Morgan and Frano Victorious at Canfranc Canfranc 45k
There was a huge amount of excitement for the first ever World Cup race in Spain on Saturday 11th September! Canfranc-Canfranc served up two races for us this weekend. Firstly, the 45k race today was round 9 of this year’s World Cup, our next long mountain race. Tomorrow it’s the 16k classic mountain race for round 10.
The 45k race here is renowned for being tough. It’s technical and rugged, with 4 climbs of between 250m and 1400m, and of course it’s one of our longest races in the World Cup. On the start line we had some great runners, who we knew from previous WMRA performances were strong over the distance.
For the men we had Peter Frano (SVK), winner of Tatra SkyMarathon this year, and Raul Criado (ESP), who was 3rd at Tatra SkyMarathon and was 12th here last year. Basque runner Ugaitz Artola (ESP) was also hotly tipped. In the women’s starting line up were Charlotte Morgan (GBR), 2018 WMRA Long Distance World Champion currently lying 3rd in our World Cup standings, Eva Mesado (ESP), the 2020 runner-up here, and Olivia Magnone (FRA) also expected to be challenging for the podium.
As Covid restrictions were still in place at Canfranc the runners set off in small groups at 1 minute intervals. These small gaps were soon to become bigger gaps as the first climb of 1400m kicked in. In the women’s race Morgan struck out into an early lead and by the top of the first climb at Moleta she was 4 minutes in front of Magnone, who in turn was 2 minutes ahead of Mesado. Similarly, in the men’s race it was Fran Naval (ESP), who had a clear lead of 3 minutes over Frano, with Criado and Inigo Macias snapping at his heels, just 30 seconds behind.
One long descent and another big ascent (of 800m) and descent later, and by the 28k Candanchu checkpoint it was all change in the men’s race. Frano was now in the lead, but Criado was just 30 seconds behind. A gap of 3 minutes had opened back to Naval in 3rd, with Macias another minute behind him. In the women’s race Morgan had really begun to stretch out a lead and she passed through Candanchu with a lead of 16 minutes over Magnone, with Mesado 3 minutes behind. It seemed unlikely that Morgan could be caught, but the men’s race could still go to any of the top 4.
Who would we see running into the finish first? In the end it was Frano, who looked incredibly fresh and took the win in 5.38.16. Criado just couldn’t hang onto the 2nd place he’d battled for for so long and it was Macias who came in as runner-up in 5.42.48, with Criado completing the men’s podium in 5.43.23.
It was no surprise to see Morgan coming in to win the women’s race, though the cuts on her knee and face showed that it hadn’t been an easy final section! Her time was 6.38.09, which put her in 8th place overall. Magnone was 2nd in 6.57.14 and Mesado 3rd in 7.01.37, with a gap of over 10 minutes on 4th.
Find full results at https://ranking.wmra.info/
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