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Maude Mathys surprises even herself with Kobe Trail comeback win at GTWS opener

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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Even by her own admission, Maude Mathys didn’t expect to be anywhere near first place before her comeback victory at the Kobe Trail at the weekend, the opening race in the 2024 Golden Trail World Series.

The Swiss runner was the winner of the Golden Trail Series in both 2020 and 2021 but a prolonged absence and then an Achilles tendon operation meant she was going into the unknown in Japan, on what was a first visit to Asia for the GTWS, which is powered by Salomon.

Her reappearance had been scheduled to be at the at the Chianti Ultra Trail late last month but that race came too soon for the four-time winner of the iconic Sierre-Zinal, adding to the uncertainty ahead of the Kobe Trail.

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‘Training was not optimal’

Here at RUN247 we followed her before, during and after the Kobe Trail and chatting ahead of the race in the video embedded below, she admitted: “Of course, I’m not in very good shape. Training was not optimal.

“But fortunately for me, the track is very technical so the other women can’t go fast – so maybe that’s in my favour.

“It’s strange because I’m excited to compete again but at the same time I’m afraid of my level. I can’t be on the top now so I say to myself, okay, maybe you will be 10th or 11th.

“There is a change – there is Maude before and now it’s Maude after.”

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A class apart

But Maude mk2 looked very much like the previous Maude as Mathys defied those lowly expectations with an outstanding performance.

She paced things perfectly on the four-loop course, as she moved past Joyce Njeru and into the lead – and she never looked back, apart from approaching the finish line when she briefly thought one of her rivals had closed the gap.

She actually won by over six minutes and was understandably delighted afterwards, explaining: “My strategy was not to go too fast on loop one and just manage my pace on the second and third ones.

“I didn’t take risks on the downhills – I was very, very focussed on my footing and I didn’t fall.

I was sure the women were going to catch me but they didn’t and I was very surprised.

“I tried to stay focused right up to the finish line and I’m thrilled with this victory.”

It sets up the season perfectly and there’s not long to wait until race two as the GTWS heads straight to China. Will Maude be able to repeat her performance? We’ll find out on Saturday in Sichuan!

Maude Mathys crosses the finish line at Kobe Trail 2024 Photo credit: Golden Trail World Series | Kobe Trail | Colin Olivero
Maude Mathys takes the win in Japan [Photo credit: Golden Trail World Series | Kobe Trail | Colin Olivero]
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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