Andrew Benford Selected To 2006 World Mountain Running Team

(Article provided by Coach Steve Taylor of the Universtiy of Richmond)

University of Richmond incoming freshman, Andrew Benford (Ravenswood, WV) has been selected to represent the United States Junior team at the 2006 World Mountain Running Championships to be held in Bursa, Turkey on September 10th. He was contacted Friday, August 11 by Dave Dunham, the USA Junior Team manager and told he is one of 4 men that will represent the USA Junior Team (under 20 years of age) at the 22nd Annual World Mountain Championships… The junior men's mountain race will be 8.5K (roughly 5.6 miles) in length and held on the slopes of Uludag (Mt. Olympos of Mysia in Bursa, Turkey). The uphill, mountain race will have an elevation gain of 895M (nearly 3000 vertical feet).

\"This is a great opportunity for Andrew and a tremendous statement for West Virginia. He is one of 4 men within the entire nation to be selected to represent our country at the World Mountain Championships. He will be facing the best mountain runners in the world. As a native West Virginian I can think of no better place than the mountains of the state to develop an athlete to run an uphill race. The hills and mountains of this state, by design, make athletes mentally and physically tough. That mental and physical toughness are two characteristics that set Andrew apart from other distance runners. It takes the right understanding of this sport to embrace the opportunity to race for 5 ½ miles uphill with an elevation gain of nearly 3000 feet. These World Championship races are designed to test the limits of the athletes. Our goal in training over the next month will be to callous Andrew's body so when he arrives in Bursa, Turkey he is ready to show the world what a man from the hills of West Virginia is made of. "--- Steve Taylor, Head Coach University of Richmond

Andrew will attend the University of Richmond this fall where he will compete on the cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field teams. He capped a stellar prep career this past May with the coveted High Point Trophy for the AA classification at the 2006 West Virginia State Track & Field Championships and defended his state titles in the 3,200 (9:30.47) and 1,600 (4:29.52), placed 4th in the 800 and ran on the championship 4x400 relay team scoring 28 points for his team. Andrew has personal best marks of 15:51.00 (5,000M XC), 9:30.47 (3,200), 4:26.20 (1,600) and 1:59.97 (800). He won the 2005 and 2004 AAA West Virginia State Cross Country titles and placed second in 2003 to his brother. While he was a member of the Ravenswood Red Devils team they won four consecutive state cross country championship titles. He was also a starter for the boys\' basketball team that won the 2006 WV Group AA State Basketball Championship. In 2004 he won the Pipestem Mountain Tram Run in Athens, WV. With an elevation gain of 1222 feet over 3.3 miles Andrew ran 19:18 to place 1st.

The city of Bursa, southeast of the Sea of Marmara, lies on the lower slopes of Uludag (Mt. Olympos of Mysia, 2443 meters). The city derives its name from its founder King Prusias, of Bithynia. Its previous antique name was Prussa ad Hypium. It subsequently came under Roman, then Byzantine rule before falling to Orhan Gazi in 1326, when it become the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. Many important Ottoman buildings remain.

Bursa, acclaimed as Turkey\'s Emerald City, contains a rich and underrated historical legacy.
Currently the fourth largest city in Turkey, after Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire in the 14th Century, before the Ottomans took Constantinople.

As such, there is a significant amount of history in the city which attracts a small amount of tourists each year, although these tourists tend to head to the ski-slopes of Uludag, the mountain in whose shadow Bursa was built.

The city is resplendent with monuments to the early Ottoman period and a number of Ottoman Sultans remain buried in Bursa.

Bursa, which was selected by UNESCO as the city in Europe which protects its environment in the most original manner and where nature, history, greenery and architecture are unified in an environment of beautiful harmony.

Uludag is the largest and most celebrated winter-sports center in Turkey. It is 36 kms from Bursa and easily accessible by car or cable-car (teleferik). The area is also a national park and is worth a visit at any time of the year. The accommodation is high quality offering the opportunity to enjoy, with a variety of entertainment and sports activities.

The detailed info about Bursa City and Uludag can be derived via internet with using key words such as "uludag", "bursa".