Mountain Running World Cup Preview: Spain’s Zumaia Flysch

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. Photos: WMRA.

2021 has been a year of firsts for the Mountain Running World Cup. Not only did it visit Poland for the first time – twice, at Tatra Race Run and Tatra Skymarathon – but it also ventured into Spain for the first time. After a hugely successful Canfranc-Canfranc in mid-September we’re heading back to Spain for Zumaia-Flysch and to the United States for the Broken Arrow Skyrace this weekend.

[PRO TIP: Read the Broken Arrow Skyrace preview on the American Trail Running Association website.]

Zumaia-Flysch takes place in Gipuzkoa Province in the Basque Country in Northern Spain, near San Sebastian. This area is a UNESCO Global Geopark, so it’s important from a natural and cultural perspective. It’s an incredibly beautiful area sandwiched between the mountains and the sea.

As you’d expect for an area of natural heritage, the organizers of this race take their commitment to sustainability very seriously. This year they are trying to secure Europarc Certification for Care for the Environment and they are impressing upon runners the importance of leaving no trace, respecting the paths and using public transport where possible, among many other initiatives.

The event is the setting for stages 14 and 15 of this year’s World Cup. The first race is 42.8k and it’s our next (and final) long mountain race. One hour later it’s our next (and final) classic mountain race with the 22k.

42k Race

The marathon distance race should provide a tough final test for the runners who favor the long courses. While it tops out at a modest 613m, the constant ups and downs over the route add up to a huge total of 2916m of elevation.

Charlotte Morgan (GBR), currently lying 2nd in the World Cup rankings, just 5 points behind Joyce Njeru (KEN), will be on the start line of the long race. With a decisive win at Canfranc-Canfranc a few weeks ago and a win at Tatra Race Run at the start of the World Cup, Morgan must be a favourite here. But she will face tough competition from Oihana Kortazar (ESP) who will also be hotly tipped having won Canfranc-Canfranc marathon in 2020 and finished 3rd in Olla de Nuria and the Spanish Mountain Running Championships this year.

Raul Criado (ESP) will go in the men’s race. Just a few weeks ago he doubled up at Canfranc-Canfranc, coming 6th in the short race and 3rd in the marathon race. He also finished 3rd at Tatra Race Run and he’s current lying 5th in the World Cup standings. But he will face a tough field of Basque athletes and strong international runners.

22k Race

The 22k classic mountain race looks like it will be a fast affair. It has 850m of ascent in total but the highest point is just 210m and it hugs the stunning coastline, so the shorter, runnable ascents may suit the runners with more speed. And there will certainly be a lot of faster runners on the start line.

For the women we’ll be seeing Joyce Njeru (KEN), our current World Cup leader, straight from her win at Trofeo Ciolo last weekend. Njeru is having an incredible year, having also won at Grossglockner and Krkonossky as well. We may also see a repeat of last weekend’s Trofeo Ciolo, where Njeru and Lucy Murigi (KEN) battled right to the end for victory as Murigi, currently 4th in our World Cup standings, will also be on the start line. With a win at La Montee du Nid d’Aigle and a 3rd place at Grossglockner Murigi is bound to be in contention. Other athletes expected to feature include Alice Gaggi (ITA), fresh from a 3rd place at Trofeo Ciolo and a string of solid results leading to a 3rd place ranking in the World Cup at the moment, Nadege Servant (FRA), who finished 3rd at Canfranc-Canfranc, and Kitti Posztos (HUN).

The men’s race should also be very exciting. Petro Mamu (ERI) was our men’s winner at Trofeo Ciolo and at Trofeo Nasego a few weeks ago and he is currently lying 4th in the World Cup rankings. Geoffrey Ndungu (KEN) has also been having a very good World Cup this year, with a win at Krkonossky and a 2nd place at Trofeo Ciolo, as well as 4th places at Trofeo Nasego and Grossglockner. He is currently lying 3rd in the World Cup ranking. Sandor Szabo (HUN) has also had a great run of results in this year’s competition, including a 2nd place at Canfranc-Canfranc and top 10s at Trofeo Ciolo and Krkonossky. This consistency has led him to be ranked 2nd in the World Cup so far this year.

Additional Race Information:
Live streaming available at from 7.15am on Sunday October 3
42k race starts at 7.30am Central European time
22k race starts at 8.30am Central European time
Race website:
Video content available at:

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:

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:

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