On Sunday, Kenya’s Joyce Muthoni Njeru achieved the Canfranc-Canfranc double at Valsir Mountain Running World Cup when she won the women’s 16 km classic mountain race.
The day before the race, a storm plagued the venue, causing some sections of the race route to become even more slippery and treacherous than they already were.
This route was largely traversed through very difficult terrain, and with an ascent of 1600m, this presented a difficult challenge for the participants. Starting at just over 1,000m, there’s a short flat section before the steep ascent up to the peak of the mountain at La Moleta Point (2572 m, 5.8 km mark), followed by a long but technical descent to the finish line.
A large number of the athletes who competed on Friday were expected to participate in today’s race, which meant we’d see a repeat of last Friday’s top-of-the-stage match-up between Joyce Njeru (Kenya) and Lucy Murigi (Kenya). Camille Magliano (Italy) will also be back in action, as will Charlotte Cotton (Belgium).
Njeru struck hard from the outset, establishing a lead at the start that she did not relinquish until the end of the race. Murigi trailed in pursuit, with Magliano just right behind her. By the time Njeru reached La Moleta, she had already put a considerable distance between herself and her strongest competitor, Murigi. She made it to the top in 1:09.14, five minutes ahead of Murigi.
Njeru – Target to beat last year’s time
.“The more I ran the more I felt I was getting strong. My target was to beat my time from last year” said Njeru.
Since Njeru was sure to take the first place, the second and third positions were up for grabs. Magliano trailed Murigi by about 90 seconds, trying desperately to keep up as she made her way through the tricky terrain. Following behind were Bel Calero, Cotton, and Aida Alcuaz.
Throughout the long descent, Njeru extended her lead, appearing to be limping at times. However, when she reached the bottom of the climb, Njeru switched gears and powered to a 1.58:57 victory, completely dominating the remainder of the field.
“The steep downhill was very technical and I think I misstepped but it’s part of the race and I won’t give up. I could have walked but I tried to persist even though the pain is not good – I finished ”said Njeru.
Murigi remained in second place, clocking a time of 2.10:32, with Magliano in third place, two minutes behind.
Women’s Top Five
Joyce Muthoni Njeru (KEN) – 1.58.57
Lucy Murigi (KEN) – 2.10.32
Camilla Magliano (ITA) – 2.12.41
Bel Calero (ESP) – 2.19.03
Ainara Alcuaz (ESP) – 2.22.22
There will be a vertical uphill race, a long mountain race, and a classic mountain race at Sky Gran Canaria for the following gold label race in this year’s World Cup.
|13 Oct||Gold Label Valsir World Cup: Sky Gran Canaria (Vertical Uphill)||Agaete|
|14 Oct||Gold Label Valsir World Cup: Sky Gran Canaria (Long Mtn)||Agaete|
|15 Oct||Gold Label Valsir World Cup: Sky Gran Canaria (Classic Mtn)||Agaete|
The photo above is from a YouTube screengrab