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: Jiří Kottas.
This Sunday, 7th August, the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup visits Janské Lázně in the Czech Republic for the 3rd Silver Label race of the year, Krkonošský Half Marathon. This small spa and ski town in the Giant Mountains has a big history of hosting major events in mountain running. The World Masters Mountain Running Championships came here in 2013, the International Under 18 Mountain Running Cup in 2016 and the European Masters Championships in 2019.
Last year it was the turn of the World Cup. In the 6th race of the season, Joyce Njeru took a big step towards her eventual overall World Cup win with a victory in Janské Lázně, finishing with a small margin over Barbora Macurová. Her teammate Geoffrey Ndungo led a Kenyan 1-2 in the men’s race ahead of Timothy Kirui, with Marek Chrascina the best of the Czech athletes just 12 seconds back in 3rd.
The Krkonošský Half-Marathon route is a real rollercoaster; 21km and 1,220m+ of mountain trails, starting and finishing in Collonade Square in the centre of Janské Lázně. The race begins with the climb of Černá hora, taking racers on a steep, direct route to top out just short of 1,300m, before a long loop takes them out to the neighbouring ski resort of Pec pod Sněžkou. Having fought their way through the forest and back to the top of the first climb, all those hard-won metres are lost on the final breakneck plunge back to the finish in the centre of town.
As a Silver Label race in 2022 there are 20 World Cup points available to the winners, down to 2 points for 10th place. Prize money spans the same range, from €700 for 1st down to €50 for 10th. There is also prize money for the first 3 Masters in each category and Juniors.
Marek Chrascina returns this year and will start as the favourite having won the Czech mountain running championhip in early June. The 3rd and 4th place finishers from that race, Petr Pechek and Ondřej Volák will also line up in Janské Lázně, as will many of the top 10 last year’s Krkonošský Half Marathon; Ondřej Fejfar, Šimon Beránek, Matěj Zima and Tomáš Křivohlávek.
Barbora Macurová also returns after last year’s 2nd place. She’ll have strong competition from Adéla Stránská, this year’s Czech champion who also claimed a brilliant 3rd place at Grossglockner Berglauf, a Gold Label race in the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup this year. Pavla Schorná and Hana Švestková Stružková will look to build on their silver and bronze medals at the national championships. Gabriela Veigertová and Taťána Metelková, 4th and 6th in 2021, will also contest the race.
The results for last year’s race can be found here: https://ranking.wmra.info/race-profile-page/379398/2022/
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.