The 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships kicked off with a bang as the first title race, the vertical uphill event, concluded with Kenya’s Patrick Kipngeno successfully defending his 2022 world title and taking home the gold medal.
Kipngeno finished the 7.1-kilometer route with a climb of 1,020 meters in 40:38 minutes, 1:33 minutes ahead of Ugandan Levi Kiprotich, who ran 41:51 for second place, while another Kenyan competitor, Josphat Kiprotich, was 1:46 minutes behind the winner with a time of 42:04. – Read more: Vertical Uphill Event Results: 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships
The final steep section from the Elferbahn cable car station to the finish line at the Elfer hut was a triumph for Kipngeno, who by this time had clearly distanced himself from his pursuers and was able to high-five the fans along the route.
The leaders set an extremely high pace right from the start, and after the initial 800 meters on a relatively flat tarmac, the athletes had to pass through a narrow gate onto an equally narrow path, and only the first 20 runners were able to pass this bottleneck without some waiting time.
The leading trio managed to set itself apart from the rest of the field as early on as the bottleneck, and the two Kenyans and one Ugandan distanced themselves further on a short flat gravel section.
Defending champion Kipngeno, who recently moved to Austria, was able to further extend his lead on the way to the first split time at the Autenalm (km 3.9). Coming second, Josphat Kiprotich had to let Levi Kiprotich from Uganda pass him in this section.
The distance between second and third was less pronounced, and Levi Kiprotich kept looking back to keep track of his pursuers but ultimately won silver with a 13-second lead on the third.
American Joseph Gray finished as the best non-African in fifth place, right behind Eliud Cherop from Uganda. Spaniard Daniel Osanz, as the best European, finished in sixth place. Manuel Innerhofer, who finished in 29th place (+5:19 minutes), was the best Austrian.
In the team ranking, Kenya took home gold, ahead of Uganda and Switzerland, with Austria in 11th place. The event attracted elite athletes from around the world, including the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Belgium.
The 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships is a five-day event that includes a variety of races, including uphill, downhill, and mixed terrain races.
The event is organized by the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) and the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU). The event is open to all athletes, regardless of their level of experience.
Participants can register for the event on the official website. The event is expected to attract thousands of spectators from around the world.
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