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The fourth race of this year's Valsir Mountain Running World Cup is scheduled for this weekend (12-14 July) at the Montemuro Vertical Run in Castro Daire, Portugal. Now in its fourth edition and third inclusion in the World Cup, this race has rapidly gained a reputation as a classic in the making.

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After hosting the Portuguese Mountain Running Championship in its inaugural year, the Montemuro Vertical Run elevated its status by joining the WMRA World Cup as a Gold Label race in 2022. Since then, it has been a regular feature in the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup calendar.

This progression highlights the ambition of the organisers. Mountain running is flourishing in Portugal, particularly in Castro Daire, where a dedicated organising team ensures that both athletes and their companions feel at home throughout the weekend. From Friday to Sunday, the organisers, led by Pedro Pontes and Luis Pereira, along with their team, meticulously create an elite race experience that remains accessible to all runners, this year hosting athletes from more than 15 nationalities.

This project is a testament to the collaborative efforts of the Municipality of Castro Daire, the Portuguese Athletics Federation, and local associations in advancing mountain running.


Athletes will face a demanding 10.2 km ascent to the summit of Fragas do Inferno (1,317m) in the Serra do Montemuro, with a total elevation gain of 1,090 metres.

The competitive route starts at Parada de Ester (Castro Daire) and finishes at Fragas do Inferno, in an almost constant climb from the vicinity of the Paiva river to the summit of the Serra do Montemuro.

A mountain route of rare beauty where, as you gain altitude, the participant will have the opportunity to view at the Estrela, Gralheira and Caramulo massifs and, once the goal is reached, at the Douro valley and reliefs to the north of this great river.


Women’s race

In the women’s field, the defending champion Scout Adkin (HOKA EU) returns to Montemuro following an impressive 4th place finish last weekend in the rain-soaked and foggy Grossglockner Mountain Run. However, her quest for a consecutive victory will be fiercely contested by Philaries Jeruto Kisang (run2gether) and Gloria Chebet (run2gether), who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively last weekend. The Scottish runner will undoubtedly face a formidable challenge, but her victory is far from impossible.

Joyce Muthoni Njeru (Atletico Saluzzo) is also set to compete in Castro Daire. Fresh from her triumphs at both the Vertical Kilometer (VK) and Skyrace at Broken Arrow, she will be aiming to secure more points in the overall World Cup following her 5th place finish last weekend, currently leading the women's standings after three races.

Susanna Saapunki (New Balance) arrives in Portugal brimming with energy, eager to improve upon her 6th place finish last weekend in Austria. In 2023, she claimed third at La Montee du Nid d’Aigle and secured victories at Smarna Gora and Primiero Dolomiti Trail. Alongside her, Camila Magliano (Altra), who finished 4th here last year and achieved a 6th place at Montee du Nid d’Aigle, as well as a 4th and 3rd at Canfranc-Canfranc, will undoubtedly be battling for a top position.

Other notable contenders include Charlotte Cotton (A.D Marathon), Florencia Milanesi (Asics), and Maria Benito (Arch Max). These athletes, along with the local Portuguese runners, promise to deliver an exhilarating race for the spectators.

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Scout Adkin (HOKA EU) wins the Montemuro Vertical Run 2023. © WMRA- Marco Gulberti

Men’s race

In the men’s race, while we don’t have last year’s podium returning, we will for sure see an epic battle to see who the first man is arriving to the top of the Fragas do Inferno.

One of the break-out stars of this year’s men’s European offroad Championships, the German Lukas Ehrle (Asics) comes to Montemuro for its second World Cup race after a finishing 3rd at the European Offroad Uphill race, 2nd at Up & Down and a fantastic 5th place Grossglockner Mountain Run and having run 10,000 meters in 29:09.48 in April.

Remi Leroux (Merrell) comes into this race with two top-ten finishes at Broken Arrow two weeks ago and a 14th place at the start of his European tour. He was also one of the break-out stars of last year’s World Cup competition with his second place here at Montemuro Vertical Run, a second at Canfranc Canfranc Vertical and a fourth at the classic race at Canfranc.

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Rémi Leroux (Merrel) finished 2nd at Montemuro Vertical Run 2023. © WMRA- Marco Gulberti

Cesare Maestri, (Nike Trail) a well-known runner in the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup, with great results like a 3rd place at last’s year Fletta Trail, who this year ran the Lille half marathon in 1:03:28.

Another run2gether runner, Ephantus Mwangi Njeri, who finished 11th last weekend, will also be a strong contender together with the French Alric Petit, who already finished 4th here last year.


Since its inception, the WMRA has adhered to strict anti-doping regulations, complying with World Athletics protocols. The 2024 series will feature WADA-accredited anti-doping measures in every race, continuing the tradition of rigorous testing implemented since 2007.

In 2023 alone, 70 tests were conducted in the 18 races of the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup series, with more than 72 planned for this season and its 12 races, all of them by independent and accredited local entities, always recognized by the respective athletics local federation and the WADA.

Follow along on Facebook and Instagram and get involved using #wearemountainrunning #valsirworldcup #wmra24 #wmra40years

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