Gibraltar - The race previews accurately predicted the results of the final WMRA Grand Prix race on the Rock of Gibraltar which took place yesterday, Saturday 29 October.
Jonathan Wyatt (pictured left) of New Zealand and Anna Pichrtova of the Czech Republic recorded their fifth Grand Prix victories in convincing style.
Wyatt won by 38 seconds from last year's Rock of Gibraltar winner, Vicente Capitan (ESP) in 43:03 for the 11.5km course.
With Wyatt and Italy's Marco Gaiardo (not competing) unassailable in first and second positions in the overall Grand Prix ranking before the start of the final race, Andrzej Dlugos (POL) and Martin Cox (GBR) fought it out for third position. Although beaten by Dlugos by six seconds, Cox in fouth position acquired enough points to give him third position in the overall GP. Makus Kroell (AUT) could only manage tenth position in yesterday's race and so slipped to 5th position overall, just five points behind Dlugos.
The top nine prize winning positions in the men's final Grand Prix ranking were from nine different countries – NZL; ITA; POL; AUT; SLO; CZE; AUS; and FRA.
With Pichrtova already declared overall women's GP winner before the race began, the young Slovenian, Mateja Kosovelj, who is just nineteen, ran as well as could be expected and in finishing second, 40 seconds behind Pichrtova, elevated herself to second position in the overall women's GP ranking. Iva Milsova (CZE) was third in both the Rock race and in the season's ranking.
Although the number of competitors in this final GP race were fewer than in the other European races, the quality was of the highest order with nearly all Grand Prix prize contenders present.
The promised magnificent views of Europe and Africa, and of the Mediterranian and the Atlantic, from the top of the Rock were unfortunately missing as thick mist swirled around the summit. However, the Barbary apes caused plenty of amusement as they tried to pinch anything resembling food.
Both Wyatt and Pichrtova will now prepare themselves for the lucrative Obudu Ranch Mountain Race in Nigeria on 25 November, when it will be seen if the top mountain runners can hold their own against the fast flat road running athletes who have been attracted to the race.