Grayson Murphy Finishes 2nd at Italy’s Vertical Nasego 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.

Victory for Andrea Mayr (Austria) and Henri Aymonod (Italy) in the first event of the weekend.

The sun shone and excitement was high for the first race in this weekend’s Mountain Running World Cup double header. Vertical Nasego, a short uphill race at 2.6 miles with 3300 feet of ascent, was stage 7 of this year’s World Cup competition, and what a way to kick off proceedings!

On the women’s start line we had 6-time World Mountain Running Champion and legend of uphill running, Andrea Mayr (AUT), who has very rarely been beaten at a short uphill race. But lining up beside her was Grayson Murphy (USA), 2019 World Mountain Running Champion, 2-time USATF Mountain Running National Champion and US Olympic Trials qualifier in steeplechase, racing in Europe for the very first time. Add into the mix Lucy Murigi (KEN), Joyce Njeru (KEN) and Susanna Saapunki (FIN), plus a strong Italian contingent including Alice Gaggi, Erica Ghelfi, and Alessia Scaini, and we knew we were in for a fantastic race.

Grayson Murphy

Grayson Murphy. Photo: Marco Gulberti.

The men’s race also promised to be an epic duel. Henri Aymonod (ITA) was the favorite, having won this race and Chiavenna Lagunc last year, plus Piz Tri Vertikal this year, but he was facing some serious competition. Timothy Kirui (KEN) and Petro Mamu (ERI) were well-established competition for him, but there was also plenty of up-and-coming talent to make it even more exciting. Zak Hanna (IRL), Tiziano Moia (ITA) and Andrea Rostan (ITA) would all be doing their best to make their mark here.

Grayson Murphy took a small lead over Andrea Mayr in the early stages, with Joyce Njeru a little way behind in 3rd. But as the race progressed Mayr eased past Murphy and stretched out her lead in the dominant way we’re so used to seeing. She reached the white finishing gantry first in a time of 38.51, which was the 10th fastest of the day overall. Murphy finished just over a minute behind in 2nd and then there was a gap of over 2 minutes to Joyce Njery in 3rd.

The men’s race was somewhat close. Henri Aymonod couldn’t be beaten and he won in 35.38, but 22 year old compatriot Andrea Rostan was snapping at his heels, just 22 seconds behind him. Petro Mamu was just 12 seconds behind Rostan (36.12), so just 34 seconds separated the men’s podium! Zak Hanna was just 6 seconds behind Mamu.

Sunday we get to do it all again! If today was anything to go by, tomorrow’s Trofeo Nasego will be unmissable!


  1. Andrea Mayr (AUT) 38.51
  2. Grayson Murphy (USA) 40.08
  3. Joyce Njeru (KEN) 42.19
  4. Erica Ghelfi (ITA) 42.41
  5. Susanna Saapunki (FIN) 43.26


  1. Henri Aymonod (ITA) 35.38
  2. Andrea Rostan (ITA) 36.00
  3. Petro Mamu (ERI) 36.12
  4. Zak Hanna (IRL) 36.18
  5. Tiziano Moia (ITA) 37.15
Grayson Murphy

Women’s podium. Photo: Marco Gulberti.

Full results at: