WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Junior runner Sarah Hamon of UNCW finished third on the USA team and 34th overall in the 32nd Junior World Mountain Running Championships over the weekend in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria.
Hamon, 19, clocked a 27:49 time on the 3.6K course that featured an average incline of 14 percent. Germany's Sarah Kistner won the race in 22:48.
The USA team, consisting of four runners, finished eighth in the team standings. Hamon was joined on the team by Soleil Gaylord, 16, Telluride HS, Telluride, Colo.; Claire Graves, 18, Citrus Valley HS, Highland, Calif.; Julia Jaschke, 18, Kent Denver School, Greenwood Village, Colo.
Hamon said the race "was the most intense and painful race" of her running career and said breathing was a challenge since much of the course was more than a mile high in altitude. Hamon ran a conservative race early and learned a lot about racing and overcoming mental challenges.
Hamon's experience in Bulgaria should help her immediately since the Cary, N.C., runner is expected to join her Seahawk teammates at the Mountains To Sea Duals this weekend in Boone, N.C.