WMTRC THAILAND 2022: UPHILL MOUNTAIN RUNNING RACE PREVIEW & FAVOURITES. Our special WMTRC22 section bring us today the race preview and favourites for the Classic Uphill Mountain Running.

We’re now just 2 days away from the inaugural World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand!

8,5KM |1.065M+

A groundbreaking collaboration between WMRA, the International Association of Ultrarunners and the International Trail Running Association, in partnership with World Athletics, for the first time ever all the world’s best off-road athletes will come together for a single, spectacular global championship.

In another first, the mountain athletes will get the opportunity to compete in Classic Uphill and Classic Up and Down races in the same World Championship. The Uphill race, 8.5km with 1,065m of ascent, is the championship’s curtain-raiser, taking place on Friday, while the Up and Down, 10.7km with 475m of climb and descent, is the finale, taking place on Sunday.


Very fast track, all in ascent until going up a vertical km. This was the first world championship in the history of this sport back in 1985 in Tyrol and here it is paid tribute. It is a race with enormous tradition throughout Europe.

The race starts  running over 1.5km with very little elevation on asphalt, after that is expected to break the pack just before entering the next 7km that run through forest tracks and trails in an almost jungle environment.

The conditions of heat and humidity, with temperatures of up to 30ºC and an average daily rain in November in Chiang Mai of 21mm will be demanding for everyone although perhaps less in this modality than in the other three because it is the shortest and most explosive.


Every team has support from World Athletics, which will pay each federation a fund of between $1,000 (for registering two athletes) to $5,000 if four full teams are registered. With five events for both genders, a federation can register up to 10 teams, making it generous support.

The cash prizes are also important, as they total 50,000 USD distributed equally among the four senior events as follows for the top 5 in of each sex and modality: 4.000 – 2.000 – 1.000 – 750 – 500

As usual in WMRA races, no cash prize will be paid until the results of the mandatory WADA controls at the finish line certify the winners.

On the mandatory equipment, except for surprises there will be no more than that the shoes must comply with WA TR5 standards and will be inspected when entering the start boxes. Poles are not allowed, although given the speed of the elite in the race they would not be a real functional help.


In addition to the individual medals, team medals are also to be awarded, a section where countries such as Kenya, Italy, France, Switzerland, USA and Spain are the dominant powers given two key factors: The number of athletes registered thanks to the economic commitment of each federation on the one hand, and the quality of them.


In the women’s individual we have world elite runners that will bring us a superb show: The Swiss Maude Mathys  punctured in Patagonia 2019 when she fell into an icy torrent and arrives here with enormous enthusiasm.

In front of her, three rivals such as the Austrian veteran Andrea Mayr who in addition to having been an Olympian, still holds the Austrian asphalt marathon record. The French Christel Delwalle is a specialist of the vertical, although she shines more in tests with more slope. Even so, she is a podium candidate if she arrives in shape.

Finally, the Kenyan Joyce Njeru, intractable these last two years in the combined World Cup, for her dominance of both the uphill and the Classic. However, as we saw in Canfranc, where Naiara Irigoyen pushed her to the end, in Uphill she is more vulnerable than in Classic, and both Andrea and Maude have shown it to her.

Joyce Njeru Grossglockner Berglauf. Photo: Marco Gulberti/WMRA

The Spanish team does not perhaps have a locomotive with the record of this top4, but with an Onditz Iturbe (SPA) and a young Laia Montoya (SPA) in full takeoff, we can fight for a top5 .

It will not be easy, because there will also be the Swedish twins Lisa and Sanna el Kot, who can aspire to the same, as well as the British Adkin Page or the American Laughlin. And let’s not forget the Kenyan Lucy Murigi who has already been world champion and who, although beaten by seconds these last two years almost always by Njeru, gave the bell in the World Cup of Zumaia, beating the record of Njeru herself.


Among the almost 80 entries we enjoy European medalists, world champions and also winners of the World Cup. Thus, the Italian Cesare Maestri now seeks after his European gold to achieve a double with the world championship, with his own compatriot Henry Aymond  as a great rival. And he still has another enemy at home with Xavier Chevrier.

The Irishman Zak Hana already showed us in Canfranc that only a superb Dani Osanz (SPA) playing at home was stronger than him.

However, this more strenuous races have shown that Kenyans runners such Philemon Kiriago go very well in such terrains as he showed in Canfranc where was bronze after Zak and Dani. The same goes for his teammate Patrick Kipngeno (KEN) Both already shone in Sierre Zinal in a big way, combined power and speed in climbs of up to 31k / D + 2,000m as it happens in Switzerland. Here, that spark of speed could be decisive.

Sierre Zinal 2022 Photo: @hekruca

The eternal American Joseph Gray was left off the podium after a Ugandan treble in the last similar WMRA World Championship, played in 2018. Now, the 2019 Classic world champion comes from testing at Pike’s Peak that only yields to Remi Bonnet and Dani Osanz in great slopes. Like the Kenyans, this profile makes him even more competitive and perhaps with them they will end up taking the podium. His compatriot Andy Wacker is also a solid asset as is the Swiss Roberto de Lorenzi .

Spain again has a solid team. Difficult individual podium, although Miquel Corbera already signed the chocolate medal in the European, which he will seek to improve here. With him could run Oriol Cardona as a great specialist, still registered in Uphill, Marathon and Classic, which must decide. Alex Garcia is also a tough signing to fight the top 10.


There are no less than 11 women’s teams with 3 or more registered for this event, where France, Italy and the USA have exhausted the six possible places each. Spain and Switzerland have five registered each, while Kenya has four.

Even if they are less, Kenya’s African hammer is so good would perhaps be the number one favorite for gold, dragged down by Njeru and Murigi However, the USA, Switzerland, Italy, France and Spain are solid high-level teams. Of the five, only three fit on the podium. Place your bets.

Spanish Team. Photo: RFEA


With 16 complete high-level teams vying for the medals, including two African powers, four Europeans are perhaps facing the highest joint level in history in this Uphill modality. And it has been since 1985, for the record. Uganda 2022 is an unknown because we have not seen them compete in the elite for a long time… but in previous World Championships they have made a hat-trick on the podium.

Although for the Italians this modality is very powerful and has quantity and quality in their land, it would not be uncommon for the Ugandan team to add another gold this 2022. A priori, it could be the firmest podium of the East World Cup, in Uganda, along with Italy and Kenya. We will have to see the final position of each one, of course.

Spain and Great Britain are for me the ones who have more options to surprise and dismount some of the favorites. In particular, the quartet formed by Miquel Corbera, Alex García Carrillo, Guillermo Albert and Oriol Cardona would be by potential in top5, with podium options even if any of the three powers fail.

More difficult, but not impossible would be to see Switzerland or Norway there, who can never be ruled out if it comes to flying upwards.



There will be live streaming for all five races, broadcast in English with two speakers: a local specialist from Thailand, with our Editor @Mayayo. The responsible of the images are, as you see in the link the Thailand Tri-league. Hit play WORLD MOUNTAIN AND TRAIL RUNNING STREAMING.



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