This year’s much anticipated Trail World Championships, now part of the combined World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, was very different from the usual European courses the event tends to visit. The course saw some of the world’s best battling it out over 78 kilometers of Thailand jungle, on a three-looped course taking in 4,807 meters (15,771 feet) of climbing and descending in the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park on the outskirts of Chiang Mai on Saturday, November 5.
The favorites for the individual win were France’s Blandine L’Hirondel (pre-race and post-race interviews), reigning Trail World Champion and this year’s CCC winner, for the women’s race; and the U.S.’s Adam Peterman (pre-race and post-race interviews), making his international debut and coming off a win at Western States 100, on the men’s side.
There was also a team race in store, with strong contingents from France, Italy, Poland, and the U.S., to name but a few.
While the wins in the individual races went along predicted lines, there were some surprises along the way, including an off-the-charts comeback performance from Sweden’s Ida Nilsson (post-race interview) in second place in the women’s race, who made L’Hirondel work very hard for the win. On the men’s side, France’s Nicolas Martin’s (post-race interview) second place was especially impressive, his sixth time representing his country at this event shining through via his steady performance on a pressure-filled day.
The 80k race wasn’t the only one run the past few days. You can also check out our results articles for the 2022 World Mountain Running Championships Up and Down, 2022 World Mountain Running Championships Uphill, and 2022 Trail World Championships 40k races.
2022 Trail World Championships 80k Women’s Race
Eight kilometers into the women’s race, the early pacemakers were Emma Pooley of Switzerland, reigning world champion Blandine L’Hirondel (pre-race and post-race interviews), and Sweden’s Ida Nilsson (post-race interview) — all running within seconds of one another. It was Nilsson who made the first move, and by 30k in she had established a lead. L’Hirondel pulled away from the others in second, just a minute back from Nilsson, leaving a sizeable gap to the rest of the field.
A long game of cat and mouse ensued between the two leaders, with L’Hirondel closing the gap to just 45 seconds at the 50k mark, but Nilsson pulling away again — coming through 60k more than three minutes ahead of the favorite, L’Hirondel, and looking the stronger of the two. The two still maintained a gap of more than 13 minutes to Spain’s Gemma Arenas (post-race interview), who had moved into third at point.
L’Hirondel had spoken about the course in her pre-race interview and its challenging last section, and said that she planned to run prudently to hold something for the end. She was as good as her word, as on the last major climb — some 1,000 meters of ascent in 6k, from Huay Tung Tao up to the village of Ban Khun Chiang Khian — she not only passed but pulled seven minutes ahead of her rival.
Nilsson, now in second at 66k, was visibly working but still moving at a great pace and undeterred. Even more, she was 14 minutes clear of Arenas in third as she powered toward the finish.
L’Hirondel continued to pull away on the last stretch to the finish, a 12k descent, and romped home in a time of 8:22, to continue her reign as 80k Trail World Champion. L’Hirondel is more known for the marathon to 50k distance. She holds the course record for the 55k OCC, which she set last year, and her previous Trail World Championships win in 2019 was over the shorter 44k distance. This year she stepped up to the 100k distance with a win at CCC, and today she has once again demonstrated her versatility with a win in this hot and humid 80k jungle race.
Nilsson, who had set an incredible pace all day, showing that she still has it after two decades of representing her country, came home in 8:34 — well clear of the rest of the field. Her long career has included wins at The North Face 50 Mile in 2016 and 2017, the Zegama Marathon in 2018, and the Marathon du Mont Blanc in 2016. She has demonstrated today that there is still a lot more to come.
Gemma Arenas in third was rock solid all day. She came through 30k in fourth, about a minute and a half back from Emma Pooley. She moved into podium position shortly thereafter and maintained it all day — never quite closing the gap on the leaders, but not falling back either — and finished in a time of 8:46.
Hungary’s Eszter Csillag did what she does best, starting calmly and expertly moving up through the field all day. She finished fourth, just three minutes back from Arenas in 8:49, in a similar manner to her fifth-place finish at this year’s UTMB.
The Spanish team took second with Maite Maiora (eighth) and Marta Molist (15th) behind third-place Arenas. Team Italy came in third, and ninth-place Giuditta Turini was followed by Camilla Spagnol (23rd) and Alessandra Boifava (25th).
