Preparations underway for European Marathon Championships

Austria hosting continental championships in mid-June

Preparations are underway for the European Mountain Bike Marathon Championships in Kleinzell in the district of Rohrbach, Upper Austria on June 12, 2011. The 11th edition of the Raiffeisen Granite marathon is doubling as the marathon championships this year.

The race, which is expected to draw 1,000 competitors, is also part of the Austrian Marathon Cup and the Trek Mountain Bike Challenge, Austria's biggest racing series. It has previously served as the Austrian marathon national championships.

"The two most important factors, the course and the [event management] team, have already been fixed," said Norbert Ilk on behalf of race organization. "Above all, an event of this scope needs enormous (numbers of) personnel.

"For on-track security alone, we need almost 300 people," said Ilk's partner Klaus Falkinger. In total, 420 volunteers and staff will assist with the event.

Racers will contest a 100km track with 3,000m of elevation change. The course will pass through 10 municipalities in the Rohrbach district. The men's course record is 4:33:54, held by five-time race winner and local hero Roman Rametsteiner. Styrian Theresa Kellermayr maintains the women's record (5:57:49).

Amateurs will have two shorter options: 50km with 1,000m of elevation change and 28km, with 800m of elevation change.

With several months to go until race day, the entry list already reads like a who's who of marathon racing. World ranked number one racer Mirko Celestino of Italy, World Champion Alban Lakata of Austria and Swiss champion Urs Huber and his compatriots and Lukas Buchli and reigning U23 European champion Konny Looser are registered. Of course, Rametsteiner will also be back to defend his title on home turf.

For more information, visit the Raiffeisen Granite Marathon website at www.granitmarathon.at.

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