American Sophia Laukli Wins Norway’s Stranda Fjord Trail Race

Announcement from the Golden Trail World Series presented by Salomon. Salomon is a long-time American Trail Running Association member. Photos: @jsaragossa.

On August 6th Jonathan Albon and Sophia Laukli win the Golden Trail World Series’ most technical race!

It was announced as the most technical race in the Golden Trail World Series 2022 and the Stranda Fjord Trail Race (25 km with 1700 meters of vertical) kept all its promises: rain, temperatures hovering around 0°C at the top, steep climbs, rocky downhills, mud, and through all that Jonathan Albon and Sophia Laukli came out victorious!

Sophia Laukli, the new trail running star

Last year we discovered Nienke Brinkman, this year meet Sophia Laukli (Team Salomon, USA). A member of the American Olympic Cross-Country Skiing Team, she has won a few races in the USA including the famous Broken Arrow and recently finished 3rd at the USATF Mountain Running Championships at Whiteface Mountain. But who would’ve believed that she would fly over this GTWS challenge with such technical downhills? But there she was, first across the line with more than 2’30 in front of Élise Poncet (Team Sidas x Matryx, France). “That was definitely the hardest race I’ve ever done in my life, she confided at the finish line. I knew that the girls were particularly strong on technical sections, so I gave it all I had in the climb. This worked to give me a gap and I’m really thrilled with my result. I think I’ll do the races in the USA and afterwards we’ll see. The final is very close to my ski season, but if I’m leading the series in October, it would be difficult not to go. We’ll see.” Élise Poncet on the other hand admits that she relied on her skills on technical terrain to grab this second place. “I may well be a mountain runner but what I love most is when it’s technical! I knew I could do something here, so I just went all out on the downhill. I’m so happy about this second place. Now I’m going to try and do my best at the American races. I know they aren’t my style of races but sometimes you need to go out of your comfort zone and do different things.” Emelie Forsberg (Team Nnormal, Sweden) took third place, very strong on this terrain that she knows well. “Wow! I am so happy with this result. It shows that the training from these past weeks paid off, even if I think if there’d been one or two kilometres more I would have exploded. I need to keep training like this and one thing’s for sure it’s has motivated more than ever!”

Sophia Laukli. Photo: @GoldenTrailSeries | Stranda Fjord Trail Race | @jsaragossa

Jonathan Albon, once again!

He already won the Marathon du Mont-Blanc, and here he is now with a second victory on his favourite terrain. The Brit Jonathan Albon (Team The North Face, UK), who’s been living in Norway for more than 7 years, seemed untouchable today. “It was fun, I only decided to come last week because the race is just near where I live and I couldn’t not go, especially as it’s the first time the GTWS comes to Norway. The race is really different to anything you find in Europe, different paths and different terrain. It’s really interesting to see the best athletes in the world on this type of terrain. I tried to manage the really fast start, and then I reeled it in as planned in the technical section. I didn’t fall, well not in the downhill, I fell in the climb, which is kind of ironic! I’m really happy, and now I’m going to get a shower, have a drink, and I’ll see if I go to Sierre-Zinal next week!” In second position we find another expert technical terrain runner: Manuel Merillas (Team Scarpa, Spain). “It started too fast and even if I wanted to keep up, I decided to let them fly off and keep my energy for the descent. There I started catching up, but once I was with Bart I was suffering. We were running at 2’40 min/km! I’m really pleased with this second place behind Jon because he knows this terrain by heart. Now, I need to decide if I go to Sierre-Zinal and the USA or not for the next part of the Series.” Completing the podium we have another expert on technical terrain, Bart Przedwojewski (Team Salomon, Poland). “What a battle! What a race! I probably gave too much in the climb, but I was feeling so good. In the downhill Jon was really strong in the first section then I fell a couple of times, I think I may have broken my wrist. But I’m so happy to see that I’m really back!”

In one week: Sierre-Zinal

Barely time to digest this third stage and it’s time to go to Sierre-Zinal, which takes place in Switzerland next week. A completely different style of race, with a mostly uphill profile and easy Alpine running trails. Who will come out on top? See you on 13th August for the fourth stage in the GTWS!

Sophia Laukli (center). Photo: @GoldenTrailSeries | Stranda Fjord Trail Race | @jsaragossa

Top Results

1 – JONATHAN ALBON (GBR – THE NORTH FACE): 02:24:02 (+200 pts)
2 – MANUEL MERILLAS (ESP – SCARPA): 02:26:45 (+176 pts)
3 – BART PRZEDWOJEWSKI (POL – SALOMON): 02:26:59 (+156 pts)
4 – FRÉDÉRIC TRANCHAND (FRA – SCOTT): 02:27:40 (+144 pts)
5 – DAVIDE MAGNINI (ITA – SALOMON): 02:29:48 (+136 pts)

1 – SOPHIA LAUKLI (USA – SALOMON): 02:57:36 (+200 pts)
2 – ÉLISE PONCET (FRA – SIDAS X MATRYX): 03:00:13 (+ 176 pts)
3 – EMELIE FORSBERG (SWE – NNORMAL): 03:01:34 (+ 156 pts)
4 – BLANDINE L’HIRONDEL (FRA – EVADICT): 03:01:50 (+144 pts)
5 – SARA ALONSO (ESP – SALOMON): 03:03:52 (+136 pts)

Check out all the Stranda Fjord Trail Race 2022 ranking here.

Find the Golden Trail World Series 2022 overall ranking here.

The Golden Trail World Series stands out as the most stunning trail running show in the world! This circuit takes place on the most beautiful trail races across the world while respecting unique values like parity, equity, transparency, and honesty. The races have been chosen to highlight the most iconic events in this sport today. The Series aims to promote professional trail runners as the world-class athletes that they are, to showcase and protect the awe-inspiring nature and environments where we play and compete, and to acknowledge the amazing, passionate fans as an essential ingredient in the sport. Each of the six races in the Series has been specifically selected because of the scenery, challenges, history, and atmosphere that they offer to both the runners and the public. These are the races that every runner wants to experience and some of the first written on any runner’s bucket list.

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