USA & Poland Take Individual Gold at International U18 Mountain Running Cup

Announcement from the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA). Written by María Ávila for the WMRA. ATRA founder Nancy Hobbs is the WMRA secretary. Photos: Marco Gulberti.

Alyssa Sauro (pictured above) from United States and Maciej Lachowski from Poland earned the first places on the podium at the 15th International Under 18 Mountain Running Cup in Saluzzo, Italy this past Sunday, June 26.

United States (1st) and England (2nd and 3rd) occupied the places on the podium in the women’s category. On the other hand, the boys who got medals belonged to the teams from Poland (1st) and Italy (2nd and 3rd). Regarding the team classification, Italy leads the list in the men’s group with 14 points while in the women’s England has the lead with 12 points.

Alyssa Sauro is the winner in the girl’s category. The young American is no stranger to mountainous settings. She comes from West Virginia, also known as “The Mountain State.” Her victory in the U18 Mountain Running Cup has become her first international win. However, this conquest comes on top of other local wins, like the sixth place in the Foot Locker South Region Race and four state championship titles. This time, Alyssa gained recognition with a time of 18min 03s. Sauro admits she didn’t plan on getting the podium this time and is pleasantly surprised. Her medal will be the best souvenir from her first visit to Europe.

Furthermore, her friends and family are very eager to welcome her home, as expressed by her coach Mike Taylor“Our community is just so excited she was able to have this opportunity and represent team USA. She is a great runner and even better person. We’re looking forward to watching her development as she learns this sport.”

Maciej Lachowski

Maciej Lachowski. Photo: Marco Gulberti.

In the boys’ category, Maciej Lachowski obtained a victory for Poland with a time of 16min 16s. The U18 Mountain Running Cup was his first time in an international race, although this year he got important national titles as U18 Polish Champion of mountain running and a silver medal in the Cross Country Championship. He says he is thrilled with the results and is looking forward to new challenges.

At 10h15, the sound of the starting shot marked the departure of the girl’s group made up of 44 athletes. The race began with a slight ascent that only prepared the runners for the steep slopes that would accompany them for more than 4km. At 11h00, was the turn of the group made up of 48 boys. Upon reaching the highest point of the route, Italy was in the lead; however, during the descent, Poland gained an advantage, crowning itself as the winner in its category. The participants were encouraged by the inhabitants of Saluzzo, parents, coaches, and other observers who were present along the way cheering them on in several languages.

The fifteenth edition of the International U18 Mountain Running Cup has left several surprises with rare victories, given that this is the first time Poland has obtained a first place in the individual category of the U18 Mountain Running Cup. Also, it is the second triumph for the United States. The first time the American country had an individual conquest was in 2018, thanks to Colorado’s Joslin Blair.

Joslin Blair (USA) winning the 2018 WMRA International U18 Mountain Running Cup in Italy.

The preparation of the participants at the race site began days before. The teams arrived in Saluzzo on Friday, and the local organizing committee received them. On Saturday morning, WMRA President Tomo Sarf and Secretary Nancy Hobbs made the route recognition. “It’s going to be an interesting race in the Italian style, where the competitors don’t get lost in the mountains, but we can follow and encourage them along the route,” according to Sarf.

As the sun rose and the temperature increased, the runners began to walk the circuit they would have to face the next day. When the Scottish team was asked how they would describe the route, they responded in unison, “interesting”. The competition was accompanied by various landscapes between the picturesque houses of the historic center of Saluzzo and views of the mountains.

After what has been this weekend, Tomo Sarf expressed his satisfaction with the results, “The International U18 Mountain Running Cup was born not far away from here, in Susa. And the last edition was also held there in 2019. After this break, we are happy that young runners from 11 countries came here to celebrate mountain running. On the podium, we have the winners from very different countries, making the event international.”

WMRA President Tomo Sarf with the gold medalists. Alyssa Sauro (right). Photo: Nancy Hobbs.

Next year the competition will take place in Annecy, France. Keep an eye the WMRA social media and news because we will be informing you more about it in the following days.

Find full results from the 2022 International U18 Mountain Running Cup here.

Full photo album from Marco Gulberti:

Read about this race from the U.S. U18 Mountain Running Team perspective, “Alyssa Sauro Wins the 2022 International U18 Mountain Running Cup” written by U.S. team leader Andrew Simmons.

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