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Former champ Judith Wyder raring to go as she makes Golden Trail return at Mont-Blanc Marathon

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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Judith Wyder is relishing her Golden Trail World Series return this weekend – and has an eye on the final on home territory in Switzerland.

The former orienteering star was the 2019 overall champion soon after switching sports and she tied on points with Sophia Laukli last year, only missing out on another title due to Luakli winning three races to her two.

The start of Wyder’s 2024 has been punctuated by frustrating bouts of sickness, forcing her to miss the GTWS openers in Japan and China.

But she showed everyone she was back on form at the European Off-Road Championships in Annecy recently with a silver medal in the ‘Up & Down’ race.

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Early disruption – but now back on track

And she returns to the GTWS at the Mont-Blanc Marathon on Sunday looking to build on that Annecy display.

She told the GTWS’ Mickaël Mussard: “I feel very good and am happy to be back in competition. I was starting to feel good sensations before the European Championships and I really enjoyed those even though the vertical race wasn’t where I felt the best; but as for the ‘Up & Down’ I am very pleased with my race.”

Asked if she’d changed anything for the 2024 season, she replied: “I was sick one week per month since the beginning of winter… That’s the main change I made this year! Joking aside, I didn’t change anything special but it’s true that these illnesses disrupted my winter and spring preparation.

“That’s one of the reasons I didn’t start the season earlier or go on the trip to Asia with the Golden Trail Series. So I’m glad to come out of it and regain sensations on the trails.”

Battle set to resume with Luakli

We’re now three races into the eight-race series so Wyder knows she needs to make up for lost time, explaining how her schedule is looking: “I plan to do the Mont-Blanc Marathon, Sierre-Zinal, and if everything goes well and the results are good, I think I’ll go on the trip to the United States [for the Highlands 27K and the Mammoth 26K, which she won last year].

“This year we need four races to score the most points possible, so I’ll see based on the first two.

“Now, I don’t know how I’ll react to a 42-kilometer race, I have hardly ever run such a long distance apart from the world championships, so we’ll see.”

Judith Wyder Golden Trail Series copyright The Adventure Bakery
Judith Wyder is back in action this weekend [Photo copyright: GoldenTrailSeries® – The Adventure Bakery]

Luakli, who just pipped Wyder last year, has had similar frustrations after being kept on the sidelines recently, by injury in her case. And looking to the challenges ahead, Wyder added: “I just want to try to do my best again this year.

“There are still some amazing athletes this season. Sophia is incredible and if she manages to recover from her injury, she will be hard to beat.

But there are also other very strong girls this year, so I prefer to focus on myself and the races themselves.

“Of course, it would be super nice to have a final in Switzerland [Ascona – Locarno], that’s what convinced me to come back to the Golden Trail Series this year.”

Top quality on all levels

And the theme of taking on the best on a regular basis is another big attraction of the GTWS, as Wyder acknowledges when asked if she feels the standard is going up all the time.

“I say it every year, but I’m sincere, I think the level increases year after year,” she agreed. “However, I hope this level doesn’t get too diluted with all the great races on the calendar that tend to separate the girls on the races.

“I don’t want to choose my race based on the start list, I’ve never been very good at that anyway. For me, it’s great to run against strong girls because it allows me to see where I stand in this increasingly professional field.”

Judith Wyder Golden Trail Series Dolomyths Run copyright The Adventure Bakery
Judith Wyder is looking to get back to winning ways [Photo copyright: GoldenTrailSeries® – The Adventure Bakery]

Asked what motivates her to come back each year, she added: “It’s hard to answer this question. But I think I’m looking for great races where there is also a high level. And I think the Golden Trail Series meets these criteria. I might have wanted to try other things this year, but the level of competitiveness is what still attracts me to the Golden.

“And of course, this final in Switzerland, close to home, convinced me. If we add to that all the work done by the Golden Trail Series for the media coverage of the sport and athletes, you have all the reasons that motivated my choice.

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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