The Golden Trail World Series continues in 2023 with an iconic 31-kilometer race in Switzerland between Sierre and Zinal 2023, with 2200 meters of total ascent and 1100 meters of downhill added. This year was the 50th edition, so it had additional importance on top of everything. USA’s Sophia Laukli wins the women’s event in 2:53.17 as the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup makes an exciting return.
Having the chance to follow the race live, you can distinguish the pure competition between top trail runners from all around the World, but mostly from Kenya, the US, and Europe. Video below via Sierre-Zinal YouTube page
The main enemies of runners this weekend were the heat and the exposure on a large portion of the trail without much shade, which, at 28°C, requires a lot of strength and, of course, a lot of proper hydration and nutrition.
Video Highlights and Live Interviews – Sierre and Zinal 2023
The race started from 500 meters above sea level; the location of this race is famous, anyway, for 300+ sunny days a year, which is why the athletes should have expected to not have the weather on their side in some aspects.
In the end, Kenya took it (almost!) all, in the sense that five out of the six podium finishers came from this running-African country.
A big achievement was grabbed by Sophia Laukli, a 23-year-old from the US, the only “intruder” from the podiums, but an “intruder” that won the women’s race by more than four minutes in front of Joyce Njeru of Kenya, who ended with a time of 2:57.19.4.
Kisang Philaries Jeruto, also from Kenya, completed the podium today with a third place finishing time of 3:01.06.6.
Sophia Laukli Makes Her Move on Mădălina Florea
A very interesting fact to mention from the women’s competition is that until mid-race, it was dominated by the Romanian Mădălina Florea, a very good runner but with experience on shorter distances (up to 15 kilometers), exactly at the point where Sophia passed her strongly and literally gave her a cold shoulder glance!
In the end, Mădălina finished seventh, with the only European in the top five being Alice Gaggi of Italy, because of the powerful finish of Miao Yao, who, on the last stretch, had the best time, better than Sophia!
Philemon Kiriago Takes Men’s Sierre and Zinal Crown
In the men’s competition, things were less complicated there in the sense that all the top three runners came from Kenya, with Philemon Kiriago, who was 5th here last year clocking 2:27:27, nearly one minute and a half in front of his compatriot, Patrick Kipngeno, who led the race for around two-thirds.
Kenyan athletes swept the podium today on the men’s side as Kipngeno finished with a time of 2:28.50 and Kibet Kevin ended with a third-place finishing time of 2:34.16.
The only thrilling element from the last hundreds of meters was the effort of Sylvain Cachard from France to come in third, but in the end, Kevin Kibet grabbed five seconds in front to complete the Kenyan podium. The fifth spot was achieved by a Swiss, Roberto Delorenzi.
As the race of the “Five Peaks,”, as it is known in the running circle, ends, preparations are starting for the next gold label event from Europe, which will be held in the first weekend of September, on September 2nd and 3rd, in Nasego, Italy, while one week later the trail runners are moving to Spain to attend two days of competition in Canfranc.
Sierre and Zinal 2023 Results on August 12:
- Kiriago Philemon Ombogo (Kenya) 2:27.27
- Kipngeno Patrick (Kenya) 2:28.50
- Kibet Kevin (Kenya) 2:34.16
- Cachard Sylvain (France) 2:34.22
- Delorenzi Roberto (Switzerland) 2:35.17
- Simpson Robbie (Adidas TERREX) 2:35.59
- Baronian Thibaut (SALOMON) 2:36.24
- Chevrier Xavier (Atletica Valli Berga..) 2:36.57
- Shafar Vitaliy (Ukraine) 2:37.33
- Maestri Cesare Nike Trail (Atl. Val.. 2:37.46
- Sophia Laukli (USA) 2:53.17
- Njeru Joyce Muthoni (Kenya) 2:57.19
- Kisang Philaries Jeruto (Kenya) 3:01.06
- Yao Miao (China) 3:04.05
- Gaggi Alice (Italy) 3:05.38
- Brinkman Nienke Nike Trail 3:05.48
- Florea Monica Madalina CSM Sighisoara 3:06.33
- McLaughlin Allie (HOKA) 3:08.07
- Pooley Emma Salomon (Switzerland) 3:09.07
- Murigi Lucy Wambui (ATLETICA SALUZZO-ON) 3:09.10