Kilian Jornet smashes Sierre-Zinal course record

Both men’s and women’s marks broken by several minutes as great fields assemble in Switzerland

Kilian Jornet winning last year’s race (credit: Val d'Anniviers Tourism)

Kilian Jornet winning last year’s race (credit: Val d'Anniviers Tourism)

Kilian Jornet re-asserted his dominance of the world of trail running by beating Jim Walmsley in record time to claim his seventh title at the Sierre-Zinal mountain race in Switzerland on Sunday.

The Spaniard completed the 31km course with 2200m of ascent in 2 hours 25 minutes 36 seconds, slicing 3:46 from the previous best time, set by Jonathan Wyatt in 2003.

Meanwhile, Switzerland’s Maude Mathys ran 2:49:20 to finish first woman and take 4:54 from the course record held by Anna Pichrtova since 2008.

The fields were the best assembled for a trail race so far in 2019, with the clash between Jornet and Walmsley - the only scheduled one this year - particularly highly anticipated.

Jornet has ruled trail running for a decade, but Walmsley, who set a world 50-mile record and recently won the Western States 100 in record time, is seen as the future.

However, Jornet took a lead from early on and was two minutes in front when he reached the first checkpoint at Ponchette at 47:11. Although his lead was cut, he crossed the finish 56 seconds clear. Walmsley ended up third in 2:31:53.

Interviewed afterwards by the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), Jornet said: “Today the field was incredible. I’m happy to perform like that. Jonathan’s time was something I thought was incredible. Doing my best time and beating Jono’s time, I’m super-super happy.”

Britain’s Commonwealth marathon bronze medallist Robbie Simpson was fifth in 2:33:56, one place ahead of compatriot Andrew Douglas (2:34:56), who with this result extended his lead in the WRMA World Cup standings.

European mountain running champion Jacob Adkin was 19th and another Brit, Nick Swinburn, was 44th.

On the women’s side, three-time European mountain running champion Mathys took control early on and grew her lead on the climb. She lost a little time on the descent towards Zinal to compatriot Judith Wyder, but was nevertheless exactly five minutes clear at the finish. Wyder was also under Pichrtova’s mark of 2:54:26. Italy’s Silvia Rampazzo was third in 2:56:18.

Current Trail Running coverstar Holly Page was eighth as she continues her comeback from injury earlier this year. Another Briton, world long-distance mountain running champion Charlotte Morgan was 11th.

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