The Golden Trail World Series commenced its thrilling journey in Kobe, Japan, igniting the global trail-running community with excitement and anticipation. The event showcased a formidable assembly of athletes, setting the stage for an electrifying competition.

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In the women’s division, Swiss sensation Maude Mathys emerged victorious, clocking an impressive time of 2 hours, 52 minutes, and 8 seconds. Mathys’ triumph was particularly poignant, marking her triumphant return after a hiatus in 2023 due to Achilles surgery. Meanwhile, Kenya’s Patrick Kipngeno, last year’s GTWS runner-up, defied expectations to clinch the top spot in the men’s category, demonstrating exceptional skill and resilience on the challenging course..

Photo © Golden Trail Series/Kobe Trail/Justin Galant

The race witnessed fierce competition, with Spain’s Sara Alonso securing second place in the women’s race with a timing of 2 hours, 58 minutes, and 34 seconds, closely followed by Switzerland’s Theres Leboeuf in third place with a time of 2 hours, 58 minutes, and 38 seconds. Kipngeno’s stellar performance saw him surpass Switzerland’s Joey Hadorn, who secured second place, achieving his maiden podium finish in a GTWS race. Despite encountering setbacks, including a fall during the third loop, Elhousine Elazzaoui of Morocco showcased remarkable determination to claim the third position.


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Mathys reflected on the challenges posed by the technical course, highlighting her strategic approach to pacing and navigation. She emphasized the importance of a cautious start to conserve energy, gradually increasing the pace on uphill sections while maintaining control on downhill stretches. Humorously acknowledging her perceived shortcomings as a downhill runner, Mathys expressed satisfaction in maintaining her lead throughout the race.

Photo © Golden Trail Series/Kobe Trail/Colin Olivero

Kipngeno, expressing his surprise at the victory, praised the caliber of competition and the demanding nature of the race. Despite facing formidable opponents and navigating treacherous downhill segments, Kipngeno remained steadfast in executing his race strategy, ultimately emerging triumphant.

The Golden Trail World Series comprises eight exhilarating races, culminating in the prestigious Grand Final set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Swiss region of Ascona-Locarno. The Kobe race marked a historic milestone as the first-ever GTWS event in Asia, featuring a challenging 21-kilometer course with 2,109 meters of vertical elevation. Adopting a distinctive “flower-race” format, runners traversed four distinct loops, converging at the start/finish zone multiple times, reminiscent of the intricate petals of a flower.

Mathys and Kipngeno’s remarkable victories epitomize the spirit of perseverance and excellence that defines the Golden Trail World Series, setting the stage for an exhilarating season ahead.