On Saturday November 16, the unstoppable Jim Walmsley added another title to his running resume, smashing world class athletes from 42 countries at the World Mountain Running Long Distance Championship in Villa La Angostura, Argentina. While USA’s Walmsley crushed the men’s race in 3:12:16, Romania’s Cristina Simon won the women’s race in 3:49:57.
The 41.5K race gains 2,184 metres of ascent. The day began with a 2.5K flat section before climbing up through the forest. Runners crossed a high river twice, which proved to be challenging for some. The second half of the course climbed up to the Cerro Bayo ski station, continuing with a long and steep climb up to the top of Cerro Bayo summit. On tired legs, they traversed a technical ridge section before heading onto a fast and runnable trail toward the finish.
“The pace was blistering since the beginning,” explained Francesco Puppi at the finish line. Walmsley and Simon went fast out from the front. Walmsley had an early lead, with Puppi on his tail. Hayden Hawkes, Oriol Cardona, and Jonathan Albon alternated positions throughout the race. On the women’s side, Blandine L’Hirondel led the pack early with Ayde Lozoya, Sara Willhoit, Adeline Roche, and Simon close behind. It wasn’t until the second half that Simon took the lead.
Second place on the men’s podium went to Italy’s Puppi and third place to Spain’s Cardona. France took the second- and third-place spots on the women’s podium, with Roche in second and L’Hirondel third. Walmsley claims the race “felt like Western States all over again, with Jared [Hazen] on my heels.”
Saturday’s long distance event had better weather than Friday’s junior (7K) and senior (14K) World Mountain Running Championship race. Great Britain’s Joe Dugdale and Italy’s Angela Mattevi won the junior race, and USA’s Joe Gray and Grayson Murphy won the senior race.
20 Canadians also toed the line this weekend at both Friday and Saturday’s race. Stay tuned for more details on Canadian results. The 2020 World Mountain Running Championships will be held in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.