving up the field in the first three quarters of the event. By the 17th hour mark she featured in the top five and started gaining on athletes in front of her eventually finishing in the bronze medal position with a distance of 232.285km.
In the Men's team competition, France won the gold medal with a distance of 763.291km. Great Britain won silver and Germany bronze running distances of 743.268km and 720.006km respectively.
In the Women's team race, Poland took the title with a distance of 701.429km. Sweden finished second with 691.656km and France tallied 655.332km to take the bronze.
Nadeem Khan (organisers) for the IAAF
1. Dan Lawson(GBR) 261.843km
2. Ondrej Velicka(CZE) 258.661km
3. Stephan Ruel (FRA) 257.296km
4. Piero Lattarico (FRA) 253.631km
5. Patrick Ruiz (FRA)252.364km
1. France 763.291km
2. Great Britain 743.269km
3. Germany 720.006km
4. Denmark 717.869km
5. Czech Republic 686.710km
1. Maria Jannson (SWE) 250.647km
2. Patrycja Bereznowska (POL) 241.633km
3. Agata Matejczuk (POL)) 232.285km
4. Therese Falk (NOR) 228.323km
5. Milena Grabska-Grzegorczyk (POL) 227.511km
1. Poland 701.429km
2. Sweden 691.656km
3. France 655.332km
4. Germany 651.486km
5. Hungary 638.675km