The International U18 Mountain Running Cup has been confirmed this year for Saluzzo, Italy, on June 26 following two years of pandemic-linked cancellations.
Italy was also the setting when the event held under the auspices of the World Mountain Running Association was last held in Susa in 2019. The 2020 edition was due to be held in Ambleside, UK, before being postponed to 2021 and finally cancelled altogether.
This year's race will take place over 4.35km with 155m of ascent and descent. It begins with a short loop, 550m around the centre of Saluzzo, before a long loop of 3.8km takes runners up onto the hillside to the west of the town. There will also be non-championship races for under 14s and under 16s.
The U18 Cup has been a springboard for senior success for many athletes, such as Yeman Crippa, who competed in the 2012 edition and represented Italy in the 2020 Olympics as well as broke his national half-marathon record earlier this year.
The 2019 races saw dominant performances from the French and Italian teams in the boys' and girls' races respectively, with both taking a clean sweep of the podium. Katja Pattis was victorious in the girls' race while Hugo Schropfer narrowly won the boys' title.
Three years later, it will be a brand new group of athletes on the start line in Saluzzo. The French and Italian teams will no doubt be looking for a repeat of the 2019 results, but it won't be easy. Turkey, England, Czech Republic and Poland all have a history of sending consistently strong teams to this event.