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Golden Trail World Series Grand Final LIVE: Bonnet closes on title after Laukli claims win

Stuart Dick
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Switzerland’s Rémi Bonnet heads a strong men’s field for the Golden Trail World Series (GTWS) Grand Final scheduled to be held at Golfo dell’Isola Trail between October 19-22, 2023, with Sophia Laukli now having secured the women’s title.

After his victory at the Madeira Ocean Trail 2022, the defending GTWS champion is currently clear atop the standings and is on the way to retaining his title. He is also top of the UTMB Performance Index with a rating of 944, a point ahead of Spain’s Kilian Jornet. He is also two points ahead of World Series rival Patrick Kipngeno and four points clear of 2023 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) winner Jim Walmsley.

In the women’s field, America’s Sophia Laukli took the overall win with a third place finish at the Grand Final race. Romanian Madalina Florea won the main event on the day, having also won the prologue race. That pushed her up to third in the final standings, with Judith Wyder second both on the day and overall.

Golden Trail World Series Grand Final live

Just the men’s main event is left to be ran this weekend, with the race beginning at 10:15 local time.

The men’s grand final is broadcasted live HERE:

The race will also be available to follow on Eurosport in Europe.

Golden Trail World Series Grand Final route

The 2023 GTWS will take place in the Liguria region of Italy. The event – titled ‘Il Golfo dell’Isola Trail Race’ – will consist of a prologue and a run of approximately 26km which will include 1,400m of elevation gain.

Judith Wyder has three Golden Trail World Series victories in 2023 [©Salomon Skyline Scotland® | No Limits Photography]

The Prologue will consist of a single 8.7km loop with an elevation gain of 400m. Runners will start in the town of Sportorno and head along the coast towards San Antonio. They will then head north past Fornaci and towards Monte Mao. From there runners will trail east, passing Passo Stretto before heading back south, finishing in Sportorno.

The main race consists of a winding track along a ‘flower’ circuit with the start, finish, and a trio of passes around Castello and Noli. The trails will be marked and go through the likes of Luminella and Vose, as well as taking runners as far South as Varigotta.

Facts, Tips & FAQ

The final will start with a time trial two days before the final race with 100 points awarded to the winners. The first 30 of the general GTWS classification after the prologue will be placed on the first lines of the start of the big final race which will award 300 points to the winners.

Madalina Florea winning the GTWS Finale Prologue. Photo courtesy of GTWS.

Runners in the top 30 of the 2023 Final General Classification will be considered Golden Trail World Elites and will get a free bib for the races of their choice in the GTWS 2024. The top 20 of the GTWS 2023 General Classification will be supported according to the GTWS support rules.

During the final in Il Golfo dell Isola, half of the GTWS classic ranking points will be given during the prologue (100 points) & 300 points during the final race. So, 400 points in total for the winners.

How to qualify and enter the Golden Trail World Series Grand Final

The top 30 athletes who have participated in a minimum of three of six races in the GTWS will be supported by the organisation (travel, accommodation, food) to participate in the Grand Final ‘Il Golfo dell Isola’ Trail Race.

The top 30 athletes who have not participated in a minimum of three of six races will be awarded a free bib to participate, but will not be supported financially.

All other athletes with GTWS points who wish to participate in the final are welcome. They will be able to continue to score points to hope to become Golden Trail World Elite Athletes by finishing in the Top 30 of the final general classification.

Golden Trail World Series 2023 winners

Men’s 2023 Golden Trail World Series winners:

  • Zegama (ESP) – Manuel Merillas Moldeo (ESP)
  • Marathon du Mont-Blanc (FRA) – Rémi Bonnet (SUI)
  • Dolomyths Run (ITA) – Elhousine Elazzaoui (MOR)
  • Sierre-Zinal (Switzerland) – Philemon Ombogo Kiriago (KEN)
  • Pikes Peak Ascent (USA) – Rémi Bonnet (SUI)
  • Mammoth 26K (USA) – Rémi Bonnet (SUI)

Women’s 2023 Golden Trail World Series winners:

  • Zegama (Spain) – Daniela Oemus (GER)
  • Marathon du Mont-Blanc (FRA) – Sophia Laukli (USA)
  • Dolomyths Run (ITA) – Judith Wyder (SUI)
  • Sierre-Zinal (Switzerland) – Sophia Laukli (USA)
  • Pikes Peak Ascent (USA) – Sophia Laukli (USA)
  • Mammoth 26K (USA) – Judith Wyder (SUI)
  • Golfo dell’Isola Trail Prologue (ITA) – Malina Florea (ROM)

Who is taking part at Golden Trail World Series Grand Final

Defending GTWS Grand Final champion Rémi Bonnet heads into the 2023 Finals as a strong favourite given his trio of victories in the series to date. After victory at Marathon du Mont-Blanc, the Swiss star claimed double victory in the USA – Pikes Peak Ascent and Mammoth 26K. He did, however, finish behind Manuel Merillas and Elhousine Elazzaoui in the opening race of the year at Zegama-Aizkorri.

Remi Bonnet takes victory at the 2023 Pikes Peak Ascent
Remi Bonnet takes victory at the 2023 Pikes Peak Ascent [Photo credit: Golden Trail World Series]

The other Series winner on the start list is Philemon Ombogo Kiriago. The Kenyan won Sierre-Zinal in a Kenyan 1-2-3 ahead of Patrick Kipngeno and Kevin Kibet. He is currently ranked joint 11th on the UTMB Performance Index and ranked second behind Kipngeno in the World Mountain Running Association world rankings.

In total, seven of the top 21 performers on the UTMB Index are in attendance – Bonnet (#1), Kipngeno (#3), Merrilas (#10), Kiriago (#11), Elazzaoui (#13), Bart Przedwojewski (#16) and Eli Hemming (#21).

On the women’s side, eyes will look toward Switzerland’s Judith Wyder and American Sophia Laukli. Wyder is a two-time winner in the series with victories at Dolomyths Run and Mammoth 26K. Laukli, meanwhile, claimed victory at Marathon du Mont-Blanc, Pikes Peak Ascent and Sierre-Zinal. Daniela Oemus won Zegama-Aizorri to start the campaign.

Rankings wise, Laukli (#10) and Wyder (#12) are the leaders on the UTMB Index, and they are ranked ninth and tenth respectively on the WMRA world ranking. Monica Madalina Florea of Romania is ranked seventh in the mountain running standings. Miao Yao could also challenge for the victory. The Chinese runner was third at Dacia UTM Mont Blanc OCC in August ahead of Caitlin Fielder of New Zealand amd Omeus of Germany.

Stuart Dick
Written by
Stuart Dick
Stuart is a graduate of the University of Sunderland with a masters' degree in Sports Journalism. He spends a lot of his time running and cycling around West Yorkshire, England.

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