Top local and international Comrades Marathon competitors rose to the occasion at the prestigious IAU World Championships in Europe this past weekend. Now in its 25th year, the International Association of Ultra-runners (IAU) World and European Championships was held in the Dutch city of Winschoten on Saturday, 10 September 2011.
Organisers say the ultra-marathon had attracted a record number of participants this year, with more than 230 athletes representing 35 countries in the 100km race. Among the ‘cream-of-the-crop-runners’ were South Africa’s very own Lindsay van Aswegen and Kerry Koen who run for Toyota Athletic Club and Nedbank Running Club respectively.
Top Russian runner Marina Bychkova, who took gold for 6th position in the Comrades 2009 race, bagged the winning trophy on Saturday, while van Aswegen took third place and Koen came in at number nine.
In the Men’s Race, American runner Michael Wardian, who just missed the Comrades gold medal by one place this year, took second position at Winschoten while top Swedish athlete Jonas Buud, who won fourth position in the 2011 Ultimate Human Race, finished the IAU Champs in seventh place.
Race Director of the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA), Johan van Staden says: ‘We are very mindful of the fact that South Africa has some of the world’s best runners who have consistently shown their mettle during many Comrades races. It is especially pleasing to see these high performance athletes going on to prove their might at top international running events such as the IAU World Championships. Last but not least, it is gratifying to note that our international Comrades runners are making their mark elsewhere and have also signaled their intention to take on the Ultimate Human Race challenge in 2012.’
Statement released on Monday, 12 September 2011