WMRA WORLD CUP: Montemuro Vertical Run, Portugal. Gold for Scout Adkin and Alexandre Ricard
Montemuro Vertical Run:
WMRA World Cup at Portugal
The region of Castro Daire is developing something of a reputation for mountain sports, having worked hard to develop its potential for running and cycling in recent years. There is a local circuit of 8 mountain running races and the Montemuro Vertical Run has hosted the Portuguese mountain running championships for the last two years.
The Montemuro Vertical Run starts at 434m in Parada de Ester, just above the Paiva River. The opening kilometre takes the runners through the streets before they turn left, heading north toward the summit of Montemuro. This where the climbing really begins in earnest and athletes get little or no respite as it goes on more or less continuously to the finish, after a cruelly steep final climb, at 1,317m.
All in all it is 10.2km, 980m+ and 106m-, putting the race in the Classic Mountain category. A lot of the course is on decent paths and runnable, with some downhill sections.
The women set off first and after the lap around town it was Joyce Njeru (KEN), Scout Adkin (GBR) and Camilla Magliano (ITA) who led the pack up the first climb, closely pursued by a big group. After emerging at the first timing point at 5km it was Njeru who had managed to pull away. She recorded a split of 26.58 here, and Adkin was just over a minute behind. By this point it was Lucy Wambui (KEN) who emerged in third place, a minute behind Adkin, and then a big gap of two minutes had opened up to Magliano.
Njeru was looking very strong as ever, so it was no surprise to see her hitting the 8km point first, but Adkin had actually managed to close the gap slightly as she was now just 50 seconds behind. Would she be able to claw back that time in the final few kilometres? Adkin had by this point pulled further clear of Wambui, who was now over two minutes behind, with Magliano almost three minutes behind her.
Incredibly, by the time the runners emerged onto the final section leading up to the summit Adkin had not only closed that 50 second gap but she had overtaken and opened a two minute gap within the space of just over two kilometres. Adkin took the win in 1.04.08, with Njeru coming in second in 1.06.20. Wambui held onto third, finishing in 1.09.13. Magliano took fourth in 1.12.17 with fellow Italian athlete Madallena Soma in fifth in 1.14.30.
The men set off 10 minutes after the women and after the lap of town it was Michael Sutton (NZL) was led up the climb, but they were still closely packed together. And by the 5km timing point it was still all very close indeed. Alexandre Ricard (CAN), Alex Baldacini (ITA) and Rui Teixeira (POR) were all together, with a split of 24.29 (and a second between each). From them there was a gap of 17 seconds to fourth place (Remi Leroux, the other Canadian runner) and 28 seconds to fifth (Alric Petit of France). With a minute separating the first seven runners in the men’s race it was all to play for.
At the 8km split the gaps were starting to open, but not by much. Ricard had now opened a gap of 40 seconds to Leroux, and Baldacini was 10 seconds behind Leroux. Could we be about to see a Canadian 1–2 at a European Mountain Running race? Baldacini wasn’t going to let that happen without a fight, and Teixeira and Petit were still hot on their heels too.
As the men emerged onto the final section Ricard had successfully held onto his lead and stretched it out a little. He won in 54.54 and Leroux did indeed make it a Canadian 1- 2 by taking second in 56.07. Baldacini hung onto third, completing the podium in 57.26. Petit succeeded in opening a small gap on Teixeira, to finish in 59.02, 14 seconds ahead of Teixeira.
Montemuro Vertical Run
World Cup standings
How does Montemuro affect the overall World Cup standings? His win here will place Ricard in equal top spot of the men’s classification, along with Henri Aymonod, Eli Hemming and Andrea Rostan. Adkin’s win will put her in equal second of the women’s classification, along with Allie McLaughlin and Sara Willhoit. Anna Gibson remains at the top spot for the women.
Next World Cup races
Next up for the 2023 World Cup we’vegot a double header in Malonno! On 15th July runners will take on Piz Tri Vertical, our next vertical uphill race, then the following day it’s Fletta
Trail, a classic mountain race.
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