Joyce Njeru and Henri Aymonod to start World Cup trail in Portugal

Joyce Njeru

by Trail Running staff |

Last year's World Cup champions will begin their campaigns to defend their titles at the Montemuro Vertical Run in Portugal on Sunday.

Kenya's Joyce Njeru and Italy's Henri Aymonod will be among the favourites as the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup reaches its second stage for this year.

The first gold-label event of the 2022 World Cup will be staged over 9.6km with 980m of ascent and just 106m of descent. Njeru, who took wins last year at the Grossglockner Berglauf, Krkonossky, Trofeo Ciolo and Zumaia Flysch Marathon, has shown her versatility over various types of courses. She currently leads the WMRA rankings.

Italy's Lorenza Beccaria and Camilla Magliano, Finland's Susanna Saapunki and Spain's Maria Ordonez Marina will be expected to be up near the front.

Aymonod, who also leads the world rankings, won two races in last year's World Cup. Kenyan Geoffrey Ndungu, who was third in last year's World Cup, could push him. Italy's Andrea Rostan, Ireland's Zak Hannah and Czech Republic's Marek Chrascina are other notable entrants.

The World Cup is a series of 17 fixtures across the world, which are categorised as either gold and or silver label. The races are also divided between short uphill, long uphill and classic mountain, with the Montemuro Vertical Run being the latter.

Main pic: Joyce Njeru (credit: Marco Gulberti)

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