The World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) World Cup heads to the Central Pyrenees this weekend for a double-header at the increasingly popular Canfranc-Canfranc event.
Just one week on from the epic races at Vertical Nasego and Trofeo Nasego in rounds seven and eight respectively, there will be two World Cup races in two days in the Spanish province of Huesca.
The Canfranc-Canfranc Marathon, a long distance event, will take place on Saturday, while a classic mountain race, the Canfranc-Canfranc Skyrace, will get underway on Sunday.
Which runners to look out for
In the men’s Canfranc-Canfranc Marathon race, Peter Frano (SVK), who claimed victory at Tatra SkyMarathon in round four, will be a strong contender.
Raul Criado (ESP), a podium finisher at Tatra SkyMarathon, is also expected to among the frontrunners. He finished 12th at Canfranc-Canfranc last year. The event typically attracts an array of talented Basque runners, with Ugaitz Artola (ESP) the pick of the bunch.
In the women’s Canfranc-Canfranc Marathon event, 2018 WMRA Long Distance World Champion and current WMRA World Ranked #3 Charlotte Morgan (GBR) will be looking to follow up on her Tatra Race Run victory and podium finish at Tatra SkyMarathon.
Morgan will face stiff competition in the form of 2022 runner-up Eva Mesado (ESP), while Olivia Magnone (FRA) could also push towards the front end of the field.
In the women’s Canfranc-Canfranc Skyrace, Grayson Murphy (USA), who set a new course record at Trofeo Nasego last weekend after picking up second at Vertical Nasego, continues her foray into European events. This weekend’s race will be the USA National Champion’s first taste of competing in Spain.
She will face stern competition for another victory in Europe, in the form of 2020 winner and course record holder Servant Nadege (FRA), who has put in solid performances at Montée du Nid d’Aigle and Grossglockner Berglauf this season.
Spain’s 2021 National Championship gold medal winner Nuria Gil (ESP) is also involved, as is silver medal winner Yolanda Martín (ESP).
In the men’s Canfranc-Canfranc Skyrace, 2020 winner Antonio Martinez (ESP) will be seeking to retain his title. He will be challenged by Sandor Szabo (HUN) and a contingent of local athletes, spearheaded by Ion Sola (ESP), who finished 4th at the same race last year.
The Canfranc-Canfranc Marathon will be raced over 45km, with the route featuring an overall ascent of 4,000m. The early stages of the course see the runners tackle a tough 1400m climb, with three smaller ascents to complete over the remainder of the race.
The Canfranc-Canfranc Classic is a 16km race, with runners also facing a huge 1400m climb immediately after the starting line. The early ascent sees them scale ‘La Moleta’ mountain over the course of 6km.
A treacherous 10km descent to the finishing line follows, with the home stretch taking the runners over a section of the famous ‘Camino de Santiago’.
Race schedule (all timings local)
Saturday 11th September
08:00 Canfranc-Canfranc Marathon start
Sunday 12th September
09:00 Canfranc-Canfranc Skyrace start