Juniors Deliver Excitement on Final Day of World Mountain and Trail Running Championships

Announcement from the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA). Written by Kirsty Reade.

Victories for Uganda and Great Britain in exciting Junior Classic Mountain races.

Junior Runners Deliver Exciting Start to Final Day of 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, Innsbruck, 10th June 2023, the Junior Classic Mountain Race kicks off the final day of events at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships.

The course

The classic junior race started and finished in Innsbruck town and it was a fast and furious up and downhill course. The 7.4 km route took the runners across the Inn on the Europaratsallee and to the trails on the Nordkette, climbing steeply up to Gramartboden, then heading through the forest to top out at 937m. There then followed a long descent on steep, tree root-covered trails back to the city, heading via the famous Höttinger Gasse to the old town. The final kilometre on road gave a good opportunity for the spectators to see what the runners had left in their legs.

The route consisted of one lap of a 7.4km loop, with 374m of ascent. The junior runners are athletes who are not yet 20 years of age in the year of competition.

Michael Maiorano. Photo: Richard Bolt.

The men’s race

It was Hosea Chemutai (UGA) who led the fast pace from the start. Fellow countryman James Kirwa was with him and Lukas Ehrle (GER) and Mervan Haykir (TUR) completed the initial leading pack.

At the 3.7km point we saw how the long climb had shaken up the leading pack and it was Kirwa who had taken the lead, but Chemutai was still with him and Matthieu Bűhrer (SUI) had now joined them. Ehrle was still in contention, just 10 seconds back.

But who would emerge from the long, fast downhill first, and would they be able to hang on on that last kilometre through the streets? It was Kirwa who hit the town first, but Chemutai was right behind him. After an exciting sprint through the streets, lined with spectators, Kirwa held him off to become World Champion! Chemutai took the silver, just 6 seconds back, and Bűhrer the bronze.

Men’s top 5

James Kirwa (UGA) 27.37
Hosea Chemutai (UGA) 27.43
Matthieu Bűhrer (SUI) 27.52
Lukas Ehrle (GER) 28.28
Jan Torrella (ESP) 28.38

Men’s team competition
Switzerland (18 points)
France (28 points)
Spain (32 points)

Samantha Wood. Photo: Richard Bolt.

The women’s race

The men’s race had shown what a fast course this was going to be and the women straight away indicated that they too were going to test the camera runners. After a frantic first 500m it was Rebecca Flaherty (GBR) who took on the race. At the 1.6km point, with a good chunk of the climb done it was GBR in 1, 2 and 3, with Amelie Lane and Eve Whitaker just behind.

But Ines Herault (ESP), Lucia Arnoldo (ITA) and Lauren Russell (GBR) were all close by and at the 2.4km point it was Flaherty in the lead with a 38 second buffer from Russell and Herault, Arnoldo and Lane a few seconds back. But Flaherty had managed to stretch out the lead to 45 seconds by the 3.7km point.

It was all going to come down to the downhill and the frantic final section of concrete. Flaherty popped out into the town leading, but Arnoldo and Herault were hot on her heels, trying to chase her down. It was all set up for an exciting sprint finish. In the end Flaherty was able to hold off the challenge from Herault, taking the win by 7 seconds. Arnoldo took the bronze 15 seconds behind Herault.

Women’s top 5

Rebecca Flaherty (GBR) 33.20
Ines Herault (ESP) 33.27
Lucia Arnoldo (ITA) 33.42
Amelie Lane (GBR) 34.22
Lauren Russell (GBR) 34.25

Women’s team competition
Great Britain (10 points)
France (27 points)
Spain (27 points)

Junior women’s race. Photo: Richard Bolt.

A gallery of images by Marco Gulberti is available at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1m6pIVSUE69vQFYFvQ8XUU1zqbmoaIWdc

Full results are available at: World Mountain and Trail Running Championships Innsbruck-Stubai 2023, 07/06/2023-10/06/2023 : : my.race|result (raceresult.com)

Learn more about the US Mountain and Trail Running Team.