American Trail Running Association founder and executive director Nancy Hobbs is treasurer of the World Mountain Running Association.
For the last few weeks the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) has been featuring some of the greatest mountain runners in the world, looking back at the last 20-plus years and celebrating the achievements of some truly exceptional athletes. Picking from a list of six men and six women finalists, over four thousand votes were cast from fans around the world for the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) mountain runners. And the winners are…
Joseph Gray (United States) was voted the greatest male mountain runner of all time.
Joseph won the World Mountain Running Championships in 2016 and 2019, he’s the US record holder for the legendary uphill Mount Washington Road Race, he’s won the Pikes Peak Ascent, has an impressive collection of FKTs and he’s come second at Sierre-Zinal. He’s also an 18-time national champion, which just shows his consistency over many years.
Upon being notified he’d been voted greatest of all time men’s mountain runner Joseph said, “I’m really grateful to be voted for by so many folks who participated in this poll. To know people value your accomplishments is always a moment that makes you blush. I’m even more excited about the possibility of something like this helping me inspire that next generation of young minorities to begin their mountain running journey! Thanks a million to all the folks who took part in this fun vote put on by the World Mountain Running Association. There are so many great athletes past and present who are doing great things not only on the trail but off the trail. Let’s keep that positive action moving forward!”
This is what Richard Bolt, Team Leader, USATF Mountain Running Team, had to say about Joseph Gray: “Having watched first hand Joseph’s growth as a mountain runner, I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished since his team debut at the 2008 World Mountain Running Championships. Not only has he been one of the few athletes to win an uphill (2016) and up/down (2019) World Mountain Running Championship, Joseph has excelled across multiple off-road racing disciplines with national championships in cross country, 50k trail, 30k trail, half marathon trail, 15k trail, snowshoe as well as mountain running. His positive attitude and accomplishments off the trail have been just as impressive as an ambassador for multiple top-tier brands, a role model to new US Mountain Running Team members and most recently with his efforts to bring more Black athletes into mountain and trail running.”
Congratulations Joseph on your mountain running achievements and for the inspiration you provide!
Andrea Mayr (Austria) was voted the greatest female mountain runner of all time.
Andrea won six World Mountain Running Championships, was the overall WMRA World Cup winner four times and was virtually unbeatable at the peak of her career. In fact, often only a few men have raced faster than her in large, high profile mountain running races. As well as her incredible success in mountain running she competed at World Athletics Championships on the track and in two summer Olympic Games in London and Rio in the marathon.
Many of her peers cited Andrea as an inspiration in their careers. Sarah Tunstall (Great Britain) said “her longevity, world championship victories, race records and Olympic Games appearances, for me, stand head and shoulders above any of the other ‘greats’.”
Sandor Szabo (Hungary) agreed, saying, “Andrea is really motivating to me. She was one of my biggest opponents when I started mountain running, I got beaten by her so many times. If I was lucky to have enough downhill, I could beat her, but in uphill-only races, I couldn’t do anything.”
Congratulations, Andrea. You are a true legend of the mountain running and inspiration!
In the women’s vote Melissa Moon (New Zealand) came second and Angela Mudge (Scotland) was third. Less than 50 votes separated them.
In the men’s vote Kilian Jornet (Spain) came in second place and Jonathan Wyatt (New Zealand) was in third. As with the women’s contest, it was very close race with less than 100 votes separating them.
The World Mountain Running Association thanks everyone who voted and helped them to celebrate some of the legends of mountain running. They’d love to hear your thoughts on the poll, and any ideas for future polls you’d like to see them organize. Send them a message HERE.