Murphy and Mamu Magnificent at Trofeo Nasego
After the previous day’s exciting racing at Vertical Nasego, expectation was very high for Trofeo Nasego. It was a race which promised a lot and delivered even more!
In the women’s Vertical Nasego we saw a real battle between Andrea Mayr (AUT) and Grayson Murphy (USA), with Mayr coming out on top in the short, uphill race. This set up a fascinating rematch in Trofeo Nasego, the longer race at 21k, with an up and down profile (1330m of total ascent). Would Mayr’s experience and strength shine through, or would Murphy’s raw speed and power over seemingly any distance be decisive? Or would any one of many other strong female athletes, including Lucy Wambui (KEN), Sarah McCormack (IRE), Joyce Njeru (KEN), Francesca Ghelfi and Erica Ghelfi (both ITA), to name but a few, challenge the expected favourites?
The men’s race was equally enticing after Vertical Nasego’s opener. Henri Aymonod (ITA) seems unbeatable on short, uphill races, but could he do the double here? Cesare Maestri (ITA) took a fantastic 3rd place at Sierre-Zinal a few weeks ago; could he have another strong World Cup run here? Marek Chrascina (CZE) finished just behind Maestri at the last World Championships and recently finished 3rd at Krkonossky, so was also one to watch. And of course, as ever there was a strong contingent of Kenyan athletes including Geoffrey Ndungu, Eric Muthoni and Timothi Kirui in the mix.
In the women’s race Murphy led it out from the start, initially with Njeru and Wambui, with McCormack and Mayr right behind them. Maestri took it out for the men, with a pack of runners including Aymonod, Petro Mamu (ERI), Kirui, Martin DeMatteis (ITA) and Muthoni. Nobody was giving an inch in the men’s race in the early stages.
By 10k things had changed. Murphy was still leading the women, with a very small gap to Njeru, and Mayr was around 20 seconds behind them, opening a gap on the other women. Murphy and Njeru continued to stretch out their lead over the next few km. In the men’s race Mamu and Muthoni had opened up a small lead over a chasing pack which included Maestri and Kirui. There was still a long way to go but gaps were opening.
At 13k the leaders were doing some damage on those behind them on the big climb up to Refugio Nasego and this was to prove decisive. Now Mamu had a 30 second lead over Maestri and Kirui, and in the women’s race Murphy had managed to open up a 2 minute lead over Andrea Mayr, with Njeru behind her in 3rd. Now the question was: could anybody close those gaps on the big descent?
In a word: no! Murphy maintained her 2 minute buffer and even added to it a little, winning in a new course record of 1.45.56. Mayr held onto 2nd and finished in 1.48.15, with Francesca Ghelfi putting in a fantastic 2nd half of the race to take 3rd in 1.49.53. Njeru lost quite a bit of ground in the 2nd half and finished 4th in 1.52.11, with Alice Gaggi 5th in 1.54.37.
Mamu also stretched out his lead on the descent, taking the win in 1.33.55, also a course record. Maestri took 2nd in 1.36.02, managing to hold off Eric Muthoni, who was just 25 seconds behind him. The gap to 4th was even closer, with just 5 seconds separating Muthoni and Ndungu. Martin DeMatteis finished in 5th in 1.36.55.
Another incredible weekend of mountain running in this year’s World Cup!
Full results can be found at: https://www.endu.net/en/events/trofeo-nasego/results
The next stop for the World Cup is another double-header at Canfranc-Canfranc on September 11th and 12th. The long mountain race (45k) will take place on the Saturday and the classic mountain race (16k) on the Sunday. We look forward to bringing you a preview and all the news!