Written by Alexander Beaven for the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA). American Trail Running Association (ATRA) executive director Nancy Hobbs is the WMRA general secretary. Photos: Jan Houska.
The Czech town of Janské Lázně hosted the third Silver Label race of the 2022 Valsir Mountain Running World Cup this past Sunday August 7th.
The town hosted multiple Masters and Under 18 championships over the years before the World Cup came to town last year, with Geoffrey Ndungu and Joyce Njeru coming away victorious. As it did in 2021, the 22km, 1,220m+ race, from Colonnade Square in the town centre to the forest trails around the peak of Černá hora and back again, also hosted the Czech Long Distance Mountain Running Championship.
With last year’s Czech long distance champion Barbora Macurová unable to start due to illness, it was Hana Švestková Stružková who stepped up to claim the vacant title. She came into the race with good recent form; 3rd at the Czech Up and Down Championships in June, 10th at the European Championships in July. But her run here was a step up from either of those performances, posting a time of 1:47:58, over 2 minutes faster than last year’s winner Joyce Njeru.
Barbora Jíšová, a strong championship performer on the track for a number of years but a debutant in mountain running, also eclipsed Njeru’s time from 2021, coming into Colonnade Square in 1:29:32 to take second place.
Gabriela Veigertová was the best placed of last year’s returning runners, taking almost 4 minutes off her 2021 time to move from 4th onto the podium. Adéla Stránská also improved one place from 5th to 4th, while last year’s 3rd place finisher Pavla Schorná Matyášová took 5th.
For Stránská, the 12 Mountain Running World Cup points earned here combine with the 30 she won at Grossglockner Berglauf to more her up to 5th in the World Cup standings.
In the men’s race there was disappointment for Marek Chrascina. The multiple time Czech champion and World Championship medallist in 2019 was unable to finish, not yet fully recovered from the injury which kept him out of the European Championships.
In a field full of athletes with huge numbers of championship medals across a range of disciplines, it was a relative newcomer who prevailed. Matěj Zima, fresh from a period training at altitude in Livigno, Italy, took the win in 1:34:06. After 6th and 8th places at the national short course races in the last 2 years, the 24 year old found himself on the top step of his first championship podium.
By contrast, second place went to a seasoned campaigner; Vit Pavlišta’s silver medal is the 34th national medal in his collection, across road, track, cross country and mountain running. Third place, exactly one minute further back, was Viktor Šinágl in 1:36:00.
Tomáš Křivohlávek improved on his 2021 time by 9 minutes to move from 14th to 4th, while Ondřej Fejfar took a minute off last year’s time to finish 5th.
Complete results can be found here [PDF].
The Valsir Mountain Running World Cup continues this weekend as elite athletes from around the world descend on the Swiss canton of Valais for the race of the five 4,000s, Sierre-Zinal.
About the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup:
With 12 Gold Label races across 6 countries and 9 locations, and a further 5 Silver Label races in 5 different countries, the 2022 World Mountain Running Association’s Valsir Mountain Running World Cup promises 5 months of quality racing in the mountains. All World Cup events are World Athletics (WA) Permit Mountain Races. Races fall into one of 3 categories; Short Uphill, Classic Mountain and Long Mountain. As well as the overall World Cup standings, calculated from an athlete’s best 6 results, there will also be a classification for each category, calculated from an athlete’s best 3 results in that category.
About the WMRA:
Formed in 1984, the World Mountain Running Association is the global governing body for mountain running and has the goal of promoting mountain running for all ages and abilities. As well as the Valsir World Cup, the WMRA organizes Masters, U18 and area championships and this year will work in partnership with the World Athletics, ITRA and IAU to deliver the inaugural World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The WMRA also maintains the Mountain Running World Ranking, a system of points allocated to athletes based on the results in designated races. More information on the WMRA website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.