Allie McLaughlin Wins Stage 1 at the Golden Trail Series Grand Final

Announcement from the Golden Trail Series presented by Salomon Running | October 26th, 2022, Start 9:00 am, 24.5km, 1,540 meters V+ | Seixal, Madeira, Portugal. Photo above: @jsaragossa.

Eli Hemming (USA) finishes 7th in the men’s race. Morgan Elliott (USA) followed in 42nd place. Finishing behind Allie in the women’s race were Sophia Laukli (USA) in 4th, Bailey Kowalczyk (USA) in 10th and 2022 USATF Mountain Running Champion Tabor Hemming (USA) in 19th place.

Allie and Morgan will join the rest of Team USA next week at the inaugural World Mountain & Trail Running Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The October rain lashed the peaks of Madeira Island. The conditions were rough for the start of the first stage of the Golden Trail Series Grand Final, which is probably the most technical stage out of the five stages in store for the runners this week. Today’s program had a steep climb taking the runners up to 1,400 metres above sea level before attacking the downhill, which was just as steep, and strewn with a mish-mash of slippery wet stones, rocks, roots, and steps.

Allie McLaughlin (USA). Photo: @joaomfaria.

Allie McLaughlin, a successful landing!

Her plane had barely touched down from her final flight, Allie McLaughlin (Team On Running, USA) took three days to reach Madeira, due to flight cancellations and delays. She arrived at 2 am at the hotel, without her luggage, and yet she was at the start line the same morning beaming from ear to ear. She crossed the finish line in first place 2h30min later with the same smile.

“I hadn’t felt this good since Mount Marathon! You would’ve thought that the trip would’ve drained me but in fact I managed to rest well between each flight and was philosophical about it. I fell into a huge puddle, and I thought I’d killed my phone. I saw Nienke behind me just before the downhill and even though my legs were jello I love the downhill, so I said this is where I have to pull away or she’s gonna catch me! I don’t think I will do all the stages, but no doubt this evening when I see the ranking, I may change my mind, we’ll see.”

Nienke Brinkman (Team Nike Trail, The Netherlands) took her first loss this season.

“I’m very satisfied with this second place! I ran conservatively in the downhill, I broke my wrist recently when I fell, and I didn’t want to break a second one. I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch Allie anyway, I just hoped no one else would catch me! I feel good and pretty fresh for the next round, I just wanted to be careful today. The weather conditions were pretty harsh and cold, it was very slippery, but I really want to make the most of this race and the island. I’m just happy to have succeeded and not destroyed my body today!”

Élise Poncet (Team Sidas X Matryx, France) came in third place after a ferocious downhill.

“I’ve just joined the land of the mutants! In trail running there are mutants like Nienke, Maude, Allie, and Sophia, and then there’s humans like us! But today I proved to myself that I too can be at their level. But to do that I had to take massive risks in the downhill. I’m really proud of myself and this result, but I think it’ll force me to rest on the next stage. I’ll see how I recover but I don’t want put my health in danger and I can feel that I burned a lot of energy and my muscles and joints have taken a beating.”

Sophia Laukli (USA). Photo: @joaomfaria.

Rémi Bonnet on top form!

We knew this stage’s profile would suit Rémi Bonnet (Team Salomon, Switzerland), who certainly forged a gap on the climb before keeping his pursuers at bay on the treacherous downhill. Only Elhousine Elazzaoui (Team Pini Mountain Racing, Morocco) was able to follow the Swiss on the first part of the race course, both beating their pursuers by almost 5 minutes at the finish. In the end, the final victory was raced between these two in the downhill, and it was Rémi Bonnet who pipped the post in first place.

“I felt really good today,” he confided at the finish line. “I played for the climbing segment but without putting myself too much over the limit. Once the segment was over, I kept in control by lowering my heart rate. Only Elhousine kept up with me, I was afraid he’d catch me on the runnable parts because he goes very fast. But when I heard him catching up in the downhill, I gave it some gas and it worked. I was surprised at how well I did on the downhill, it’s the first time I’ve had such a good pace. I was feeling fit today, I can’t wait for the next stages!”

Elhousine Elazzaoui was very happy with his second place.

“The downhill isn’t my strong point,” he explained. “Rémi is very strong, he did a great job! I wasn’t far from winning my first race of the Golden but there’s still four more stages to go, so we’ll see!”

Petro Mamu (Team Scarpa, Eretria) completes the ELITE men’s podium, and he’s not used to these kind of racing conditions.

“I’m really pleased with this third position! It was hard today with very technical sections, but I didn’t do too badly. Here, the terrain is varied with difficult conditions, especially because I had a problem with my foot, but it seems ok now. There are four more races, I need to rest and try and do as well, but I’m happy with my third place!”

Note that Manuel Merillas (Team Scarpa, Spain) was disqualified from the today’s stage for not respecting the race rules, having left his poles at the top of the climb.

Eli Hemming (USA). Photo: @joaomfaria.

The OPEN category

In the OPEN category it was Manuel Innerhofer (Austria) for the men and Malen Osa (Spain) for the women who came out on top.

“It was tough, and the weather was harsh, but I prefer that than when it’s hot,” confided Manuel Innerhofer at the finish line. “I feel pretty good and I’m looking forward to the next stage.”

Satisfied with her race Malen Osa is now wondering about the rest of the week.

“I felt really good. In the climb I was feeling really great, but I didn’t want to push too hard in the downhill because I’ve never done a stage race like this before and I’m not sure how I will recover. I hope to feel like I did today.”

Beyond the individual rankings the Golden Trail National Series runners compete for a team ranking, with the times of the top two men and top two women from each team combined for the ranking. So, vying for this title today the GTNS ALL/AUT/CHE was the strongest, just 2 minutes ahead of GTNS ITALY and the GTNS FRA complete the podium already 20 minutes behind.

Tabor Hemming (USA). Photo: @joaomfaria.




1 – RÉMI BONNET (CHE – SALOMON/RED BULL): 02:04:41 (+100 pts)
3 – PETRO MAMU (ERI – SCARPA): 02:11:44 (+78 pts)
4 – THIBAUT BARONIAN (FRA – SALOMON): 02:12:07 (+72 pts)
5 – ROBERT PKEMBOI (KEN – SKY RUNNERS KENYA) 02:12:14 (+68 pts)


1 – ALLIE MACLAUGHLIN (USA – ON RUNNING): 02:30:25 (+100 pts)
2 – NIENKE BRINKMAN (NLD – NIKE TRAIL): 02:33:20 (+ 88 pts)
3 – ELISE PONCET (FRA – SIDAS X MATRYX): 02:34:37 (+ 78 pts)
4 – SOPHIA LAUKLI (USA – SALOMON): 02:35:50 (+72 pts)
5 – CAITLIN FIELDER (NZL – SALOMON): 02:40:44 (+68 pts)


1 – GTNS GER/AUT/CH: 10:20:07
2 – GTNS ITALY: 10:22:46
3 – GTNS FRA: 10:49:49
4 – GTNS ESP/POR: 11:08:58
5 – GTNS MEXICO: 11:10:06

Complete Results

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.

Bailey Kowalczyk (USA). Photo: @joaomfaria.

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