In the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, Innsbruck based runner Thomas Roach finishes second with the men’s team taking gold overall.
In a gripping race over 3,121 vertical meters on 45.2 kilometers from Innsbruck to Neustift im Stubaital, Norwegian Stian Angermund defended his title with a time of 4:19 hours, coming in first before Briton Thomas Roach and Italian Luca del Pero.
Stian Hovind Angermund on winning the race: “We started off at a very fast pace. It went well from the very beginning, and it only got strenuous during the last climb. The last downhill was challenging yet fun. Winning the title was my main goal for this year and I am very happy to have achieved it.”
Angermund and Roach took the lead soon after the start in the center of Innsbruck, running the first 14, 15 kilometers in a trio with Roach’s compatriot Jonathan Albon before Angermund was able to pull away.
The push for the win
The route to the Kalkkögel leads over slippery fields of snow, and Angermund managed to extend his lead to more than 1.5 minutes. What made the Norwegian’s feat even more special: He ran through every single resupply camp without stopping for food or drink. For a brief moment, this seemed to have taken its toll as Angermund slowed down to a walking pace just before reaching the route’s highest point at the Starkenberger hut.
On the downhill towards Neustift, Angermund accelerated once again and was able to keep his competitors at bay, allowing him to run down the final switchbacks to Neustift without pressure and to successfully defend his title from Thailand.
Crossing the finish line 2:18 minutes later, Roach came in second ahead of Luca del Pero, with a 3:04-minute deficit.
Roach’s performance, with team-mates Jon Albon and Kris Jones not far behind in 5th and 8th respectively, was enough to take the team gold by nearly eight minutes from strong teams from Italy and France.
The women’s racing excites again
French runner Clementine Geoffray wins the Trail Short for the women after an extremely strong finish, crossing the finish line before Judith Wyder from Switzerland, who dominated the race over long periods. Third place goes to Theresa Leboeuf, a fellow Swiss.
Clementine Geoffray is overjoyed and obviously proud to celebrate her first WC title: “It was incredible. I started off at a pretty fast pace, but I felt good. Once I got overtaken, I started to have doubts. But the last climb wasn’t all that steep and I saw Judith ahead of me, which really motivated me to follow her as I knew I could still pass her.”
As was the case with the women’s Vertical, there was a nerve-wrecking duel for victory in the Trail Short. After the first kilometers, Swiss runner Judith Wyder took the lead and kept leading the field for a good 30 kilometers.
Clementine Geoffray was able to steadily reduce the gap as the race progressed over 45.2 kilometers and 3,132 meters in altitude. After 4 hours and 13 minutes she passed her opponent just a few meters below the highest point of the route on a narrow path, keeping her lead during a strong downhill to Neustift im Stubaital, in the end even taking two minutes off Wyder. Theresa Leboeuf ended in third place with a respectable distance of 16:17 minutes to the winner.
Elsey Davis was the first British runner in 17th with Sharon Taylor in 40th and Catherine Taylor in 68th. This left them eighth in the team competition amongst steep competition.