The World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) World Cup returns after a three-week break with a double header in Nasego in northern Italy this weekend.
Vertical Nasego – a short uphill event – kicks the action off on Saturday in what will be round seven of the World Cup, before the classic mountain race Trofeo Nasego takes place on Sunday in round eight.
Which runners to look out for
In the women’s race, Grayson Murphy (USA), the defending World Champion who was recently crowned US National Mountain Running Champion, will be racing in Europe for the first time. She’ll be reunited with her fellow athletes from the podium at the 2019 World Championships, Elise Poncet (FRA) and Philippa Williams (GBR) for starters.
Also on the start line will be Andrea Mayr (AUT), fresh from winning Challenge Stellina and six time World Champion and record holder at Vertical Nasego, among many other accolades. She’ll be joined by the reigning World Cup winner Sarah McCormack (IRE), who won Trofeo Nasego last year.
As ever there will be strong competition from Kenyan athletes. Lucy Murigi, two-time World Champion who is currently lying fifth in the World Cup, will always be one to watch, as will Joyce Njeru, who is having a great season, having won at Grossglockner and Krkonossky. Charlotte Morgan (GBR), the current leader in the World Cup, will also be toeing the line.
But there will be plenty of Italian competition out to win on home turf. Alice Gaggi, currently second in the World Cup, is expected to do well, as are Erica and Francesca Ghelfi, and Lorenza Beccaria, who is also having a good run in the World Cup. Athletes like Susanna Saapunki (FIN), Lucie Marsanova (CZE), Mocja Koligar (SLO) and Timea Merenyi (HUN) could also feature.
The men’s race will also bring together podium finishers from the last World Championship as silver medallist, Cesare Maestri (ITA), will face Marek Chraschina (CZE) for a rematch. But they will have their work cut out to beat Henri Aymonod (ITA) in a short uphill race. He is the defending champion here and has since won Chiavenna Lagunc and Piz Tri Vertikal. He also won Challenge Stellina last weekend
Geoffrey Ndungu (KEN), who won at Krkonossky and is currently lying third in the World Cup rankings, will be a strong contender, as will his compatriot Timothy Kirui, who was second at Krkonossky. Also flying high in the World Cup in second place is Sandor Szabo (HUN) and Timotej Becan (SLO), who is currently sixth could also feature.
Vertical Nasego is stage seven of this year’s World Cup. This tough short uphill race, at 4.3k with 1000m of ascent, will see the athletes using their hands in the steepest parts, as they make their way up to the finish at 1,400m.
Then it’s straight onto Trofeo Nasego for stage eight where athletes will take on this 20th edition of the race, consisting of 21k with 1330m of ascent. The first half of the race is fast and then at 12k the runners begin their big climb up to Refugio Nasego, before the final steep descent.
Race schedule (all timings local)
Saturday 4th September
10am women’s Vertical Nasego start
10.45am men’s Vertical Nasego start
2.30pm awards ceremony
Sunday 5th September
9.30am Trofeo Nasego start
2.30pm awards ceremony