Italy’s Antonio Toninelli and Austria’s Andrea Mayr lived up to expectation in the Bavarian mountains of southern Germany by dominating the 44th edition of the Hochfelln Berglauf on Sunday (24), the sixth race in the seven-race WMRA Mountain Running World Cup.
The competition didn’t disappoint at this historic race as Toninelli achieved a hard-fought victory. He had set the Hochfelln Berglauf as one of his major targets for 2017, and he took the title with a 45-second margin over local mountain runner and ski mountaineering athlete Anton Palzer from Germany. Italy’s Alex Baldacini took the bronze medal and was a further 45 seconds back.
A large group of 10 runners, led by Eritreans Filmon Abraham and Yossief Tekle, accelerated strongly up the first climb. A second group of eight – which included eventual women’s winner Mayr – was in pursuit.
Toninelli applied consistent pressure up through the forest and eventually the field strung out behind him in single file. The Italian never weakened and, cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd, ended up covering the 8.9km course in 42:58, having tackled 1074m of elevation. Nine different countries were represented in the top 16 positions.
Mayr made a bold attempt to break her own race record. She fell short by a mere four seconds, but her winning time of 47:32 put her more than three minutes ahead of her nearest opponent. Germany’s Sarah Kistner and Michelle Mayr took the second and third places in 50:37 and 51:12 respectively, while Pavla Schorna Matyasova of the Czech Republic finished fourth.
Although she didn’t race in Bergen, Italy’s Alice Gaggi still leads the WMRA World Cup standings going into the final race in the series in Smarna Gora in Slovenia on 7 October. Mayr closed the gap with her win in Bergen, but is still 50 points behind, while Matyasova is in a secure third position. All three are on the start list for the final World Cup race in two weeks’ time. The men's World Cup rankings will update later this week.
WMRA for the IAAF