Andrew Douglas in the 2015 WMRA World Cup race in Zelezniki (© Organisers)
Following last month’s season opener in France, the 2019 IAAF/WMRA Mountain Running World Cup crosses the Atlantic for the second event of the series, the Broken Arrow Skyrace, which takes place on Sunday (23) on the snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.
Just west of Lake Tahoe, the race will take place in historic Olympic Valley, home to the 1960 Winter Olympic Games and starting line of the famous Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run.
The 26km race takes place on a course of exceptional beauty and difficulty with more than 1600m of vertical climbing and passes near the iconic Emigrant Pass, located 2600m above sea level. The famous ‘stairway to heaven ladder’ will be the highest point of the race at more than 2700m above sea level.
The event will provide elite North American runners an opportunity to bank points in the World Cup, but they won’t have it all their own way.
Britain’s Andrew Douglas, winner of the first World Cup race last month in France, already has his eye on regaining the World Cup trophy he won in 2015 so will be keen to score another victory here.
Joseph Gray, the 2016 world mountain-running champion, is joined on the US team by Sam Sahli and Michael Wardian.
Italian duo Emanuele Manzi, the 2001 world mountain-running silver medallist, and Henri Aymonod should also feature among the leading runners along with Canada’s Ryan Atkins, winner of the 2018 Spartan Ultra World Championships.
USA’s Kasie Enman and Morgan Arritola are among the favourites in the women’s race. Enman, the 2011 world mountain-running champion, finished 24th at the recent Trail World Championships, while Morgan is a winter Olympian in cross-country skiing.
Canada’s Lindsay Webster, the 2017 obstacle course racing world champion, has performed well at similar skyrace events in recent years. Slovenia’s Rea Kolbi finished second in the 52km event at last year’s Broken Arrow Skyrace and so will want to go one better over 26km this year.
WMRA for the IAAF