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Greatest Mountain Race of All Time: The Contenders

While there aren't any races on we've been trying to keep you in mountain running content. First we took a look at the greatest mountain runners of all time and now we're looking at the greatest mountain RACES of all time. And again you get your chance to vote for your favourites.

 The first stage is the 'group stage'. There are 10 long races (over 21k) and 12 short races (under 21k). These are divided into 4 groups. You vote for what you think is the greatest race in each group. The deadline is 22nd June. Voting opens at 8pm CET on Thursday 18th June.

The top 2 races from each group will go through to the knockout stage where they will go head-to-head to decide the greatest mountain race of all time! You can download your own wall chart to follow the competition.

Let's take a brief look at the mountain races in the competition:

Group A (long)

Mount Fuji Ascent
Location: Japan
Distance: 21k
Elevation: +3048m
History: this race has been in existence for 72 years.

Sierre Zinal
Location: Switzerland
Distance: 31km
Elevation: +2200m -1100m
History: possibly the most famous long mountain race, it began in 1974. Previous winners of ‘the race of the five 4000s’ include Jonathan Wyatt, Ricardo Mejia, Kilian Jornet (7 times), Lucy Wambui Murigi, Anna Pichrtova (4 times) and Angela Mudge (first woman to finish in under 3 hours)

Three Peaks Race
Location: England
Distance: 37k
Elevation: +1608m
History: the first race was run in 1954, though it was already a well-established long distance walking route. Past winners include WMRA council member Sarah Rowell (4 times), Rob Jebb (4 times), Anna Frost, Tom Owens, Anna Pichrtova and Victoria Wilkinson (5 times). The race incorporated the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in 2008.

Kepler Challenge 60k
Location: New Zealand
Distance: 60k
Elevation: +1350m
History: this race has been going for 31 years and follows the Kepler Track through the Fiordland National Park. Previous winners include Ruby Muir (6 times) and Vajin Armstrong (3 times)

Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon
Location: Malaysia
Distance 26k
Elevation +2528m
History: the race began in 1987 and as of its 30th anniversary year of 2017 it can no longer happen in order to preserve the mountain (as a UNESCO heritage site). Previous winners include Ricardo Mejia (3 times), Anna Pichrtova (5 times), Kilian Jornet (4 times) and Ruth Croft (twice).

Group B (long)

Giir di Mont
Location: Italy
Distance: 32k
Elevation: +2860m and down
History: the race began in 1961 as a challenge to unite the 12 pastures of the Premanese territory. It served as the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in 2017 (won by Silvia Rampazzo and Francesco Puppi) and the course records are held by Petro Mamu and Kasie Enman.

Location: Spain
Distance 45k
Elevation +4000m
History: the only marathon distance mountain race with 4000m of ascent over just 4 climbs, this race recently joined the WMRA World Cup and is one of the toughest mountain races in Spain.

Location: Switzerland
Distance 42k
Elevation: +1829m
History: the race began in 1993 and nowadays is a huge mass participation event. Past winners include Jonathan Wyatt (who has held the record since 2003), Andrea Mayr, Tesfaye Eticha (4 times), Emebet Abossa (3 times), Aline Camboulives (3 times) and Robbie Simpson (3 times). It has also served as the race for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships.

Pikes Peak
Location: Colorado, USA
Distance: 42k
Elevation: +2382 and then down
History: this race dates back to 1956 and, unusually for the times, it was open for women as well as men. Matt Carpenter holds the men’s record and has won an astounding 12 times. Erica Larson has been the most successful woman, with 5 wins. The race has served as the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships.

K42 Patagonia
Location: Argentina
Distance: 42k
Elevation +2184m
History: this race started in 2003 and takes place in Villa La Angostura in Patagonia. Previous winners include the record holders Elisa Desco and Miguel Heras and in 2019 it was the race for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships (as well as the Classic distance race) resulting in wins for Jim Walmsley and Cristina Simion.

Group C (classic)

La Montee Grand Ballon
Location: France
Distance: 14.8k
Elevation: +1000m
History: dating back to 1981 this historic race has formed part of our World Cup and previous winners include Jonathan Wyatt and Isabelle Guillot.

Location: Wales
Distance: 10 miles/15k
Elevation: 994m (up and down race)
History: the race started in 1976 and has hosted the European Championships and the World Cup. Previous winners include Marco De Gasperi, Izabela Zatorska, Angela Mudge, Cesare Maestri, Andi Jones (6 times), Mary Wilkinson and Sarah McCormack (both 3 times)

Hochfelln Berglauf
Location: Germany
Distance 8.9k
Elevation +1819m
History: this race has been in existence for 47 years and has appeared many times in the World Cup.

Smarna Gora
Location: Slovenia
Distance: 10k
Elevation: +710/ -350m
History: the race is 40 years old and it has been part of the World Cup (or Grand Prix) 18 times. Previous winners include: Ines Hižar, Rosita Rota-Gelpi,  Izabela Zatorska, Petra Majdič, Mateja Kosovelj, Victoria Wilkinson, Andrea Mayr, Lucija Krkoč, Alice Gaggi, Sarah Tunstall and Lucy Murigi for the women and Lucio Fregona, Marco De Gasperi, Jonathan Wyatt, Emanuele Manzi, Mitja Kosovelj, Antonio Tornielli, Ahmet Arslan, Alex Baldaccini, Yussief Tekle, Fred Musobo, Petro Mamu, and Johan Bugge for the men. 

Challenge Stellina
Location: Italy
Distance: 14k
Elevation: +1630m -210m
History: the race is 30 years old. Previous winners include Jonathan Wyatt (who still has the record from 2004), Antonio Molinari, Isabelle Guillot, Gudrun Pfluger, Izabela Zatorska, Angela Mudge, Antonella Confortola, and Melissa Moon.

Kitzbuhel Hornlauf
Location: Austria
Distance 12.9k
Elevation +1234m
History: this race has a long history, dating back 41 years

Group D (classic)

Skåla Opp
Location: Norway
Distance: 8.2k
Elevation: +1819m
History: this race started 17 years ago and is billed as ‘Northern Europe’s toughest uphill race’

Drei Zinnen
Location: Italian Dolomites
Distance: 17k,
Elevation: 1333m
History: now in its 23rd year, not many races can boast a finish line as spectacular as this in the shadow of the iconic Tre Cima. 2 new course records were set in 2019 by Sarah Tunstall and Petro Mamu.

Mount Washington Road Race
Location: USA
Distance 12.2k
Elevation +1402m
History: this race has been held annually since 1966 but it actually originated in 1936. Previous winners include Jonathan Wyatt (who still holds the record he set in 2004), Matt Carpenter, Anna Pichrtova (6 times) and Joseph Gray (4 times)

Grossglockner Berglauf
Location: Austria
Distance 13k
Elevation +1265m
History: the race has been in existence for 15 years. Previous winners include Jonathan Wyatt, Sarah Tunstall, Anna Pichrtova

Schlickeralm Lauf
Location: Austria
Distance: 11.7k
Elevation 1270m,
History: the race started in 1991 and its venue of Telfes has served as the World, European and Masters Mountain Running Championships. It has also been a World Cup race many times. Previous winners include Andrea Mayr (current women’s record holder and 4-time winner), Jonathan Wyatt (7 times), Geoffrey Gikuni Ndungu (4 times) and Anna Pichrtova (5 times)

Trofeo Vanoni
Location: Italy
Distance: 7.2k
Elevation: +435m
History: this relay race (or solo race for women) has a long history, dating back 62 years


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