Petro Mamu of Eritrea and Austria's Andrea Mayr took commanding victories at the third stage of the 2016 WMRA Mountain Running World Cup in Telfes im Stubai, Austria, on Sunday (31).
Mamu covered the 11.5km course, which features an elevation gain of almost 1300 metres, in 56:07, finishing over a minute clear of Great Britain’s Robbie Simpson.
The Eritrean, the clear favourite after collecting victories in the first two legs of the World Cup this summer, executed his break from the five-man leading pack in the steep middle portion of the course, where he built a big advantage which was never seriously challenged.
The win gives Mamu, the 2012 world champion and 2014 World Cup winner, a tally of 300 points in the WMRA MOuntain Running World Cup standings and makes him the big favourite to regain his title.
Simpson, a top-four finisher at both the 2014 WMRA World Championships and 2015 European Championships, clocked 57:39, with the Kenyan pair of Francis Wangiri and Isaac Kosgei third and fourth respectively in 58:16 and 58:31.
Five-time world champion Mayr dominated the women’s contest, clocking 1:04:13 and finishing nearly three minutes ahead of Slovakia's Silvia Schwaiger and improving her own course record by 14 seconds.
However, with Mayr not participoating in the first two World Cup races this summer and three winners in as many races, the women's World Cup title is still very far from being close to being decided at the halfway point in the contest.
Schwaiger, who was fifth at the European Championship a month ago, clocked 1:07:00 to take runner-up honours.
USA's Annie Bersagel, a 2:28:29 marathoner and the 2011 Pan American Games 10,000m bronze medallist but largely unknown as a mountain runner, finished a surprise third in 1:08:15. Runners from five countries were in the first six positions.
After several pleasant sunny days in the Stubaital Valley, located 11 kilometres south of Innsbruck, rain began to fall as the field of almost 200 runners from 11 countries gather at the start line. Luckily, the rain stopped just before the race started but it still left a wet, slippery course.
Tomo Sarf (WMRA) for the IAAF