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UK Athletics

Wmra RESPONSIBILITY now lies with the uk

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Conwy 2015 Flag Handover
23 September 2014

Following the successful staging of the 30th running of the World Mountain Running Championships in the stunning setting of Casette di Massa, Italy, last weekend, responsibility for the 31st edition of these historic Championships now moves to the UK and Wales, as Snowdonia and Betws-y-Coed begin preparations for the hosting of festivities in a little under 12 months time.

In addition to the baton being handed to a delegation from Welsh Athletics, British Athletics and Conwy County Borough Council, there was also medal success at the Championships for the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team, as the senior women’s team ran to silver and the junior men’s team secured the bronze medal.

The Championships began with an impressive outdoor opening ceremony held in Piazza Aranci, Massa opening with a cultural display from medieval dressed dancers from the region and the flags from the 40 participating countries being paraded through an arch of standards and a fanfare, before the Championships were declared officially opened by the World Mountain Running Association President Bruno Gozzelino.

The UK delegation of Councillor Graham Rees, the Cabinet Member for Tourism, Marketing and Leisure at Conwy County Borough Council along with Senior Marketing Officer, Sara Jones, Welsh Athletics Head of Development, Steve Brace and British Athletics’ Director and Team GB leader Sarah Rowell all made the trip to Italy, and were handed over the Championships by a party from the WMRA at the closing ceremony of this year’s event. Following the handover Gozzelino commented:

I am absolutely sure that this year here in Italy the Championships were a great event and I'm certain that next year all the participants and support teams will be excited about attending the World Championships in Great Britain. More especially in the region of Wales, in a place where I believe it's one of the parts of the world where mountain running is really part of the family."

Councillor Graham Rees added:

“My experience of this year’s World Mountain Running Championships was tremendous and the setting was spectacular. Conwy County is very excited about welcoming athletes from around the world to North Wales and the picturesque mountain resort of Betws y Coed in Snowdonia National Park”. 

Though the world class opposition, intense heat and dusty Italian mountain terrain were not entirely suited to the GB & NI athletes, there is no doubt that Team Leader Sarah Rowell was pleased from a sporting perspective, commenting:

“In winning 2 team medals and finishing 4th and 5th in the other two teams, GB had its best ever uphill world championships in terms of overall all round strength of depth. Across the 4 team events our combined total was the lowest of any country – 14, followed by Italy with 17 and USA with 19 (2 years ago at the last uphill worlds we had a total of 23 points). 

“With all 4 teams being competitive and fighting for medals we showed again that we are one of the strongest European teams. The challenge now is to get more of our athletes in the mix for individual medals something we look forward to doing on home soil next year.”

White marble coloured the 30th edition of the Championships, an unprecedented experience marked by the course winding up inside a marble cave of the famous “Bacino di Gioia” with the Apuan Alps and the Tirreno Sea on the backdrop.

The festival from the 12th to the 20th of September, 2015, will attract the world’s best mountain runners, from across the globe, and will also incorporate the World Masters Mountain Running Championships. The races will be hosted in Betws y Coed, with athletes being based in Llandudno.

The Championships were awarded to the UK after a joint bid from British Athletics, the Welsh Government, Welsh Athletics and Conwy County Borough Council was accepted, and will see a series of open races and events sitting between the two weekends of racing.

Further updates on the 2015 World Mountain Running Championships will be available via the WMRC Wales website www.wmrcwales.org, Twitter and Facebook pages.