Marcela Vasinova wins the Tatra SkyMarathon (© WMRA)
Czech Republic’s Marcela Vasinova and Slovakia’s Peter Frano won the fourth race in the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) World Cup – the Tatra SkyMarathon in Poland – on Saturday (24).
Tatra SkyMarathon is one of the six long mountain races in this year’s World Cup, featuring 40km with 3300m of ascent. That ascent comes in two huge climbs, so runners had two relentless 1000m uphills to deal with, followed by 1000m descents on a mix of terrain ranging from forest tracks to rocky, technical mountain path.
The conditions were hot and humid, which led to some high profile DNFs.
In the early stages of the men’s race, a breakaway group formed fairly quickly once the long, first ascent began. This group included Frano, Poland’s Andrzej Witek, Spain’s Raul Criado and Poland’s Kamil Lesniak, with Dariusz Marek and Marcin Swierc – both also of Poland – in contention. A small group also started to pull away in the women’s race. It included Vasinova, Britain’s Charlotte Morgan and Poland’s Katarzyna Solinska, Katarzyna Jakiela-Rzadkosz and Dominika Stelmach.
By the first timing point at around 19km, Criado had broken into a lead in the men’s race. But he was hotly pursued by Slovakia’s Hrasko and Frano, just 1 minute and 40 seconds behind. At this stage in the women’s race, Vasinova had struck out and held a 3-minute lead over the chasing Solinska and Morgan, who were neck and neck.
Peter Frano races in the Tatra SkyMarathon (© Adrian Kasniar / Ralpu Official)
The race then began the second climb of 1000m, and subsequent descent, and this really shook up the men’s top three. By the second timing point, just after 30km, Frano had not only taken the lead, but he had stretched it out to 5 minutes over Witek, with Criado 2 minutes back from him. The women’s top three hadn’t changed but the gaps between them had, with 9 minutes now separating Vasinova (who was by now in 10th overall) and Solinska, then a further 9 minutes to Charlotte Morgan.
Frano managed to keep that gap of 5 minutes and he won the men’s race in 4:29:18. Witek also held on to second (4:34:39) and Criado put in a gritty performance to finish third in 4:39:45. He just managed to hold off Hrasko, who was 10 seconds behind him in fourth (4:39:55). Poland’s Piotr Wolakiewicz rounded out the top five for the men.
The podium positions didn’t change for the women either, with Vasinova winning in 5:02:08, Solinska second in 5:12:36 and Morgan third in 5:23:11. Poland’s Katarzyna Wilk was fourth in 5:25:03 and Hungary’s Iren Tiricz fifth in 5:31:41. All great performances in humid, energy-sapping conditions.
The next stop in the 2021 World Cup is the Sierre Zinal on 7 August.
Kirsty Reade (WMRA) for World Athletics