2022 Trail World Championships 80k Women’s Results
- 1. Blandine L’Hirondel (France) – 8:22:14 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- 2. Ida Nilsson (Sweden) – 8:34:59 (post-race interview)
- 3. Gemma Arenas (Spain) – 8:46:27 (post-race interview)
- 4. Eszter Csillag (Hungary) – 8:49:24
- 5. Rosanna Buchauer (Germany) – 8:50:45
- 6. Audrey Tanguy (France) – 8:51:57
- 6. Marion Delespierre (France) – 8:51:57
- 8. Maite Maiora (Spain) – 8:56:40
- 9. Giuditta Turini (Italy) – 9:00:05
- 10. Sunmaya Budha (Nepal) – 9:00:28
- France – Blandine L’Hirondel, Audrey Tanguy, Marion Delespierre
- Spain – Gemma Arenas, Maite Maiora, Marta Molist
- Italy – Giuditta Turini, Camilla Spagnol, Alessandra Boifava
2022 Trail World Championships 80k Men’s Race
Adam Peterman (pre-race and post-race interviews)went into this race as the odds-on favorite, and he didn’t disappoint. By 8k into the race, alongside Italy’s Andreas Reiterer (pre-race and post-race interviews), he was already up front and setting the pace. By the 30k mark, Peterman was discernibly in front but still looked very calm and controlled — keeping just a few seconds clear of France’s Nicolas Martin (post-race interview), who had moved into second place. Just a minute back from the leaders, Reiterer and Spain’s Aritz Egea ran together in third.
When the race reached the 50k mark in Ban Khun Chiang Khian village, after the second of three major climbs on this three-looped course that each topped out in this village, Peterman had started to pull away, extending the lead on Martin to three-and-a-half minutes.
By 60k, Reiterer had pulled away from Egea and was putting the pressure on Martin to hold on to second.
When Peterman reached the top of the third ascent, at 66k, he was 10 minutes ahead of Martin in second but visibly working hard against the heat. His downhill legs clearly had some muscle memory from the Western States 100 this summer, as he put another three minutes on the chaser in the last crushing descent to the finish, crossing the line as 80k Trail World Champion in a time of 7:15.
He adds this latest achievement to an already astonishing early career in ultrarunning. He has thus far won all six of his six ultramarathon starts — including last year’s Speedgoat by UTMB 50k and JFK 50 Mile and this year’s Chuckanut 50k, Canyons by UTMB 100k, and Western States 100.
Nicolas Martin, who at times had looked under pressure to hold on to second, had a great last loop and finished eight minutes clear of Andreas Reiterer in 7:28. This was Martin’s sixth Trail World Championships, and he matched his previous best result, a second-place finish in 2016.
Reiterer, who is a relative newcomer to international trail racing, crossed the line in third in 7:36.
Spain’s José Fernandez and Aritz Egea came in fourth and fifth, helping to seal Spain’s third-place team result. France took silver in the team competition, with Thibaut Garrivier (sixth) and Paul Mathou (10th) joining teammate Nicolas Martin in the top 10.
In what has to be the biggest upset of the weekend of racing so far, Team USA took men’s team gold, beating out perpetual team stars France and Spain, along with several other great teams on the day. This was thanks to Peterman’s win, a seventh-place finish from Eric LiPuma, and a 14th-place finish for Jeff Colt.
2022 Trail World Championships 80k Men’s Results
- Adam Peterman (U.S.) – 7:15:53 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Nicolas Martin (France) – 7:28:44 (post-race interview)
- Andreas Reiterer (Italy) – 7:36:50 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- José Fernandez (Spain) – 7:39:19
- Aritz Egea (Spain) – 7:48:42
- Thibaut Garrivier (France) – 7:50:12
- Eric LiPuma (U.S.) – 7:52:13
- Peter Fraño (Slovakia) – 7:53:06
- Didrik Hermansen (Norway) – 7:53:42
- Paul Mathou (France) – 7:53:47
- U.S. – Adam Peterman, Eric LiPuma, Jeff Colt
- France – Nicolas Martin, Thibaut Garrivier, Paul Mathou
- Spain – José Fernandez, Aritz Egea, Marcos Ramos
Thanks so much to Chiang Mai local Gabriel Glasier for helping us with our race coverage!