New Course Records at 35th Montée du Nid d’Aigle Mountain Race

Written by Maria Avila for the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA). American Trail Running Association (ATRA) executive director Nancy Hobbs is the WMRA general secretary. Photos: Marco Gulberti.

Unprecedented times and new names at the top of the podium marked the 35th edition of the Montée du Nid d’Aigle yesterday in France. Kenyans Patrick Kipnego and Joyce Muthoni Njeru set new records in the traditional race at the foot of Mont Blanc.

The 19.5 km course featured an outstanding performance by Patrick Kipnego and Philemon Ombogo Kiriago, who led the race from the start. The two Kenyans were shoulder to shoulder until the seventh kilometer. Later, Patrick arrived alone beating his teammate and taking first place with a record time of 1:38:54. Kipnego states that he was “feeling nice all along the course, and the landscape was breathtaking”. On his side, Kiriago was seven minutes behind his partner. For him, “the race was fantastic, but the altitude was challenging.” The French flag also joined this podium with a third place obtained by Théodore Klein, who set a time of 1:45:03.

Photo: Marco Gulberti.

In the women’s category, Joyce Muthoni Njeru had the mountain to herself for the entire route. The Kenyan maintained an impeccable execution with a steady pace throughout the race. Her high performance resulted in a new record for the women’s category, subtracting six minutes from the mark set in 2006. Only two minutes later, the French runner Blandine l’Hirondel arrived, still breathing enough to chat and joke. Her time also beats the previous record, but it was not enough to obtain the highest place. The women’s podium reflects the variety of this race, waving the flag of Kenya in the first stair, France in second, and Italy in third, with Camilla Magliano holding a time of 1:13:37.

Full results:

At the moment of comparing this race to last year’s, there is an increasing interest from new athletes to join and a rapid ascent in the level of performance. In the previous edition, the winners were Lucy Wambui and Xavier Cheverier, who were present on this occasion too and occupied the 5th and 12th places respectively. The past year Cheverier got the new record of time in the course by completing the route in 1:44:25 however, Patrick Kipnego took his title away by marking 1:38:54. On the women side, after 16 years of what seemed an unbeatable time of 2:06:06 from Isabelle Guillot, finally, Joyce Muthoni Njeru set a new record with 2:00:31.

Photo: Marco Gulberti.

The 35th edition of the Montée du Nid d’Aigle was part of the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup 2022. It was a Gold Label race, meaning the first place took 50 points to the ranking. This date marks a turning point in the standings of the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup 2022. In the men’s category, Philemon Kiriago scaled to second place, which means Zak Hannah’s relegation to third position. Patrick Kipinego continues to hold the lead with 150 points.

In the case of women, there are also some movements on the table, with a consolidated first place under the name of Joyce Muthoni Njeru accumulating 150 points after her previous victories in Portugal, Austria, and now France. Just behind her, the Italian Camilla Magliano claimed her second position in the ranking. Magliano climbed two spots after today’s splendid performance. The novelty in the results is Blandine L’Hirondel, whose name just appeared in the Cup with 40 points positioning herself as a threatening competitor.

Valsir Mountain Running World Cup Standings after 5 races: WCup_2022_-_RESULTS_after_5_races.pdf

The World Mountain Running Cup’s next date is July 30th. This time the challenge will be in Premana, Italy with Giir di Mont in short uphill and long mountain categories. Certainly, a date to start forecasting the final results.

More photos from Marco Gulberti for Corsa in Montagna:

Photo: Marco Gulberti.

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. Seven Sisters Skyline is a Silver Label World Cup event in the Long Mountain category. WMRA Long Mountain races are generally 21 km to 42 km in length.

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.

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