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Colorado Springs' Joe Gray captures gold at World Mountain Running Championships

The 2016 Pikes Peak Ascent champion, Joe Gray, added the ultimate prize to his trophy case on Sunday with a victory in the World Mountain Running Championships in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria.

Gray, of Colorado Springs, covered the 12.5-kilometer, uphill course in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 12.63 seconds.

Photo: Joe and a friend, by Nancy Hobbs >

It was a big day for the USA runners as the men’s team captured its first gold medal, while the women – running on a 7.3K course - captured bronze. Kim Nedeau, of Leverett, Mass., finished ninth (42:51) to lead the U.S. women. Boulder’s Addie Bracy, who won the U.S. Mountain Running Championship in June and placed second in the Pikes Peak Ascent, was 12th overall in 43:08. 

Competing on his ninth-consecutive U.S. world's team, Gray has dominated trail and mountain running in the U.S. He recorded the fastest time in 25 years at the Pikes Peak Ascent (2:05:28) and captured two national titles this summer. But he had never won a world championship until Sunday. And even then, it looked as if the title may have eluded him. Initial results had Uganda’s Robert Chemonges listed as the top finisher in a close race with Gray. But the results were changed soon after when race officials found that Chemonges had been unfairly paced on a section of the course, according to Nancy Hobbs, a member of the World Mountain Running Association Council.

< Photo by Giovanni Tacchini

The USA men placed four scoring runners among the top 20 to capture their first team title in the 32-year history of the world championships. Hayden Hawks, of St, George, Utah, finished fourth, followed by Brett Hales, Kaysville, Utah, in seventh, and Boulder’s Andy Whacker, 20th.

Results > http://saparevabanya2016.info/results/

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