Announcement from the Golden Trail Series presented by Salomon Running | October 30th, 2022, Start 9:00 AM, 30.5 KM, 1,555 meters V+ | Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. Above photo: @joaomfaria.
Rémi Bonnet and Allie McLaughlin finish in style by winning the last stage in the 2022 GTWS Grand Final. Allie to race inaugural World Mountain & Trail Running Championships in Thailand later this week!
Sophia Laukli (USA) took 4th place in stage 5 followed closely by Bailey Kowalczyk (USA) in 5th place. In the men’s stage 5 race, Eli Hemming (USA) finished in 10th place. In the overall GTWS standings after five stages and 10+ total hours of racing, Bailey Kowalczyk (USA) ended up 2nd for the women while Eli Hemming (USA) was the top American man in 7th.
She turned 32 today! And what better way to celebrate it! Allie McLaughlin (Team On Running, USA) took victory on the Golden Trail World Series’ last stage.
“I wore fancy dress today,” she said at the finish line. “it was really cool to hear the supporters at the top saying ‘oh look it’s Harley Quinn!’ I’m really thankful to be a part of the Golden running community. We’re on an incredible island, everyone loves running, we share the same passion, what better birthday present could I wish for! It’s true, I set off at a ‘fun pace’ – some would say a hard pace – I was with a group of guys in the climb, but I couldn’t keep up with them. I felt great, even if I think I pushed it a bit too hard, especially as there was still a way to go in the downhill. I was told that Nienke couldn’t catch me now, but I didn’t believe it so gave it all I had till the finish line!”
Just behind her was the Golden Trail World Series 2022 winner: Nienke Brinkman (Team Nike Trail, The Netherlands).
“I’m wrecked,” she said at the finish line. “I’m really pleased with this week; I gave everything I had and now I need a break! But I really wanted to do all the stages, even though I had already won the GTWS with yesterday’s result. I also wanted to thank my parents and my family who came here and were so much support on this race, it was amazing!”
Julie Roux (Team Salomon, France) completes the day’s podium, she has been gaining momentum throughout the week.
“I felt pretty good today. I wanted to play this stage’s Sprint segment and here I caught up with Bailey. So I suddenly felt euphoric and told myself I was going to really go for it right up to the finish. I’m thrilled with this result and my entire week!”
Out of the 450 points available to win in this Grand Final, Rémi Bonnet (Team Salomon/Red Bull, Switzerland) won 444! Only Elhousine Elazzaoui (Team Pini Mountain Racing, Morocco) managed to beat him this week, and that was only on the 6-km time trail. Despite knowing he’d already won the GTWS 2022, the Swiss couldn’t chill out on this final stage.
“I think it was the toughest,” he explained. “The legs were burning from the start, but mentally I was feeling really strong and I pushed through the pain. I love stairs because I’m always faster than the others when there are stairs, so here I pushed extra hard and made the most of them. The last downhill was tough, I started getting blisters on my toes, so I slowed down a bit, it was a long downhill. I couldn’t just chill out today, when I put on a race bib, I always go full gaz!”
In second place was Elhousine Elazzaoui.
“Honestly, it was war today! We were fighting against each other in the group chasing the leader. Petro Mamu and I worked together, he helped me so much today. We took it in turns to spur the other one on, sometimes he was pulling me sometimes it was me pulling him, and it worked! I’m really happy because I finished in second place in the GTWS 2022 overall ranking. My dream was to finish in the top 3 and I did it!”
And so, it’s his “teammate” of the day, Petro Mamu (Team Scarpa, Eritrea) who comes away with third place.
“I’m really pleased with this third place! Elhousine and I had an agreement, and I must thank him from the bottom of my heart because he helped me a lot today. I loved today’s race course which was less technical and suited me much better. It was longer than the other days, so I started out slowly before accelerating in the last 12 kilometres. I’m very happy how I managed my race today.”
Overall GTS Final Winners
There wasn’t too much suspense… Having taken a huge lead during the season and this week’s first stages, Rémi Bonnet and Nienke Brinkman were sure to be crowned champions before the Grand Final was over. But behind them everything could still change. This was in fact the case with the men where Elhousine Elazzaoui had to work hard to wear down Thibaut Baronian (Team Salomon, France) in order to grab second place. The Frenchman, who was aiming for a top 3 this year, was nevertheless happy with his third spot on the podium.
