The 2024  Valsir Mountain Running World Cup kicks off in style on Friday 21st June at Broken Arrow in Palisades Tahoe

We will launch this year’s competition with the Broken Arrow VK, our first short uphill gold label race, then follow that up swiftly with the 23k Broken Arrow Skyrace, our first long gold label race, on Sunday 23rd.

It’s a fitting venue to set the standard for this year’s World Cup, the 25th edition, as it’s an area rich in sporting history. Primarily known as a ski resort, it hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, and in recent years Broken Arrow has grown both in size and reputation and is a hugely prestigious event, attracting elite runners from around the world across its five races. With a base elevation of 1,890 metres and stunning peaks all around, including the prominent 2,700 metre Washeshu Peak, it has the perfect credentials for mountain racing.
Broken Arrow has previously been a highlight of the World Cup in 2019, 2021 and 2023, and every edition gets more and more competitive. And while it takes place in the US, the event very much adheres to strong traditions of European mountain running, with steep terrain, scrambling and huge amounts of vertical gain and loss at altitude.

THE COURSES

First up is our short uphill race, the Broken Arrow VK on Friday 21st June at 9.30am local time (UTC -7). The race starts on the valley floor and climbs its way up 914m (3,000 feet) over 4.8km (3 miles) to the summit of Washeshu Peak at 2708m (8885 feet). Despite some changes to the course this year, along the way it still takes in some brutally steep terrain, leading up to the iconic Headwall Ridge and the ‘stairway to heaven’ bolted ladder to the summit of Washeshu Peak. Runners will experience steep rock slabs, snow and scree, which is guaranteed to deliver an exciting race.
On Sunday 23rd at 8am it’s time for the long mountain race, the Broken Arrow Skyrace. This is a loop which climbs 1,533m over the course of 23km (or 5,033 feet over 14.25 miles). It starts in Palisades Tahoe Village and most of the race takes place above the tree line on technical and demanding trails. Runners will be treated to views of Granite Chief Wilderness and they will experience Emigrant Pass, KT-22 and, like the VK runners, the ‘stairway to heaven’ ladder to Washeshu Peak. Please note that the courses are liable to slight changes each year depending on snow conditions.

THE FAVOURITES
With registration still open for elites, there could still be changes to the final start lists, but there’s no doubt at all that we’ll see some highly competitive racing. Many of the runners from last year’s podiums are back this year, along with others who could well challenge them.
In the women’s VK last year’s winner, Anna Gibson (Brooks), will be back to defend her title. 2023 runner up, Jade Belzberg (Topo), will also be back, as will Annie Dube and Anna Mae Flynn (Mountain Endurance Team), who finished fourth and fifth respectively last year. But they will face stiff competition in the form of Allie McLaughlin(HOKA), Tabor Hemming (Adidas Terrex) and others.
The men’s VK is also looking incredibly competitive. Darren Thomas (Salomon), second last year, is back, as is last year’s fifth place finisher, Abraham Hernandez Cruz. Joining them will be some big names to watch, including Philemon Ombogo Kiriago (Run2gether), Jim Walmsley (HOKA), Eli Hemming (Adidas Terrex) and Christian Allen.

Many of the runners are racing both the VK and the Skyrace, with a day in between to recover. Last year the Skyrace was severely affected by snow but we understand the snowline isn’t as low this year. Memorably Allie McLaughlinbattled with Anna Gibson last year, taking the lead and stretching it out to win. McLaughlin is doing the double here, as are Tabor Hemming, who was third last year, and Annie Dube. Janelle Lincks, fourth last year, also returns. Sophia Laukli (Salomon), a breakout star in last year’s World Cup, also looks to be toeing the line and will be one to watch.
In the men’s Skyrace defending champion, Eli Hemming, returns, along with the rest of last year’s podium, Chad Halland Meikael Beaudoin-Rousseau (Brooks). Allen, Kipngeno and Thomas will double up, which should make things interesting. To shake things up even further former world champion Joe Gray (HOKA) is on the start list. Zak Hanna(New Balance), who finished fourth in last year’s VK here, is just taking on the Skyrace this year.
Follow all the action on our on Facebook and Instagram and via Broken Arrow’s Livestream.

THE WMRA AND ITS COMMITMENT TO CLEAN SPORTMANSHIP
Since its inception, the WMRA has adhered to strict anti-doping regulations, complying with World Athletics protocols. The 2024 series will feature WADA-accredited anti-doping measures in every race, continuing the tradition of rigorous testing implemented since 2007.
In 2023 alone, 70 tests were conducted in the 18 races of the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup series, with more than 72 planned for this season and its 12 races, all of them by independent and accredited local entities, always recognized by the respective athletics local federation and the WADA.