The Valsir Mountain Running World Cup gears up for another double header weekend in beautiful north-eastern Spain. Gill Bland will be onsite for Fast Running.

Our next World Cup races take place in Canfranc-Estación, a small mountain town in the province of Huesca in the Aragonese Pyrenees.

The town is at 1,200 metres and all around are peaks of over 2,500 metres. The weather is pretty perfect for running in the summer, normally between 20 and 30 Celcius, and the Winter enjoys heavy snowfall. It also boasts hundreds of miles of trails marked out as part of their impressive Trail Space Project.

An outstanding location for the next two Valsir Mountain Running World Cup races.

Firstly, on the evening of Friday 8th September it’s the next vertical uphill race. This 4k route will take the runners from 1455m at the Seta River all the way up to the summit of Tuca Blanca at 2313m. The path is good most of the way up, but it’s very steep in places, kicking up right at the end for the final push.

On Sunday 10th September it’s time for the next classic mountain race, a 16km circuit. This race takes place on more rugged terrain and takes in 1600m of ascent along the way.

The highlight for the runners is summiting La Moleta (2572m) which has stunning views across the mountain range. The route is essentially one brutal climb of 1400m over the course of just 5.8k, then a long descent back down to the finish.

Valsir World Cup standings

The competition is really hotting up for the World Cup with points available in two races this weekend and then just three gold label races at Sky Gran Canaria to go. Joyce Muthoni (KEN), who is leading the women’s competition could add some important points to her tally here, possibly putting the competition out of raech for the women.

Joe looking happy to be at the start line in his Salford Harriers vest. Photo: Gill Bland

Joe Steward (GBR), currently in fourth in the men’s competition could creep into the top three with a strong performance in the vertical uphill race, as could Remi Leroux (CAN). Steward is having a belting year with a win at the Northern XC Champs and a 5th place in the National in the spring.

Lucy Murigi (KEN), currently in fifth position, could well improve her position this weekend and Camilla Magliano (ITA) could also see her ranking boosted strongly here. See the full World Cup standings: Current_World_Cup_Results.pdf (

Vertical Uphill race

In the women’s race there are some very in-form athletes. Muthoni has won Fletta Trail and La Montee du Nid d’Aigle this season, as well as a second place at Sierre Zinal. She won both races here last year and she will definitely be out to defend those titles. She will certainly face strong competition from fellow Kenyan Murigi, who has finished in the top ten for races consistently this year, as well as winning Giir di Mont. Magliano too is always a strong performer in big races and she finished fourth in the vertical race and second in the classic race here last year.

Other women to watch include Olivia Magnone (FRA) who was runner-up in the long mountain race here last year, and Maitane Melero (ESP).

Photo credit: Canfranc-Canfranc/Yhabril

For the men there are a host of very strong Spanish athletes as well as some familiar contenders from the World Cup. Daniel Osanz (ESP) is the defending champion for the vertical race and Raul Criado (ESP) was third in the long race here last year, and sixth in the vertical race. He could well improve on that if his strong showing at Broken Arrow was any indication.

Steward is having a very strong season with podiums at Vertical Nasego and Piz Tri Vertical. Leroux has also had success at Montemuro this World Cup and could also do well here. Steward told Fast Running that when he saw he was fourth in the rankings it made sense to travel here and push for the World Cup podium.

Other men to watch include Vincent Loustau (FRA) and Ricardo Cherta (ESP).

16k classic mountain race

We will see many of the athletes from the vertical uphill race back to race at the longer distance on Sunday. And they get a rest day on Saturday, unlike at many other events where they race on consecutive days if they choose to double up.

For the women the favourites are Muthoni, our bronze medallist from the World Championships at the classic distance, Murigi and Magliano. But they will certainly be pushed by Charlotte Cotton (BEL), who finished in the top ten in both the vertical and longer race here last year, and Anna Guirado (ESP) and Bel Calero (ESP).

Charlotte Cotton at last year’s race. Photo credit: Canfranc-Canfranc/Ruben Fueyo

In the men’s race Criado will be amongst the favourites but there is a deep field of talent too. Like Criado, Ondrej Fejfar (CZE) had a successful trip to Broken Arrow, with two top ten placings. Adil Moussaoui (MOR) could also place well, as could Loustau. The depth of Spanish talent on show here will include Cherta, Marcos Villamuera, Eduard Hernandez, Toni Banos, Alberto Lasobras and Jose Luis Pujadas.

How to follow the race

The vertical uphill race starts at 6pm CET on Friday 8th September
The classic mountain race starts at 8am CET on Sunday 10th September
Live streaming will be available at:
Find out more information about the races at the event’s website: CC | Inicio (