Kilian Jornet and Judith Wyder are the 2019 Golden Trail World Series (GTWS) champions after both won the Grand Final race at the Annapurna Trail Marathon on Friday (25 October) in Nepal.
For Jornet, it was business as usual. The Team Salomon athlete from Spain finished nearly 15 minutes ahead of second place finisher Davide Magnini (Team Salomon), winning the 42 km race in 4:46:05. Magnini finished in 4:59:59. In the women’s race, Wyder (Team Salomon) bested Italy’s Silvia Rampazzo (Team Tornado) in a time of 5:42:03. The victory was Wyder’s third of the GTWS season.
The top-10 men and women in the overall points standings after the first six races of the year earned a trip to Nepal and a place in the Annapurna Trail Marathon, which included 3,560 meters of elevation gain and climbed to 3,753 meters. The overall final standings of the GTWS were determined by the runners’ three best finishes during the season, plus their result at the Grand Final.
In the men’s race, Magnini managed to keep pace with his running idol for half the race, but the 22-year-old eventually faded to second, securing second place in the season-long standings as well. Jornet had not run a race since winning at Pikes Peak in August. He spent parts of September and October on a Himalayan adventure and family vacation, part of which included an ascent to more than 8,000 meters on Mount Everest.
“I am really happy to finish the season in this way, with four races and four victories,” Jornet said. “It was a hard, demanding race, but also beautiful, as the landscape was constantly changing, combining sections of forest, woodland and high mountain. My great unknown was how I would feel after the expedition. I had been away from running for a month, but in the end my legs responded well, and the altitude didn’t bother me.”
In the Women's race, it looked to be a three-way contest coming in, with Wyder, fellow Swiss Maude Mathys (Team Salomon) and New Zealand’s Ruth Croft (Team Scott) a cut above the pack for most of the season. Wyder, a former orienteering star, won at both the Dolomyths Run and the Ring of Steall in record time this season. She was also second at Sierre-Zinal. Together, Mathys and Wyder had broken course records at every race they ran in the GTWS.
On Friday, Wyder was just too fast. Her third victory of the 2019 GTWS delivered her the overall series title. It was the longest race that Wyder has ever run. Mathys took a wrong turn in Friday’s race and was disqualified. That dropped her to sixth in the GTWS standings for the year.
For Rampazzo, the second place finish was her best of the GTWS and it capped off a very strong season for the Italian and a second place finish in the GTWS overall standings. Friday marked her third podium finish of the year.
Croft finished the season in third overall after a 9th place result in Nepal on Friday. South Africa’s Meg Mackenzie (Team Salomon) continued her fantastic conclusion to the season with a third place result in Nepal. By finishing third she vaulted into fifth in the overall standings of the GTWS.
The final 2019 GTWS standings look like this after the Grand Final at the Annapurna Trail Marathon:
- Kilian Jornet (Team Salomon)
- Davide Magnini (Team Salomon)
- Stian Angermund-Vik (Team Salomon)
- Judith Wyder (Team Salomon)
- Silvia Rampazzo (Team Scarpa/Tornado)
- Ruth Croft (Team Scott)
The Golden Trail Series
The athletes must have participated in three of the six races during the series in order to be eligible for the final. The top-10 men and women with the most points in their three best races earned a trip for themselves and a person of their choice to the Grand Final. The overall final standings (and the men’s and women’s champions) of the Golden Trail World Series were determined by the runners’ three best finishes during the season, plus their result at the Grand Final.
More details at the Golden Trials series website.