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June 22, 2024 – Palencia. Athletes from 15 countries competed in the U18 International Mountain Running Cup today, bringing together exciting young talent from all over the world. Runners travelled from countries including Mexico, Slovenia, Hungary, the United States and Bulgaria to take part. The host race for this, the 17th edition of the Cup, was the stunning Montaña Palentina, in the province of Palencia, Spain.

The course was a 5.4km circular loop, with 225 metres of elevation gain, starting and finishing at the Barruelo de Santullán football field. The first half involved a gentle climb, followed by a more favorable descent back to the starting point. The predominantly wooded terrain and good trails produced predictably fast-paced racing.

Before the U18 competition kicked off, there was an open public race with 50 runners. Then the main competition, which is open to runners born in 2007 and 2008, began. The women set off first, with the men following 45 minutes later.U18 female winner

In the women’s competition it was very close at the front. Eventually it was Licia Ferrari of Italy who triumphed in 27.49. Pushing her all the way to the line was Marina Pujalte Sanchez of Spain in 28.14. Anina Hirzel of Switzerland completed the women’s podium in 28.16.  

U18 male winnerThe men’s competition was similarly close, and eventually just 12 seconds separated the podium. Emilien Simoneau of France took the win in 23.59. Close behind him, in 24.10 was Jhonnatan Omar Reyes Rodriguez of Mexico, who beat Dylan Blair of the USA in a sprint finish by just one second!

Team competition

In the team competition Spain came out on top for the women, with the USA taking silver and Scotland the bronze. For the men the USA won gold, France silver and Italy bronze.

Team and individual results 

The next U18 International Mountain Running Cup will take place in Slovakia, near Bratislava in June 2025.