15th International U18 Mountain Running Cup
After 2 years of cancellations due to Covid-19, the event is confirmed for Sunday 26th of June in the town of Saluzzo, an hour south of Turin, Italy.
Entry forms, regulations and the Team Manual have been sent to all member federations, including details of travel grants, accommodation and the course.
This year's races will take place over 4.35km with 155m of ascent and descent. They begin with a short loop, 550m around the centre of Saluzzo, before a long loop of 3.8km takes runners up onto the hillside to the west of the town.
There will also be non-championship races for under 14s and under 16s.
The International U18 Mountain Running Cup plays an important part in the development of young athletes, giving them the opportunity to represent their country in an international competition. It also gives athletes whose primary sport might be track, cross country or orienteering a flavour of racing in the mountains.
For fans of the sport, the U18 Cup is an opportunity to see many of the future stars of mountain running, although many of the athletes who take part go on to find success in other disciplines of athletics. Like Yeman Crippa, who won the 2012 edition of the event in Glendalough, Ireland, and who broke the Italian half marathon record earlier this year.
The 2019 races saw dominant performances from the French and Italian teams in the boys and girls races respectively, with both taking a 1-2-3 clean sweep of the podium. Katja Pattis was victorious in the girls race while Hugo Schropfer got the better of his teammate Basile Basset in dramatic fashion, taking the win by the width of the pins on his number.
Three years later, it will be a brand new group of athletes on the start line in Saluzzo. The French and Italian teams will no doubt be looking for a repeat of the 2019 results, but it won't be easy. Turkey, England, Czech Republic and Poland all have a history of sending consistently strong teams to this event.
Images - Damiano Benedetto, Corsa in Montagna.