Joyce Muthoni Njeru celebrates her 2021 WMRA World Cup win (© WMRA)
With 12 top-tier Gold Label races across six countries and nine locations, and a further five Silver Label races in five countries, the 2022 World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) World Cup promises five months of quality racing in the mountains.
Races fall into one of three categories: the short uphill, classic mountain or long mountain. As well as the overall World Cup standings, which are calculated from an athlete's best six results, there will also be a classification for each category, calculated from an athlete's best three results in that category.
2022 WMRA World Cup Gold Label races
The 2022 World Cup kicks off on 19 June with its first ever visit to Portugal for the Montemuro Vertical Run, a race making its first appearance on the circuit in only its second edition. Although in the classic category, it is short and sharp at just 9.5km and with 980m of climb.
From the new addition, the World Cup moves on to an established classic. On 10 July it's the 23rd edition of Großglockner Berglauf. This spectacular race climbs 1265m over 13.4km against the backdrop of Austria's highest mountain.
Next, on 16 July, is France La Montee du Nid d'Aigle, a race which made its first appearance in the World Cup in 2021. From Saint Gervais to Refuge du Nid d'Aigle, runners climb 2000m over 19.5km with only 100m of descent.
Two weeks later is the first double-header of the World Cup at Giir di Mont in Premana, Italy. The short uphill race on 30 July is a new addition but its double status as a World Cup race and the Italian uphill championships is sure to draw a quality field. The next day welcomes athletes for the classic long race, which hosted the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in 2017. At 32km with 2400m of climb, it's the longest race in the World Cup this year.
Then on 13 August the World Cup heads to Switzerland for The Race of the Five 4000s, Sierre-Zinal. Despite attracting the deepest field in mountain running, Maude Mathys and Kilian Jornet have had a stranglehold on this race in recent years, racking up consecutive wins and breaking course records in the process. Would-be successors have 32km with 2200m of climb and 1100m of descent to make an impression.
September brings two more double weekends. First, on 3-4 September, it's Vertical Nasego and Trofeo Nasego. The uphill race climbs 1000m over 4.2km, while the long race is 21.5km, climbing 1336m.
Then the World Cup heads to Canfran-Estacion in the Aragonese Pyrenees for Canfranc-Canfranc. Again, there are two races, but this time the athletes get a day off in between. The uphill race, over 4.4km and climbing 927m, appears in the World Cup in its very first edition on 9 September, while the classic 16km, with 1195m of climbing, is on 11 September.
On 2 October the World Cup moves on to the Basque Country for Zumaia Flysch Trail, a race over 22km and with 850m of climb. The only coastal race in the calendar this year is an opportunity for athletes to experience the stunning scenery of a UNESCO Geopark and the overwhelming Basque enthusiasm for mountain running.
The season closes, as it did last year, with KV Chiavenna-Lagunc on 8 October. Climbing 1000m in just 3.2km, this is the place to come for a fast vertical kilometre times. With bonus points on offer in the last race of the season, athletes will have every incentive to give it everything.
World Cup Silver Label races
In addition to the 12 World Cup Gold Label races, this year the five World Cup Silver Label races give athletes further opportunities to earn World Cup points in countries such as Peru, Czech Republic, Ireland, Slovenia and Portugal.
22 May: Seven Sisters Skyline (IRE), long
2 July: One Hundred Douro-Paiva (POR), long
7 August: Krkonossky Half Marathon (CZE), classic
25 August: Andes Race (PER), long
1 October: Smarna Gora (SLO), classic
“I'm delighted to announce the new 2022 WMRA World Cup calendar,” said World Cup manager Justin Maxwell.
“We start with a relatively new but exciting race in Montemuro and we finish at Chiavenna-Lagunc KV, a race steeped in history. In between we have an array of classic mountain running events, some new, some old, but all unique in one way or another. A true mountain running test for any aspiring World Cup champion.”
WMRA for World Athletics