Report07 Jul 2024

Engelhard and Omaya Atuya win Grossglockner Mountain Run


Richard Omaya Atuya wins at the Grossglockner Mountain Run (© Marco Gulberti)

Germany’s Nina Engelhard and Kenya’s Richard Omaya Atuya emerged victorious at the Grossglockner Mountain Run in Heiligenblut on Sunday (7), the second Gold Label competition in the 2024 Valsir Mountain Running World Cup.

In contrast to the season-opening race of the series, the conditions in the Austrian village were a lot more difficult with temperatures of 9C and winds of up to 30kph on a wet and misty day, making it difficult for the runners.

This iconic race takes place under the shadow of Austria’s highest mountain, Grossglockner (3798m). Runners make their way from Heiligenblut village up to the finish at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe on a 13.4km route with 1300m of ascent.

Women’s race

Defending champion Philaries Jeruto Kisang and Run2gether teammate Gloria Chebet took an early lead with Scout Adkin, Joyce Muthoni Njeru, Susanna Saapunki and Engelhard following close behind.

By the middle section of the race, Engelhard – winner of both the uphill and up-and-down races at the recent European Off Road Running Championships – had moved into the lead and built up a margin of about a minute. Jeruto Kisang was now second while Chebet and Adkin were neck and neck, with a small gap back to Saapunki and Muthoni Njeru.

It soon became clear that Engelhard couldn’t be caught, but the battle for the other podium places was incredibly close. Engelhard hit the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe first to take the win in 1:22:09. Jeruto Kisang held on to second place and finished in 1:23:45, with Chebet completing the podium just 13 seconds behind. Adkin was fourth and Muthoni Njeru fifth.

The men’s race was incredibly close throughout. Richard Omaya Atuya took it out from the start, with Run2gether teammate Josphat Kiprotich right on his heels.  Another of their teammates, Michael Selelo Saoli, was close behind, with Filimon Abraham and Joe Steward also in close contention.

Little separated Mwangi Njeri and Kiprotich. In the middle section they managed to create a small gap back to Selelo Saoli, and he in turn held off Paul Machoka and German athletes Lukas Ehrle and Abraham. Early challenger Steward also fell back in the middle section.

It remained close but Omaya Atuya emerged at the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe first to take the win in 1:10:04, just 21 seconds ahead of Kiprotich. Selelo Saoli maintained third place, with Machoka fourth and Ehrle fifth in an exciting sprint finish with just one second separating them.

Hector Rubio (WMRA) for World Athletics

Leading results

1 Nina Engelhard (GER) 1:22:09
2 Philaries Jeruto Kisang (KEN) 1:23:45
3 Gloria Chebet (KEN) 1:23:58
4 Scout Adkin (GBR) 1:24:05
5 Joyce Muthoni Njeru (KEN) 1:25:09

1 Richard Omaya Atuya (KEN) 1:10:04
2 Josphat Kiprotich (KEN) 1:10:25
3 Michael Selelo Saoli (KEN) 1:12:42
4 Paul Machoka (KEN) 1:13:45
5 Lukas Ehrle (GER) 1:13:46

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