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. Photos: WMRA / Canfranc-Canfranc.
There was a huge amount of excitement for the first ever WMRA Mountain Running World Cup race in Spain on Saturday 11th September! Canfranc-Canfranc served up two races for us this weekend. Firstly, the 45k race on Saturday, September 11 was round 9 of this year’s World Cup, our next long mountain running race. Sunday, September 12 it’s the 16k classic mountain running race for round 10.
The 45k race here is renowned for being tough. It’s technical and rugged, with 4 climbs of between 250m and 1400m, and of course it’s one of our longest races in the World Cup. On the start line we had some great runners, who we knew from previous WMRA performances were strong over the distance.
For the men we had 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. Basque runner Ugaitz Artola (ESP) was also hotly tipped. In the women’s starting line up were Charlotte Morgan (GBR), 2018 WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Champion currently lying 3rd in our World Cup standings, Eva Mesado (ESP), the 2020 runner-up here, and Olivia Magnone (FRA) also expected to be challenging for the podium.
As COVID-19 restrictions were still in place at Canfranc the runners set off in small groups at 1 minute intervals. These small gaps were soon to become bigger gaps as the first climb of 1400m kicked in. In the women’s race Morgan struck out into an early lead and by the top of the first climb at Moleta she was 4 minutes in front of Magnone, who in turn was 2 minutes ahead of Mesado. Similarly, in the men’s race it was Fran Naval (ESP), who had a clear lead of 3 minutes over Frano, with Criado and Inigo Macias snapping at his heels, just 30 seconds behind.
One long descent and another big ascent (of 800m) and descent later, and by the 28k Candanchu checkpoint it was all change in the men’s race. Frano was now in the lead, but Criado was just 30 seconds behind. A gap of 3 minutes had opened back to Naval in 3rd, with Macias another minute behind him. In the women’s race Morgan had really begun to stretch out a lead and she passed through Candanchu with a lead of 16 minutes over Magnone, with Mesado 3 minutes behind. It seemed unlikely that Morgan could be caught, but the men’s race could still go to any of the top 4.
Who would we see running into the finish first? In the end it was Frano, who looked incredibly fresh and took the win in 5.38.16. Criado just couldn’t hang onto the 2nd place he’d battled for for so long and it was Macias who came in as runner-up in 5.42.48, with Criado completing the men’s podium in 5.43.23.
It was no surprise to see Morgan coming in to win the women’s race, though the cuts on her knee and face showed that it hadn’t been an easy final section! Her time was 6.38.09, which put her in 8th place overall. Magnone was 2nd in 6.57.14 and Mesado 3rd in 7.01.37, with a gap of over 10 minutes on 4th.
An exciting day of racing, which bodes well for tomorrow’s more fast and furious 16k race where Grayson Murphy will try to repeat her success from last weekend’s Trofeo Nasego, against tough competition from France and Spain, and Antonio Martinez will go for his second consecutive win in the men’s race.
Full results for the 45K and today’s (Sunday) 16K race are on this website.
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