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: Alexis Courthoud.
After Saturday’s exciting racing at Vertical Nasego, expectation was very high for today’s Trofeo Nasego – a classic 13 mile mountain running race with 4400 feet of climbing. With a strong field of contenders, it was a race which promised a lot and delivered even more!
In the women’s Vertical Nasego yesterday we saw a real battle between Andrea Mayr (AUT) and Grayson Murphy (USA), with Mayr coming out on top in the short, 2.5 mile steep uphill race. This set up a fascinating rematch in Trofeo Nasego, the longer race at 13 miles, with an up and down profile (4400’ of total ascent). Would Mayr’s experience and strength shine through, or would Murphy’s raw speed and power over seemingly any distance be decisive? Or would any one of many other strong female athletes, including Lucy Wambui (KEN), Sarah McCormack (IRL), Joyce Njeru (KEN), Francesca Ghelfi (ITA) and Erica Ghelfi (ITA), to name but a few, challenge the expected favorites?
The men’s race was equally enticing after Vertical Nasego’s opener. Henri Aymonod (ITA) seems unbeatable on short, uphill races, but could he do the double here? Cesare Maestri (ITA) took a fantastic 3rd place at Sierre-Zinal a few weeks ago; could he have another strong World Cup run here? Marek Chrascina (CZE) finished just behind Maestri at the last World Mountain Running Championships and recently finished 3rd at the Krkonossky Half Marathon, so was also one to watch. And of course, as ever there was a strong contingent of Kenyan athletes including Geoffrey Ndungu, Eric Muthoni and Timothi Kirui in the mix.
In the women’s race Murphy led it out from the start, initially with Njeru and Wambui, with McCormack and Mayr right behind them. Maestri took it out for the men, with a pack of runners including Aymonod, Petro Mamu (ERI), Kirui, Martin DeMatteis (ITA) and Muthoni. Nobody was giving an inch in the men’s race in the early stages.
By 6 miles things had changed. Murphy was still leading the women, with a very small gap to Njeru, and Mayr was around 20 seconds behind them, opening a gap on the other women. Murphy and Njeru continued to stretch out their lead over the next few km. In the men’s race Mamu and Muthoni had opened up a small lead over a chasing pack which included Maestri and Kirui. There was still a long way to go but gaps were opening.
At 8 miles the leaders were doing some damage to those behind them on the big climb up to Refugio Nasego and this was to prove decisive. Now Mamu had a 30 second lead over Maestri and Kirui, and in the women’s race Murphy had managed to open up a 2 minute lead over Andrea Mayr, with Njeru behind her in 3rd. Now the question was: could anybody close those gaps on the big descent?
In a word: no! Murphy maintained her 2 minute buffer and even added to it a little, winning in a new course record of 1.45.56. Mayr held onto 2nd and finished in 1.48.15, with Francesca Ghelfi putting in a fantastic 2nd half of the race to take 3rd in 1.49.53. Njeru lost quite a bit of ground in the 2nd half and finished 4th in 1.52.11, with Alice Gaggi (ITA) 5th in 1.54.37.
Mamu also stretched out his lead on the descent, taking the win in 1.33.55, also a course record. Maestri took 2nd in 1.36.02, managing to hold off Eric Muthoni, who was just 25 seconds behind him. The gap to 4th was even closer, with just 5 seconds separating Muthoni and Ndungu. Martin DeMatteis finished in 5th in 1.36.55.
Another incredible weekend of mountain running in this year’s WMRA Mountain Running World Cup!
Full results can be found at: https://www.endu.net/en/events/trofeo-nasego/results
The next stop for the World Cup is another double-header at Spain’s Canfranc-Canfranc races on September 11th and 12th. The long 28 mile mountain race will take place on the Saturday and the classic 10 mile mountain race on the Sunday.
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