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Joyce Muthoni Njeru bids for Valsir Mountain Running World Cup hat-trick

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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Joyce Muthoni Njeru looks to continue her winning streak this weekend at the Grossglockner Mountain Run.

It’s the latest race in Valsir Mountain Running World Cup and the Kenyan couldn’t have started it in better style as she did the double in the season-openers at Broken Arrow, with victories in the Vertical Kilometre and the 23K Skyrace.

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Njeru stands out

Sunday’s race takes place under the shadow of Austria’s highest mountain, Grossglockner (3,798m) in the Central Eastern Alps.

The race is a ‘classic’ in this year’s World Cup, which is defined as a race between 9k and 21k, either up and down or just up, and with an average of 100 – 150m of ascent per kilometre. It is 13.4k with 1300m of ascent and it’s predominantly uphill.

There’s a huge final climb up to the finish at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, which includes 521 steps on tired legs. Hundreds of people wait at the finish to cheer the runners in.

Njeru, who also won the second Golden Trail World Series race – the Four Sisters Mountain Trail – has to be the clear favourite for the women’s race.

She won here in 2022 (when it was last in the World Cup) and she’s the reigning overall champion.

Joyce Muthoni Njeru wins Broken Arrow Skyrace 2024 photo credit Scott Rokis
Joyve Njeru celebrates her recent win at Broken Arrow [Photo credit: Scott Rokis]

Steward aims for more glory

But she’ll be up against last year’s winner Philaries Jeruto Kisang and Scout Adkin, last year’s overall runner-up with podiums at Montemuro, PizTri Vertikal and Vertical Nasego.

Nina Engelhard is an exciting prospect to watch too. She came second here last year and recently won both the uphill only and up and down race at the European Off Road Running Championship.

In the men’s race, while last year’s podium is missing, fourth-placed finisher Ephantus Mwangi Njeri does return.

One of the break-out stars of last year’s men’s World Cup was Joe Steward. He won Canfranc Canfranc Vertical race, was third at Vertical Nasego, third at PizTri Vertikal and eventually finished third in the World Cup overall. He also recently won the men’s uphill mountain race in the European Off-Road Running Championships.

Remi Leroux (Merrell) comes into this race with two top ten finishes at Broken Arrow two weeks ago. He was also one of the break-out stars of last year’s World Cup competition with second places at Montemuro Vertical Run and Canfranc Canfranc Vertical and a fourth at the classic race at Canfranc.

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  

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