After an exciting season opener for the 2024 Valsir Mountain Running World Cup at Broken Arrow, where Joyce Muthoni Njeru and Patrick Kipngeno did the ‘double double’, we now head to Heiligenblut in Austria for our first classic Gold Label race, Grossglockner Mountain Run on 7th July.

As the name suggests, this race takes place under the shadow of Austria’s highest mountain, Grossglockner (3,798m), which is part of the larger Glockner Group of the Hohe Tauern range in the Central Eastern Alps. Heiligenblut sits at the foot of Grossglockner and under the  Pasterze Glacier, Austria’s longest glacier at 8.4k long. Runners will be surrounded by towering peaks and will get to experience famous sights of the area like the Briccius Chapel and famous mountain huts.

Just as the area is rich in history, the race serves as an integral part of the story of mountain running. The first race dates back to 2001 and over the years we’ve seen winners including Jonathan Wyatt, Andrea Mayr, Anna Pichrtova, Filimon Abraham, Joyce Muthoni Njeru and Patrick Kipngeno.


This race is a ‘classic’ in this year’s World Cup, which is defined as a race between 9k and 21k, either up and down or just up, and with an average of 100 – 150m of ascent per kilometre. It is 13.4k with 1300m of ascent and it’s predominantly uphill.

The runners start in Heiligenblut and run through the village to the valley in what’s sure to be a fast and furious start. They then follow the river Möll along forest past to the Sattelalm and the first big highlight they reach is the Briccius Chapel. They then cross the river and follow the trail to the Trogalm and the Leiter waterfall. There is then some respite as the trail flattens, but soon it begins to climb again to the Margaritzen Dam and views of the Pasterze Glacier. Then it’s a huge final climb up to the finish at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, which includes 521 steps on tired legs. Hundreds of people wait at the finish to cheer the runners in.


It’s a very exciting line-up again this year, with former winners and many runners who finished in the top 10s last year returning. Please note that with registration still open for elites, there could still be changes to the final start lists.

Women’s race

For the women Joyce Muthoni Njeru (Atletico Saluzzo) will be looking to add to her wins at both the VK and Skyrace at Broken Arrow. She won here in 2022 (when it was last in the World Cup), and she was our World Cup women’s champion in 2023.

Philaries Jeruto Kisang (Run2gether) won here last year and finished third in last year’s World Cup. We know she is able to turn her hand to any distance, with wins at Chiavenna Lagunc KV as well as Grossglockner last year, and a third place at Sierre Zinal. And who can forget her duel with Andrea Mayr in the classic race at the World Championships, where she ultimately finished second.

Scout Adkin (HOKA), last year’s runner up in the women’s World Cup with podiums at Montemuro, PizTri Vertikal and Vertical Nasego, will also be making her 2024 World Cup debut here and will certainly be one to watch. Susanna Saapunki (New Balance) was fourth here in 2021, and she was third at La Montee du Nid d’Aigle and enjoyed wins at Smarna Gora and Primiero Dolomiti Trail last year.

Nina Engelhard (PSV Grün-Weiß Kassel) will be an exciting prospect to watch. She is an up-and-coming athlete, who came second here last year and recently won both the uphill only and up and down race at the European Off Road Running Championship.

Other women expected to feature include Camilla Magliano (Altra), who achieved a fourth place at Montemuro, sixth at Montee du Nid d’Aigle and a fourth and a third at Canfranc Canfranc last year, Alice Gaggi (La Recastello/Brooks Trail Runners), fifth at last year’s Sierre Zinal and second at Val Bregaglia Trail, and Sara Willhoit (Rab/Scarpa), who had a string of top ten finishes last year, including podiums at the Broken Arrow VK and Primiero Dolomiti Trail. We could also see Charlotte Cotton, Maddalena Soma (La Sportiva) and Alice Goodall in the thick of it.

Men’s race

In the men’s race, while we don’t have last year’s podium returning, we do have most of last year’s top ten returning, including the fourth placed finisher, Ephantus Mwangi Njeri (Run2gether). He could be an exciting prospect in this year’s World Cup.

One of the break-out stars of last year’s men’s World Cup was Joe Steward (Salford Harriers). He won Canfranc Canfranc Vertical race, he was third at Vertical Nasego, third at PizTri Vertikal and eventually finished third in the World Cup. He recently won the men’s uphill mountain race in the European Off-Road Running Championships and will definitely be one to watch in the men’s World Cup this year.

Remi Leroux (Merrell) comes into this race with two top ten finishes at Broken Arrow two weeks ago. He was also one of the break-out stars of last year’s World Cup competition with second places at Montemuro Vertical Run and Canfranc Canfranc Vertical and a fourth at the classic race at Canfranc. Another Run2gether runner, Josphat Kiprotich, achieved some great results at last year’s World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, with an eighth place in the classic up and down race and a third in the classic uphill race.

Other men to watch include, Tiziano Moia, who was fifth here last year and was second at Chiavenna Lagunc KV as well. Manuel Innerhofer (Salomon), sixth here last year and fifth the year before, will get strong support from his home crowd. Timotej Becan (Merrell was seventh here last year, and also finished seventh at Fletta Trail and Challenge Stellina last year as well.

Lastly, Andrew Douglas (HOKA), our 2019 men’s World Cup champion, had a great run at the Broken Arrow Skyrace two weeks ago, to come through the field and take seventh place. He could well be another runner to watch here.