Americans Janelle Lincks & Darren Thomas Win GTNS 2021 Grand Final

Announcement from the Golden Trail Series supported by American Trail Running Association (ATRA) member Salomon. Photos: Golden Trail Series.

Race day was October 24th – 11:30 AM Local Time (1:30 PM CET) – 31 km – 1,350 meters vertical, Faial Island, The Azores, Portugal

The longest stage was kept for last, and it was probably the most technical as well. This week’s final Golden Trail National Series (GTNS) showdown hosted by the Triangle Adventure by Azores Trail Run was always going to be epic, and it didn’t disappoint! The runners set off at 11:30 am (local time) in the hope of taming the sharp volcanic terrain, grassy slopes, and muddy forest single tracks on Faial Island. At the end of this journey: three GTNS Golden Tickets to be able to compete at the highest international level on 3 of the 2022 Golden Trail Championship races.

Golden Trail

Janelle Lincks on the stage 3 course. Photo: Golden Trail Series.

Women’s Race

She wanted it, and she went all out to get it! Anna-Stina Erkkilä (Team Salomon, Finlande) pushed her body through its limits in the last section to bring home the victory on the third and final stage of the GTNS 2021 Grand Final. “I felt really strong today, she beamed at the finish line. I’d already run a pretty similar stage last year in the Azores and I loved it! I adore these kinds of single tracks between the trees and the technical sections. I honestly didn’t think I’d win the last stage I just wanted to keep in the top 3, but I must admit I had great legs today. I knew Janelle was way too far ahead in the standings to be able to win overall. In the end, we did the whole race together and I won, I don’t know how, leaving her behind on the last uphill just before the end. So, there you have it, I’m qualified for 3 races in the GTC 2022! I’m so proud of myself! I don’t know yet which races I’ll choose, I need to think about which ones are best suited to me, but I can’t wait!”

Janelle Lincks (USA) finished a few seconds behind the Finn and won the 2021 Golden Trail National Series (GTNS) Grand Final. “I enjoyed the whole adventure these last three days, even though I feel completely drained. My legs are toast, I’m dead! Anna-Stinna was really strong today and Jael too. I’m very happy to win this final and qualify for 3 races next year. I’d really love to do Zegama! For the other two I’ll see but it’s really exciting to be able to compete against other runners on this type of race.”

Despite a 4th place on this final stage, Eleanor Davis (UK) succeeded in keeping her spot on the podium. “It’s the first time this week that I’ve suffered so much, she admits. I don’t think I ate enough, and I felt drained, I wasn’t hungry and at the end I was losing it a bit. But I also knew that I was ahead of the fourth, so I tried to relax and enjoy it. I’m really happy to qualify for next year. I’d love to do the Marathon du Mont-Blanc and Sierre-Zinal. Then, if there’s a race in the USA, I will probably go!”

Photo: Golden Trail Series.

Men’s Race

Abraham Hernandes (Mexico) was already impressive on the second stage on São Jorge, once again he showed his talent on Faial today by finishing more than 4 minutes ahead of his first pursuer. “I’m happy because I ran a great race and caught up a lot of time, but it was tough! My legs are toast from the successive days of running. At least I get my podium spot, which was my main goal because now I’m qualified for 3 races next year, it’s really fabulous for me and I’m thrilled!”

Thanks to his second place Daniel Castillo Fernandez (C.A.A Marathon Crevillent, Spain) secures his qualification in the 2022 Golden Trail Championship, by also finishing 2nd in the overall ranking. “It was a different race from the previous days with a combination of tough volcanic terrain and forest trails that were both fast and technical. I’m thrilled with this result because I want to keep improving and for that, to do international races with elite runners is fantastic! This is an amazing opportunity for me.”

Even though he finished third in today’s stage, Darren Thomas (Team Salomon, USA) had too much of lead over his competitors to be caught up in the overall ranking. Therefore, he wins the 2021 Golden Trail National (GTNS) Series Grand Final. “It was a completely new experience for me to do a stage race and it wasn’t easy to manage. I knew I had to be strategic but when I saw Juan Carlos shoot off, I was a trifle scared. Fortunately for me, he blew up and I could catch up with him and confirm my first place overall. I’m really pleased with my qualification because this was my first ever race in Europe and next year, I would love to run the legendary races like Sierre-Zinal or Zegama and go up against the world’s best athletes.”

GTNS Grand Final winner Janelle Lincks (#101). Photo: Golden Trail Series.

GTNS Stage 3 Results

Men

1 – ABRAHAM HERNANDES (MEX): 03:10:56
2 – DANIEL CASTILLO FERNANDEZ (ESP – C.A.A MARATHON CREVILLENT): 03:15:00
3 – DARREN THOMAS (USA – SALOMON): 03:16:38
4 – MORITZ AUF DER HEIDE (GER – ADIDAS TERREX): 03:20:57
5 –JORDAN CLAY (GBR – FREEDOM RACING): 03:24:08

Women

1 – ANNA-STINNA ERKKILÄ (FIN – SALOMON): 03:47:22
2 – JANELLE LINCKS (USA): 03:47:42
3 – JAEL MORALES (MEX): 03:50:30
4 – ELEANOR DAVIS (GBR): 03:57:47
5 – KATARINA LOVRATOVA (SVK): 03:59:23

Photo: Golden Trail Series.

GTNS Overall Ranking

Men

1 – DARREN THOMAS (USA – SALOMON): 08:34:27
2 – DANIEL CASTILLO FERNANDEZ (ESP – C.A.A MARATHON CREVILLENT): 08:38:47
3 – ABRAHAM HERNANDES (MEX): 08:39:33
4 – MORITZ AUF DER HEIDE (GER – ADIDAS TERREX): 08:42:35
5 – JUAN CARLOS CARERA (MEX – BUFF): 08:45:41

Women

1 – JANELLE LINCKS (USA): 10:02:12
2 – ANNA-STINNA ERKKILÄ (FIN – SALOMON): 10:06:11
3 – ELEANOR DAVIS (GBR): 10:18:10
4 – JAEL MORALES (MEX): 10:27:07
5 – KATARINA LOVRATOVA (SVK): 10:35:42

Check out the full race results here: https://resultados.stopandgo.pro/643/Live

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