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GTWS race one 2024 – Kobe Trail women’s results: Maude Mathys back in style!

Jonathan Turner
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Switzerland’s Maude Mathys made a brilliant return from injury with victory in the women’s race at the Kobe Trail in Japan, the opening event of the 2024 Golden Trail World Series.

The 2021 overall GTWS champion and four-time winner of the iconic Sierre-Zinal, Mathys has had an extended spell on the sidelines.

She had been set to start her season at the Chianti Ultra Trail but swerved that as she hadn’t fully recovered following an Achilles tendon operation last year.

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Mathys reels in Njeru

However she looked better and better as the Kobe race progressed on what was a first-ever visit to Asia for the GTWS and featured an up-and-down technical course which packed 2,109 metres of climbing into the 21km.

There were four distinct loops in a ‘flower format’ spectator-friendly route and, in trademark fashion, Kenya’s Joyce Njeru seized control early on.

She led the way after the first 3.7km loop in 22:48, with American Allie McLaughlin (23:11) and Mathys (24:08) her closest challengers.

That was still the 1-2-3 after the second loop but by now Njeru was nearly two minutes up on McLaughlin and over three on Mathys, while Spain’s Sara Alonso in fourth had over five to make up.

Unfortunately missing from the start line because of a knee injury was last year’s overall GTWS winner Sophia Luakli, the American Olympic cross-country skier, who instead could be seen helping out at an aid station on the route.

Things changed dramatically on the third loop as Mathys cruised through to the head of affairs – she looked super smooth at the end of that lap but had just 19 seconds to spare from Njeru, with McLaughlin still nearly two minutes back.

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Mathys closes out the win

And it was all Mathys on the final loop as she put distance between herself and the rest.

She crossed the line in 2:52:08, fully six minutes clear. Best of the rest was Alonso, who won a dramatic sprint finish for second with Theres Leboeuf (SUI), with Njeru only fourth.

Maude Mathys is congratulated by men's winner Patrick Kipngeno at the GTWS Kobe Trail race 2024
Maude Mathys is congratulated by men’s winner Patrick Kipngeno

Running through the race afterwards she said: “My strategy was to set off quite cautiously so I wouldn’t blow up too early, then gradually increase the pace in the uphill while trying not to lose too much in the downhill.

“I think I’m a terrible downhiller, but I can’t be as bad as all that because no one caught up with me! Then I saw Joyce in the third loop and I quickly caught up with her and then opened up a gap. I tried to stay focused right up to the finish line and I’m thrilled with this victory.”

2024 GTWS race one – Kobe Trail, Saturday April 20, 21km

WOMEN

  1. Maude Mathys (SUI) – 2:52:08
  2. Sara Alonso (ESP) – 2:58:34
  3. Theres Leboeuf (SUI) – 2:58:38
  4. Joyce Njeru (KEN) – 2:59:41
  5. Malen Osa Ansa (ESP) – 3:00:01
Kobe Trail 2024 top five women Golden Trail World Series
The top five women
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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