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Reigning champ Sophia Laukli to miss Golden Trail World Series opener in Japan

Jonathan Turner
News Director
Updated on
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Sophia Laukli, the overall winner of the Golden Trail World Series last year, will miss this weekend’s opening race in Japan, the Kobe Trail.

In the last couple of years Laukli has brilliantly combined Olympic cross-country skiing and trail running, first making her mark in the latter sphere with victory in the super-technical Stranda Fjord Trail Race in 2022.

And then last year she claimed the series-long GTWS women’s prize by the narrowest of margins in the finale at the Golfo dell’Isola Trail event in Italy.

One of many highlights of the season was her victory in the 50th edition of Sierre-Zinal – on what was her very first attempt at the iconic race.

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‘Easier said than done’

Holding dual citizenship with a Norwegian father and American mother, she represented the USA at the Winter Olympics in 2022 and until now the transition to running in the summer had gone remarkably smoothly.

But at the press conference ahead of the first GTWS event in Kobe, she revealed that the season-opener has come a little too soon.

She explained: “I finished the ski season three or four weeks ago and was really excited for this trip.

“I ran a lot during the winter but trail running is different to running and I would like to say that I nailed the managing of it, but I think I was a little bit ambitious.

“I wanted to get into running super fast and I think I didn’t realise that’s easier said than done and have had some issues since.

“So I’ve decided not to race.”

Sophia Laukli Sierre Zinal win 2023 photo copyright GoldenTrailSeries and The Adventure Bakery
Sophia Laukli wins Sierre-Zinal [©GoldenTrailSeries® – Sierre-Zinal – The Adventure Bakery]
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Learning curve

And asked by RUN247’s Jenny Lucas-Hill if she’ll do anything different going forward, she added: “I did manage this balance of skiing and running last year but I think I need to put more emphasis on my transitions in the fall for running into skiing and then skiing to running in the spring.

“The fact that I’m not racing now means that I didn’t figure it out.

“And I think I need to look more to the other runners right now. I think I can learn more from my fellow trailers and their racing.”

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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