The New York Marathon of Mountain Races has come and passed again. And it was an epic Sierre Zinal 2022 race.
For the fourth race of the Golden Trail Series (like the World Cup of trail running), the runners came out with solid performances.
Featuring new faces at the top and beautiful scenery the entire race (but this isn’t anything new, right?)
Let’s dive into what happened in this epic Sierre Zinal 2022!
Sierre Zinal Race Overview
The Sierre Zinal race is a 31 km mountain trail involving 2200 meters of elevation gain and 1100 meters of vertical drop.
Due to the “short” nature of the race, runners come out fast and push the entire race. Because of this race profile, it earned the nickname The New York Marathon of Mountain Races.
It also has the nickname “La Course des Cinq 4000”, or the Race of the Five 4000m Peaks.
The race is one of the top races in mountain running. Beautiful running trails, jaw-dropping views, and killer climbs and descents the entire race make this an actual test of your trail running skills.
Sierre Zinal race map
The Sierre Zinal course is a 31-kilometer route with 2,200 meters of elevation gain.
Here’s a course map to give you an idea of the route:
Sierre Zinal race profile
Sierre Zinal 2021 results
Sierre Zinal 2021 men’s results
- Kilian Jornet
- Robbie Simpson
- Cesare Maestri
You can view more here.
Sierre Zinal 2021 women’s results
- Maude Mathys
- Nienke Brinkman
- Anais Sabrie
You can view more about Sierre Zinal 2021.
Sierre Zinal 2022 results
Now that we’ve covered the race and last year’s edition, let’s get into what happened in this year’s race.
Mark Kangogo puts on a masterclass
With Kilian Jornet entering this race, you’d assume he’s automatically the favorite, right?
He owns the course record and has a history of strong performances in the race, and it’s one of his favorites. Who could beat him?
It turns out quite a few people.
For the first 10 kilometers, a large pack of 5-6 runners stuck together: Mark Kangogo, Kilian Jornet, and Remi Bonnet, among a few others.
You knew one of the runners would make a push at some point. And most figured it’d be Kilian.
But, it’d be Mark Kangogo, a relatively new face at the Golden Trail World Series.
He’d drop the hammer and tear off at a breakneck speed to build a significant lead over the rest of the pack.
And the rest of the men would be chasing him almost the entire race.
He looked comfortable throughout the race, showing an effortless stride, a calm face, and a steady pace.
Coming through the 22-kilometer mark, race commentators remarked he was 35 seconds ahead of Kilian’s 2019 course record.
Mark Kangogo led by around two minutes at this point in the race. Patrick Kipngeno was in second, Philemon Kiriago Ombogo in third, and Kilian was in fourth.
And he’d continue leading the rest of the race (slowing down toward the end).
Behind him, runners would continue to trade places, making their moves once they hit the downhills.
Eventually, Mark Kangogo would finish in 2:27.31, taking the win at Sierre Zinal 2022. Andreu Blanes Reig would cross in 2nd with a time of 2:29:19. And Patrick Kipngeno crossed for third place with a time of 2:29:35.
Overall, an exciting race that featured excellent performances, more than a few falls, and the beauty of trail running.
Sierre Zinal 2022 Men’s Results
- Mark Kangogo (KEN) — 2:27:31
- Andreu Blanes Reig (ESP) — 2:29:19
- Patrick Kipngeno (KEN) — 2:29:35
- Petro Mamu (ERI) — 2:30:18
- Kilian Jornet (ESP) — 2:30:19
- Philemon Kiriago Ombogo (KEN) — 2:30:47
- Robert Pkemboi (KEN) — 2:31:32
- Daniel Osanz (ESP) — 2:34:03
- Remi Bonnet (CHE) — 2:34:37
- Robbie Simpson (UK) — 2:34:41
Esther Chesang speeds to a Sierre Zinal win
With Maude entering her second race in the Golden Trail Series, you figured she had to be the favorite, especially with her course record in 2019.
Stop me if this sounds familiar.
But, despite Maude’s strong performance, today’s story was all about Esther Chesang from Kenya in the women’s race.
She broke off from the pack and primarily ran with the men for most of the race. She must have taken some inspiration because she had a large lead over Maude.
And the race would be pretty uneventful at the front. Esther maintained her pace, and Maude sat behind in 2nd place for much of it.
Until around the 30-kilometer mark.
Knowing the race was nearing its end, Maude dropped the pedal to try and catch Esther.
The live stream camera showed side-by-side images of the two runners coming down the final downhill, only a few hundred meters splitting them.
But, Esther would hit the road and push it to the end, capping a magnificent race for her.
Maude would follow around 30 seconds later, clearly fatigued from the descent and her attempt to catch Esther Chesang.
An interesting note: Esther ran faster than Maude’s course record for most of the race. It wasn’t until the last 5-6 kilometers that it slipped from her. But, it shows the effort she put forth for most of the race.
An absolutely masterful display of trail running.
Sierre Zinal 2022 Women’s Results
- Esther Chesang (KEN) — 2:52:01
- Maude Mathys (CHE) — 2.52:32
- Philiares Kisang (KEN) — 2:58:00
- Teresiah Kwamboka Omosa (KEN) — 3:01:13
- Sarah Mccormack (IRL) — 3:04:12
- Bailey Kowalczyk (USA) — 3:04:48
- Lucy Wambui Murigi (KEN) — 3:06:38
- Nuria Gil Clapera (ESP) — 3:07:59
- Sara Alonso (ESP) — 3:08:12
- Tabor Scholl (USA) — 3:08:58
Check here for the full Sierre Zinal results.
The 49th Sierre Zinal 2022 was another fabulous edition of the race. The top runners came out and held their own from start to finish.
And, we saw the injection of new runners into the fold. Of the top 10 of the men’s and women’s races, eight of the runners came from Kenya. So a strong display by Kenya in the race.
And that’s it for the Golden Trail Series Sierre Zinal! The next race is the Pike’s Peak Ascent on September 17th!
Check out my full write-up for more information on the Golden Trail Series!