First World Champions Crowned in Thailand
Individual honours for Patrick Kipngeno and Allie McLaughlin, Italy and U.S.A. take team gold.
It was hot and humid in Chiang Mai as athletes took on the 8.5km+ and 1,065m+ of the Classic Uphill Championship, the first race in the first ever World Mountain and Trail Running Championshis.
Although it was the Kenyan Philemon Kiriago who took the race out hard, it was his compatriot Patrick Kipngeno who eased away in the race's second half to become the first Kenyan man to win a mountain running World Championship.
As he has done so many times this year, the 2022 Valsir World Cup winner made it look all too easy, cruising into the finish fully 90 seconds ahead of Kiriago who was once again the best of the rest. In third was an emotional Alejandro Garcia who collapsed to the floor upon crossing the line just 6 seconds ahead of Switzerland's Joey Hadorn.
Fifth place was the icing on the cake for Zak Hanna after taking the same position at the European Championships and 3rd in the Valsir World Cup. The best is yet to come for the Irishman.
Defending champion Joe Gray, U.S.A. was just 7 seconds back in 6th.
Results - Male Individual
In the women's race, U.S.A.'s Allie McLaughlin grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck from the very early stages. Showing no signs of fatigue after 5 days of racing at the Golden Trail Series Final, the 2014 Long Distance World Champion just kept on pushing, only slowing in the very late stages. By then she was out of reach and crossed the line to take a jubilant victory!
Persuing McLaughlin were the giants of mountain running; 6 time World Champion Andrea Mayr of Austria, 5 time European Champion Maude Mathys of Switzerland. With daylight between them and the rest of the field,
For Mayr, that is her tenth individual World Championship medal, 14 years after her first, a bronze in Sauze d'Oulx in 2004.
Monica Florea of Romania came in 4th, not quite able to add a Worlds medal to the European Championship medal she claimed in El Paso in July. Onditz Iturbe of Spain rounded out the top 5.
The women's race was truly fitting of a World Championship, with 11 nations in the first 11 positions!
Results - Female Individual
McLaughlin's win lead Team U.S.A. to gold in the women's race, with G.B. & N.I. and Switzerland tied on points behind. The tie is broken by the position of the 3rd runner on each team.
Did Holly Page know what was at stake as she sprinted through the race's final metres, giving everything to come in a second ahead of Silvia Schlaiger of Slovakia? Maybe, maybe not, but her efforts were well rewarded; that position was the difference between silver and bronze as Switzerland's 3rd runner, Selina Burch, came in 25th.
Results - Female Teams
Italy may have missed out on the individual medals today, but the Azzuri men packed well to come away with a first team title since 2015.
It was double delight for Switzerland as they ended the day with 2 sets of team medals, the men going one better than the women in taking silver. Alejandro Garcia's tremendous run lead the Spanish team to the 3rd step of the podium.
Results - Male Teams
With most of the athletes in today's race doubling back to race again in the Classic Up and Down on Sunday, we're in for a red hot rematch in the hills above Chiang Mai!
Photos courtesy of the LOC. Replay the full livestream below.