France wins double gold at World Mountain and Trail Running Championships

France wins double gold at World Mountain and Trail Running Championships

French runners pulled off a tour de force at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, on Friday, with Benjamin Roubiol and Marion Delespierre winning gold in the men’s and women’s 86.9-km long-trail events.

Roubiol placed first in 9:52:59 and was joined on the podium by second-place Italy’s Andreas Reiterer (10:00:46), and Peter Franco from Slovakia in third (10:02:10).

late comeback

The 23-year-old Rubiol’s gold-medal finish came as a surprise to many, as Reiterer had situated himself firmly in the lead for more than 45 kilometers. The Italian was running solo at times, leaving a changing field in pursuit up to six minutes behind. But after having passed three peaks and the flat approach to Kranebitten, the climb up to the Nordkette caused Reiterer trouble, allowing Roubiol to pass the Italian just before the Aspach hut.

The world champion in the supreme discipline: the Frenchman Benjamin Roubiol. Photo: WMTRC 2023 / Roast Media

France punctuated Roubiol’s stunning performance in Innsbruck by claiming two podium spots in the women’s long trail race. Delespierre won the event at 11:22:31; Germany’s Katharina Hartmuth ran 11:29:14 to place second, and France’s Manon Bohard Cailler finished third in 11:34:22.

How the Canadians did

The Canadian women’s team finished eighth overall out of 27 teams, led by Calgary’s Arden Youngwho placed 34th overall in 13:10:54. Anne-Marie Madden and Mylene Sansoucy both landed inside the top 50 to solidify Team Canada’s top-10 result. The men’s team wound up 13th of 33 teams with all five men placing inside the top 70. Jean-Philippe Thibodeau of Quebec was the top Canadian in 46th place, an hour and 23 minutes back from the leaders. Thibodeau won the Quebec Mega Trail 50K in June 2022.

Thursday’s races

France’s impressive showing Friday came on the heels of the country taking gold in Thursday’s women’s 45.2-km short-trail event. Clementine Geoffray won the race, covering 3,121 verticle meters from Innsbruck to Neustift im Stubaital in 4:53:12 ahead of two Swiss runners; Judith Wyder placed second in 4:55:13, followed by Theres Leboeuf for third (5:09:29).

Two Canadians crack top 20 at World Mountain and Trail Running Championships

In Thursday’s men’s short-trail event, Norway’s Stian Angermund ran 4:19:00 to successfully defend his short-trail title against second-place British runner thomas roach (4:21:18) and Italy’s luca del pero, who finished third in 4:22:04. Angermund and Roach took the lead soon after the start in the center of Innsbruck, running the first 14.15 kilometers in a trio with Britain’s Jonathan Albon before Angermund was able to pull away. The route to the Kalkkögel leads over slippery fields of snow, and Angermund managed to extend his lead to more than 90 seconds. It briefly appeared the race could get close again as Angermund slowed down to a walking pace just before reaching the route’s highest point at the Starkenberger hut. On the downhill, weaving through the avalanche barriers down to Neustift, Angermund accelerated again and was able to keep his competitors at bay, allowing him to run down the final switchbacks to Neustift without pressure.

World Mountain and Trail Running Championships
Photo: WMTRC 2023 / Roast Media

Click here for full results from the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Innsbruck, Austria.

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