“It was my goal,” he explained, “and so I’m really thrilled to have achieved it. I tried to keep up with Elhousine today, but he was too strong for me in the last section and on the flat, congratulations to him!”
In the women’s field, behind Nienke Brinkman was Sophia Laukli (Team Salomon, USA) who had to work really hard to keep her second place, and she’s already preparing her ski season.
“I had to do four stages out of five to keep hold of my position. I’m really happy, I really had fun this year, even if this week has left its mark on my body”.
Sara Alonso (Team Salomon, Spain) completes the women’s podium.
In the OPEN category, Manuel Innerhofer (Team Salomon, Austria) and Malen Osa (Team Salomon, Spain) win this final and therefore win their Golden Ticket to the GTWS 2023.
“I’m really very happy with this result. Thomas Roach, my GTNS teammate, and I always run together, but I was a bit faster in the downhill. But what really matters is securing the win for the GTNS and the first two places in the OPEN category”.
For Malen Osa, this stage was definitely the toughest.
“I was trashed,” she admitted at the finish. “I felt like I had nothing left in the tank and it was so hard, but I did it! I’m so pleased to finish in first place and to win my ticket for the GTWS 2023!”
Don’t forget, the second and third places in the OPEN category also win a Golden Ticket for next year.
DACH led the entire week: the GTNS ALL/AUT/CHE win this team final with over one and a half hour’s lead in front of the GTNS ITALY. The GTNS ESP/POR complete this ranking’s podium.
ELITES – STAGE 5
1 – RÉMI BONNET (CHE – SALOMON/RED BULL): 02:20:05 (+100 pts)
2 – ELHOUSINE ELAZZAOUI (MAR – PINI MOUNTAIN RACING): 02:25:05 (+88 pts)
3 – PETRO MAMU (ERI – SCARPA): 02:25:13 (+78 pts)
4 – RUY UEDA (JAP – RED BULL): 02:25:20 (+72 pts)
5 – THIBAUT BARONIAN (FRA – SALOMON): 02:26:28 (+68 pts)
1 – ALLIE MCLAUGHLIN (USA – ON RUNNING): 02:39:34 (+100 pts)
2 – NIENKE BRINKMAN (NLD – NIKE TRAIL): 02:46:42 (+ 88 pts)
3 – JULIE ROUX (FRA – SALOMON): 02:50:55 (+ 78 pts)
4 – BAILEY KOWALCZYK (USA – SALOMON): 02:51:31 (+ 72 pts)
5 – SOPHIA LAUKLI (USA – SALOMON): 02:52:52 (+68 pts)
1 – RÉMI BONNET (CHE – SALOMON/RED BULL): 968 pts
2 – ELHOUSINE ELAZZAOUI (MAR – PINI MOUNTAIN RACING): 720 pts
3 – THIBAUT BARONIAN (FRA – SALOMON): 714 pts
4 – RUY UEDA (JAP – RED BULL): 686 pts
5 – ELI HEMMING (USA – AEROBIC MONSTERS): 634 pts
1 – NIENKE BRINKMAN (NLD – NIKE TRAIL): 1026 pts
2 – SOPHIA LAUKLI (USA – SALOMON): 799 pts
3 – SARA ALONSO (ESP – SALOMON): 782 pts
4 – ÉLISE PONCET (FRA – SIDAS X MATRYX): 702 pts
5 – BAILEY KOWALCZYK (USA – SALOMON): 680 pts
GTNS TEAMS OVERALL RANKING
1 – GTNS GER/AUT/CHE: 46:29:11
2 – GTNS ITALY: 48:01:04
3 – GTNS ESP/POR: 50:36:08
4 – GTNS JAPAN: 51:38:15
5 – GTNS MEX: 52:45:16
Editor’s Note: Athletes competing in the Golden Trail Series are forced to participate in the QUARTZ health policy – a non-WADA complaint testing regime that purports to be an anti-doping program.
Two-time World Mountain Running Champion Joseph Gray said the following about QUARTZ after his refusal to participate at Golden Trail Series race Pikes Peak Ascent this past August “My decision not to participate in the QUARTZ testing at Pikes Peak is based on my opinion that this is not a sufficient drug testing program compared to US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which I am completely compliant with. In my opinion, our sport needs real drug testing, not a company parading as one yet only serving as a “health checkup.”
You can learn more about WADA anti-doping and other testing programs in our six part clean sport series written by 2017 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship silver medalist Tayte Pollmann.