New Course Records at 35th Montée du Nid d’Aigle
Unprecedented times and new names marked the 35th edition of the Montée du Nid d'Aigle. Kenyans Patrick Kipnego and Joyce Muthoni Njeru set new records in the traditional race at the foot of Mont Blanc.
The 19.5 km course featured an outstanding performance by Patrick Kipnego and Philemon Ombogo Kiriago, who led the race from the start. The two Kenyans were shoulder to shoulder until the seventh kilometer. Later, Patrick arrived alone beating his teammate and taking first place with a record time of 1:38:54. Kipnego states that he was "feeling nice all along the course, and the landscape was breathtaking". On his side, Kiriago was seven minutes behind his partner. For him, "the race was fantastic, but the altitude was challenging.” The French flag also joined this podium with a third place obtained by Théodore Klein, who set a time of 1:45:03.
In the women's category, Joyce Muthoni Njeru had the mountain to herself for the entire route. The Kenyan maintained an impeccable execution with a steady pace throughout the race. Her high performance resulted in a new record for the women's category, subtracting six minutes from the mark set in 2006. Only two minutes later, the French runner Blandine l'Hirondel arrived, still breathing enough to chat and joke. Her time also beats the previous record, but it was not enough to obtain the highest place. The women's podium reflects the variety of this race, waving the flag of Kenya in the first stair, France in second, and Italy in third, with Camilla Magliano holding a time of 1:13:37.
At the moment of comparing this race to last year’s, there is an increasing interest from new athletes to join and a rapid ascent in the level of performance. In the previous edition, the winners were Lucy Wambui and Xavier Cheverier, who were present on this occasion too and occupied the 5th and 12th places respectively. The past year Cheverier got the new record of time in the course by completing the route in 1:44:25 however, Patrick Kipnego took his title away by marking 1:38:54. On the women side, after 16 years of what seemed an unbeatable time of 2:06:06 from Isabelle Guillot, finally, Joyce Muthoni Njeru set a new record with 2:00:31.
The 35th edition of the Mont du Nid was part of the Valsir World Cup 2022. It was a Gold Label race, meaning the first place took 50 points to the ranking. This date marks a turning point in the standings of the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup 2022. In the men's category, Philemon Kiriago scaled to second place, which means Zak Hannah's relegation to third position. Patrick Kipinego continues to hold the lead with 150 points.
In the case of women, there are also some movements on the table, with a consolidated first place under the name of Joyce Muthoni Njeru accumulating 150 points after her previous victories in Portugal, Austria, and now France. Just behind her, the Italian Camilla Magliano claimed her second position in the ranking. Magliano climbed two spots after today's splendid performance. The novelty in the results is Blandine L'Hirondel, whose name just appeared in the Cup with 40 points positioning herself as a threatening competitor.
World Cup Standings after 5 races: WCup_2022_-_RESULTS_after_5_races.pdf
The World Mountain Running Cup's next date is July 30th. This time the challenge will be in Premana with Giir di Mont in short uphill and long mountain categories. Certainly, a date to start forecasting the final results.
More photos from Marco Gulberti: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mountainrunning/albums/72177720300585368
Written by María Ávila for WMRA, photos by Marco Gulberti for Corsa in Montagna.