MOUNTAIN RUNNING WORLD CHAMPIONS: JOE GRAY AND GRAYSON MURPHY (Team USA). 2019 Classic Gold winners interview by Mayayo
Our MOUNTAIN RUNNING section welcomes world champions JOE GRAY and GRAYSON MURPHY. We interview them as the 2020 season gradually comes nearer the 2020 WMRA World Championship at Lanzarote. USA’s Joe Gray and Grayson Murphy won the senior races over the classic distance, 14km, on the first day of the World Mountain Running Championships in Villa La Angostura on Friday (15).
The heavy rain and strong winds had an impact on all four races as they included river crossings, which were quite high due to the rain. Both were up and down courses, concluding with fast descents. Today we go over their victories in Patagonia again, and also look out for their expectations for #WMRALanzarote.
WORLD MOUNTAIN RUNNING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2019 WMRA IN K42 LA ANGOSTURA.
The senior races started in the centre of Villa La Angostura and had a mix of dirt roads, forest tracks, a waist-deep and fast-moving river crossing, and a swift descent back down to the road. It seemed to favour the runners who are fast over the runnable terrain over those more adept at technical descents.
Gray led the men’s race from early on, but the gap was never far back to Italy’s Cesare Maestri. Gray pushed hard while he and Maestri were pursued by Czech duo Marek Chrascina and Jan Janu, Britain’s 2019 World Cup champion Andrew Douglas and Jacob Adkin, and several other runners.
Gray eventually held them all off to win in 1:05:13, just eight seconds ahead of Maestri. Chrascina took third in 1:05:57.
The river crossing took its toll on a few athletes, Douglas included. He slipped and fell on the slippery log serving as a bridge and lost precious ground, ultimately finishing in seventh place, 25 seconds shy of the podium.
The Czech Republic took team men’s gold, with the USA taking silver and Italy bronze.
The women’s race played out in similar fashion. Murphy, who won the US trials, struck out into an early lead. With a background in the steeplechase and having recently turned her hand to mountain running, Grayson flew on the fast sections of the course.
Elise Poncet of France was chasing hard, while Britain’s Philippa Williams was a little way behind, with several more runners bunched closely behind her. Grayson negotiated the final fast descent and held on to win in 1:15:20 with Poncet 21 seconds in arrears. Williams took the bronze in 1:16:45.
France took the gold in the women’s team event, with the Czech Republic taking silver and Great Britain bronze.
The rain was at its heaviest during the U20 men’s event, the first race of the day, and already the usually dusty tracks were turning into mud. It was a fast and furious race, with Britain’s Joe Dugdale leading right from the start, being chased hard by Sebih Bahar of Turkey.
In the end just 17 seconds separated the first five men, with Dugdale taking gold in 32:44, Bahar silver in 32:50 and Yael Paniagna Morales of Mexico bronze in 32:50. With Dugdale’s teammates Matthew Mackay and Matthew Knowles completing the top five, Britain won team gold. Turkey took team silver and Italy team bronze.
The rain still didn’t abate during the U20 women’s race. The river was getting higher and conditions were tough. The lead women weren’t as close together as the men had been, but it was still a hard-fought race.
Angela Mattevi of Italy was the clear winner in 37:12 with Barbora Havlickova of the Czech Republic taking silver in 37:56 and Jade Rodriguez of France bronze in 38:48. In the team competition Italy took gold, with Turkey in silver and the Czech Republic in bronze position.
Photogallery by K42 Patagonia.
WMRA CHAMPIONSHIPS 1985-2018.
The world title of the World Mountain Running Association is the oldest of those that are disputed today between mountain races. Its origin goes to 1985, although throughout the time its denomination and formats have varied. A simple list of the winners of their champions in these decades makes clear the high sport level of the participants, although it is evident that in the last decade the media coverage of the WMRA has shone by its absence in front of the popular fan, unlike the work carried out by ITRA in the official Trail Running World Championships IAAF or the Swiss private company Skyman SA in the promotion of its Skyrunner World Series brand, which celebrated its World Cup in the Vall de Boi in 2016 and is now ready for 2018 in Scotland
For WMRA the 2018 World Cup is subdivided into two events: The first one was already held in Poland. The second will be held in Andorra on September 15 in Canillo. Let’s review the WMRA champions from 1985 to 2017 to see reference names, in their own right: Max King, Marco De Gasperi, Kasie Enman … and Jonathan Wyatt who is today also the president of the WMRA itself, while the founder of the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, Michel Poletti, is the president of the ITRA.
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