I am very pleased to welcome everyone to the European Mountain Running Championships here in Kamnik.
This is the first time that this competition has been held in Slovenia since the event came under European Athletics’ auspices, and the first official championships were staged in 2002, but there is certainly no lack of experience among the local organising team.
The Grintovec Mountain Running race in the area around Kamnik started in 1996 and has for many years been an important stage in the WMRA World Cup.
The roll call of winners at this annual race reads like a who’s who of the top world and European runners in this discipline. In addition, the World Championships were very successfully held here in 2010.
Kamnik is the location for one of the most picturesque but demanding courses among the leading mountain races in Europe, and has almost 1300m of ascent, so whoever takes the gold medals here will be worthy champions.
Italy has been the dominant nation at the European Mountain Running Championships since its inception with their men winning the team title every year since 2002, one of the longest winning streaks in elite sport and they will be very motivated to defend their title again, while their women have won the team gold medals on no less than 10 occasions.
Consequently, the men and women wearing Italy’s famous blue vest will be the ones to watch but it is pleasing from my perspective as European Athletics President that mountain running now has enthusiastic participants the length and breadth of Europe
The list of entries shows competitors from many European Athletics Member Federations that would not usually be considered to have a long-standing mountain running heritage and this championship has provided a focal point for athletes from those nations which, in turn, has helped this championship increase in popularity and profile right the way across the continent in recent years.
European Athletics are very grateful to the Slovenian Athletic Federation, the town of Kamnik, as well as all the officials and volunteers with the Local Organising Committee for all their hard work and commitment in staging this year’s championships.
I wish everyone an enjoyable and successful day. With Kamnik’s impressive experience of being the host for top quality mountain running races, I feel sure it will be.
Svein Arne Hansen
European Athletics President