Everything you need to know about this week’s big off-road endurance running event in Austria

The best mountain and trail runners in the world descend on Innsbruck-Stubai in Austria this week for the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships.

Taking place just eight months after the inaugural event in Chiang Mai in Thailand, a 30-plus-strong British team will be challenging for medals. That’s twice as many athletes as the GB team for this year’s World Cross Country Championships in Australia. A sign of the times? Or is it merely a reflection of the fact there are 10 races over a four-day period from June 7-10?

British hopes will be high too as the squad features Jon Albon, Scout Adkin and junior Rebecca Flaherty (all pictured in main image above) among others. Runners from Uganda and Kenya will be difficult to beat, though, while Italy, Switzerland, France and Spain all have a good tradition on the hills and trails.

In total 1500 athletes from around 70 countries will take part in an event which sees World Athletics joining forces with the World Mountain Running Association, International Trail Running Association and the International Association of Ultrarunners.

For our coverage of last year’s event in Chiang Mai, click here, whereas you can find an in-depth feature on the background to the 2023 event here.

June 7: Senior men’s and women’s uphill only vertical race (7.3km, 1020m elevation)

This uphill event starts in Neustift in Stubai and, after a circuit of the village, heads on to narrow forest trails.

Leading contenders are expected to be last year’s one-two, Allie McLaughlin of the United States and Andrea Mayr of Austria, in the women’s race, with defending champion Patrick Kipngeno and Ombago Kiriago Philemon of Kenya facing top Europeans like Alejandro Garcia and Daniel Osanz of Spain in the men’s race.

Jacob Adkin (Helen MacVicker)

Jacob Adkin, the 2019 European champion, leads the GB men’s hopes with Andrew Douglas, Chris Richards and Joe Steward.

Scout Adkin of Ambleside is joined by Kate Avery, Phillipa Williams and Sara Willhoit in a strong GB female team. They will be going for gold too as they finished just two points behind the winners United States in the team stakes in this race in Chiang Mai last year.

June 8: Short trail (44.6km, 3132m)

Jon Albon, the Norwegian-based Brit who won the 2019 world title, leads GB hopes in this event. Albon has won multiple world and European obstacle course racing titles and Skyrunning races and also took victory at the OCC at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in 2021.

He is joined by Kristian Jones, Alexander Chepelin and Thomas Roach as they try to match or surpass the team bronze they won last year in Chiang Mai.

Stian Hovind Angermund, the defending champion from Norway, plus last year’s runner-up Francesco Puppi of Italy are also in the line-up, with Albon taking bronze behind them in Chiang Mai.

Elsey Davis, meanwhile, leads the GB challenge in the women’s race with team-mates Cat Taylor and Sharon Taylor as they try to match or improve on the team bronze medals they earned in Chiang Mai.

Defending champion Denisa Ionela Dragomir of Romania is not due to run but last year’s silver and bronze medallists, Barbora Macurova of the Czech Republic and Emilia Brangefält of Sweden, are set to compete.

Elsey Davis (Chiang Mai 2022)

June 9: Long trail (approx 85km)

The course has been tweaked in recent days due to snow on the higher ground but the women’s favourite remains reigning world champion and CCC winner Blandine L’Hirondel of France.

Jasmin Paris, former winner of the notorious Spine Race, forms the British challenge together with Meryl Cooper, Julia Davis and Fiona Pascall.

Defending men’s champion Adam Peterson is the only athlete missing from the top 10 at the last championships in Chiang Mai. In his absence the favourites include Nicolas Martin of France and Andreas Reiterer of Italy.

Joshua Wade, recent winner of the Ultra-Trail Snowdonia 100, plus George Foster, Thomas Joly De Lotbiniere and Harry Jones form the GB challenge with Jones placing 11th in Chiang Mai last year.

June 10: Junior men and women up and down (7.5km, 374m)

Rebecca Flaherty won silver behind GB team-mate Jess Bailey in Chiang Mai (as the duo combined with Ellen Weir to win team gold) and Bingley runner Flaherty will be going for gold in Austria after good recent form. She is joined by Amelia Lane, Lauren Russell and Eve Whitaker in the GB squad, while the junior men’s team (bronze medallists in 2022) consists of Ewan Busfield, Tom Perry, Alex Poulston and Will Longden.

Patrick Kipngeno (WMTRC)

June 10: Senior men and women up and down (15km, 758m)

This classic race starts and finishes in Innsbruck and it should be a fast and furious course over two laps.

Lots of athletes who have run the uphill only event earlier in the championships are doubling up. These include the American Allie McLaughlin and British hope Scout Adkin. Look out too for defending champion Rebecca Cheptegei of Uganda and, in the men’s race, last year’s runner-up in this race Patrick Kipngeno of Kenya.

The British men’s team is Jacob Adkin, Andrew Douglas, Chris Richards and Joe Steward with the women’s quartet being Scout Adkin, Alice Goodall, Holly Page and 2019 bronze medallist Phillipa Williams.

Last year the GB women’s team won silver just four points behind Switzerland in this up-and-down mountain race.

Entries and results for the Innsbruck-Stubai event are here.

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