Kenyan duo Patrick Kipnego and Joyce Muthoni Njeru set new course records in the Montée du Nid d’Aigle on Saturday.
In the 35th edition of the 19.5km race, which was the fifth event of the 2022 Valsir Mountain Running World Cup, Kipnego cut the men’s record to 1:38:54 while Njeru set a women’s best of 2:00:31.
Kipnego was shoulder-to-shoulder with compatriot Philemon Ombogo Kiriago at the 7km mark, but streaked clear over the second half of the race to knock 5:34 off the record set by Xavier Cheverier (ITA) last year.
Kiriago ended up just over six minutes adrift, finishing in 1:45:03, with Théodore Klein (FRA) coming home in third, 1:25 further back.
After the race, which finished 2,394 metres above sea level, Kipnego commented that he was “feeling nice all along the course, and the landscape was breathtaking,” while Kiriago admitted “the altitude was challenging”.
Kipnego’s victory in the ‘Gold Label’ race sees him add 50 points to his Valsir Mountain Running World Cup tally, strengthening his position at the summit of the standings after wins at Montemuro and Grossglockner Berglauf.
He leads Kiriago and Zak Hanna (GBR), who was 10th at Montée du Nid d’Aigle.
In the women’s race, Njeru was dominant as she set an unmatchable pace at the front and shaved 6:35 off the previous record, set by Isabelle Guillot (FRA) in 2006.
Blandine L’Hirondel (FRA) also surpassed Guillot’s record as she claimed second in 2:02:44, with Camilla Magliano (ITA) crossing the line 3:35 later to complete the podium.
Njeru’s triumph, which also followed wins at Montemuro and Grossglockner Berglauf, sees her solidify her place at the summit of the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup standings.
Magliano moves up to second with Lucy Wambui Murigi (KEN), who was fifth at Montée du Nid d’Aigle, sitting in third.