Golden Trail Series – Kobe Trail:
A Winning Comeback for Maude Mathys, a First for Patrick Kipngeno

20TH APRIL 2024, START 1:05 PM (UTC+9), 21.3KM, 2,109M V+



Patrick Kipngeno and Maude Mathys win the Kobe Trail, the GTWS 2024 first stage.

Patrick Kipngeno, first

In the pre-race predictions, he wasn’t tipped to win because the course was deemed too technical for him. Yet is was Patrick Kipngeno (KEN – Run2gether) who crossed the finish line in 1st place at the Kobe Trail, the first stage of the 2024 Golden Trail World Series. His first GTWS victory was as unexpected as it was spectacular!

“The competition was high-level today, and the race was very tough, but I’m really happy to have won. It wasn’t until kilometre 16 that I realised that victory was possible because the downhills were very tough, and they were running very fast in the front. But I stuck to my strategy, and it worked!”


Joey Hadorn (CHE – Salomon) was leading for a long time, but eventually lost out to the Kenyan. He was happy with his 2nd place though, which for him is his first podium finish on the GTWS.

“My strategy was to stay calm and take stock after the downhill on the second loop. I think I was 5th or 6th at that point, then suddenly I was leading the climb. I wondered if the others had had a problem, but I refocused and stayed calm. I really didn’t expect to finish 2nd today and I’m really pleased and thrilled I did.”


Elhousine Elazzaoui (MAR – Nnormal) was initially in a position to contend for victory but had a heavy fall in the third loop. The Moroccan battled all the way to the finish line to claim his first podium of the season.

“I was doing well on the first two loops, everything was under control,” he explains, “But in the third loop I slipped and fell hard on my back. I really hurt myself and straight away realised that something wasn’t right because my legs weren’t responding at all. I stopped and then started off again. I hung in there for the podium. I’m still happy, even if I feel like things could’ve been different without the fall!”

Welcome back to the magnificent Maude!

She didn’t know how she would perform after her Achilles tendon operation. Still bothered by slight muscle pains, Maude Mathys (CHE – Asics) admitted before the race that she would have to be satisfied with a top 5 finish in this first race of the 2024 GTWS. But the woman who had already won the Golden Trail Series in 2020 and 2021 demonstrated her championship credentials and made a winning comeback at the GTWS 2024 first stage.

“My strategy was to set off quite cautiously so I wouldn’t blow up too early, then gradually increase the pace in the uphill while trying not to lose too much in the downhill. I think I’m a terrible downhiller, but I can’t be as bad as all that because no one caught up with me! Then I saw Joyce in the third loop and I quickly caught up with her and then opened up a gap. I tried to stay focused right up to the finish line and I’m thrilled with this victory.”


Sara Alonso (ESP – Asics) also had to prove that she was back on form, her 2nd place on this Kobe Trail gave a real confidence booster.

“I’m so happy! I knew I was in good shape but honestly, when I saw the list of runners, I thought I’d be happy to finish in the top 5. Then Sophia pulled out and Grayson didn’t come, and then I started dreaming of a podium finish. But to finish 2nd here on the first stage is just impossible to describe!”


Theres Leboeuf (CHE – Compressport) started the season with a podium finish in 2023, and the Swiss runner did it again for this 2024 season’s first race finishing 3rd.

“I’m so happy with this podium because my brother’s wife is Japanese and her mother came all the way from Tokyo to see me, so I had my own fans here. I know this type of race suits me, with its series of downhills and climbs, so I could really make the most of it, even if 2nd place wasn’t far off, I really am thrilled with this 3rd podium spot.”


From Japan to China

After this very successful first race in Japan, the Golden Trail World Series heads straight to China next week for the second stage of the season. Will Maude Mathys and Patrick Kipngeno be able to repeat their performance? See you on 27th April in Sichuan to find out.