American Grayson Murphy to Run Spain’s Canfranc Canfranc Mountain Race

Announcement from the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA). The American Trail Running Association is a WMRA media partner and will be providing coverage of all sixteen events in the 2021 Mountain Running World Cup. ATRA founder Nancy Hobbs is a member of the WMRA Council. Photo Above: Marco Gulberti.

World Mountain Running Champion Grayson Murphy (Bozeman, Montana) will race in this Sunday’s Canfranc Canfranc 16k mountain running event in Pyrenees mountains of Northern Spain. Grayson is fresh off winning last weekend’s Trofeo Nasego race in Italy along with a strong second place finish at the Vertical Nasego. The Former Utah track and field standout and five time All-American also ran 9:25.55 at the US Olympic Trials steeplechase event this past June.

Last month Grayson successfully defended her title at the USATF Mountain Running Championships and qualified to represent the US at the World Mountain & Trail Running Championships this coming February in Thailand. Follow Grayson’s progress in the Canfranc Canfranc 16k race beginning Sunday at 9:00 AM Central European Time on the events Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Grayson Murphy

Grayson Murphy winning Trofeo Nasego. Photo: Alexis Courthoud.

Canfranc-Canfranc celebrates its 15th edition this year, as a mountain race whose reputation has been growing over the last few years. There are many elements which make it an incredibly special event and the WMRA is very happy to be including it in the World Cup for the first time this year. It is also the very first time in the 22 years of WMRA World Cup history that a Spanish event will host the series, soon to be followed by nearby Zumaia Flysch Trail on October 3rd.

Canfranc Canfranc takes place in the famous belle epoque alpine village of Canfran-Estación. A small mountain town in the province of Huesca in the Aragonese Pyrenees. The town is at 4000 feet above sea level but all around are peaks of over 2,500 metres.

The weather is usually comfortable for running in the summer, normally between 70 and 80 Fahrenheit, and the winter enjoys heavy snowfall. The area is perfect for trail running, with over 300 miles of trails marked out as part of the impressive ESPACIO TRAIL CANFRANC Project. The weather, the trails and the prestige of the already successful mountain races here make it a perfect location for a World Cup event.

The Courses

The 2021 program for Canfranc includes five races: 5k (juniors) 16k, 45k, 75k and 100k, Among them, Canfranc will host two WMRA Mountain Running World Cup races this weekend: The marathon to be held at the 45k long distance mountain race on Saturday. Plus the 16k classic mountain race on Sunday. These two events will be stages 9 and 10 in this year’s WMRA Mountain Running World Cup.

Canfranc Canfranc Marathon 45K: The long-distance event, the 45k race, has an incredible 13,000 feet of ascent, which is packed into 4 climbs. The runners are faced with a climb of 4500 feet right from the gun, which should help to create some early gaps. They will then face 3 more climbs of 2500′, 2000′, and finally 800′.

Canfranc Canfranc Classic 16K: In the 16k (10 miles) race the runners will also be faced with a huge climb of 4500 feet from the start right to the summit of “La Moleta”. It is a wild up and down. They ascend over 6k, then it’s a long, rugged 10k of descent back down to the finish, including the final home stretch over a section of the famous “Camino de Santiago”.

There are some really exciting local and international athletes taking part, which will surely shake up the WMRA Mountain Running World Cup standings even further.

Charlotte Morgan

Charlotte Morgan (GBR). Photo: Richard Bolt.

Marathon

In the 45k race we have Peter Frano (SVK), winner of Tatra SkyMarathon this year, and Raul Criado (ESP), who was 3rd at Tatra SkyMarathon and was 12th here last year for the men. Ugaitz Artola (ESP) will head the always talented field of basque runners at this race.

In the women’s race we’ll be seeing Charlotte Morgan (GBR), the 2018 World Long Distance Mountain Running World Champion who is currently lying 3rd in the WMRA World Cup standings, with her highlights being winning Tatra Race Run and coming 3rd in Tatra SkyMarathon. She will face the 2020 runner-up here, Eva Mesado (ESP) as her key rival, with Olivia Magnone (FRA) as an alternate candidate.

Classic 16K

In the 16k the WMRA is really excited to see 2019 World Mountain Running Champion Grayson Murphy (USA) back for more European action, after her win at Trofeo Nasego (and 2nd place at Vertical Nasego) last weekend. However, Canfranc-Canfranc will be her first experience of racing in Spain, facing the wild vertical climbs and technical descents on which locals thrive. She will face the 2020 winner of the race and course record holder Servant Nadege (FRA), who has also had strong runs at La Montee du Nid d’Aigle and Grossglockner this year. Other rivals include Spain´s current gold and silver at the 2021 National Championship, Nuria Gil (ESP) and Yolanda Martín (ESP), as well.

In the men’s race, 2020 winner Antonio Martinez (ESP) comes back for a double. He will face international talents such as Sandor Szabo (HUN), 4th in the World Cup standaings at the moment. But they will face very strong competition from local athletes who have already proved themselves in this region, including Iñigo Aranzamendi, Roger Comellas, and specially a motivated Ion Sola, who was 4th in the 2020 Canfranc Canfranc 16k, besting the 2021 Skyrunning Vertical Kilometer World Champion Daniel Osanz.

Canfranc

Photo: Canfranc Canfranc

A Race To Love And Protect The Mountains

As ever in this part of the Spain, there is strong local support for this mountain running race. Fernando Sánchez, Mayor of Canfranc says, “In Canfranc we are happy to continue seeing our Canfranc-Canfranc mountain races grow, with enthusiasm and affection, year after year. 2021 brings us once again an occasion where the Aragonese Pyrenees will not only break records for popular participation yet again, but also host the national and world elite of mountain racing.

Our Jacetania region will thus host for the first time in its history the WMRA World Cup, where Collarada, Aspe or La Moleta will see the absolute world elite compete in Classic and Long Distance. In addition, we also host the RFEA 2021 Spanish Mountain Championships for Youth and Veterans. Because sport is for everyone, of all ages and that is how we have always wanted to promote it in Canfranc.

A double achievement, at the level of popular sports and sports elite that we have to thank for the work and affection of all the residents of Canfranc and Jacetania. Without their support as volunteers, collaborators and organization of the event year after year, it would never have been possible to make this corner of the Pyrenees the world reference event this weekend for mountain sports.”

Canfranc

Photo: Canfranc Canfranc

About the WMRA Mountain Running World Cup:
Races take place between June 2021 and October 2021 in 8 countries. There are 12 event locations and 16 races in 3 categories: short uphill; classic mountain race; long mountain race. Runners can take part in as many races as they want, and they get points for their finishing positions. Their best 7 results in the World Cup races count towards their final ranking. The points scoring format is cumulative. Finishing positions in a WMRA World Cup race range from 100 points for first to 1 point for 30th. There are separate competitions for men and women and athletes must compete in at least two races in order to be considered in the final rankings. See full calendar for World Cup races at: https://www.wmra.info/calendar/2021-major-events

The current, reigning World Cup champions are Sarah McCormack and Andrew Douglas.

About the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA):
Formed in 1984, we are the global governing body for mountain running and we have the goal of promoting mountain running for all ages and abilities. As well as the World Cup we organize Masters, U18 and regional championships and this year we will work in partnership with the World Athletics, International Trail Running Association (ITRA) and the International Association of Ultrarunners IAU to deliver the first World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Thailand. More information at: www.wmra.info

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