Greatest Mountain Runners of all Time: the Results
For the last few weeks we've been taking a look at the greatest mountain runners in the world, looking back at the last 20+ years and celebrating the achievements of some really exceptional athletes. Then you had the opportunity to vote for who you felt were the greatest in our WMRA GOAT (greatest of all time) vote. Thousands of you voted and here's what you said:
The greatest female mountain runner of all time is ... Andrea Mayr.
Photo: Richard Bolt
Austrian Andrea won 6 World Championships and 4 World Cups and she was virtually unbeatable at the peak of her career. In fact, often only a few men beat her in big mountain races. As well as her incredible success in mountain running she competed at World Championship level on the track and in two Olympics (London and Rio) in the marathon.
Many of the athletes we spoke to cited Andrea as an inspiration. Sarah Tunstall said "her longevity, Championship victories, race records and Olympic Games appearances, for me, stand head and shoulders above any of the other 'greats'." Sandor Szabo agreed, saying, "Andrea is really motivating to me. She was one of my biggest opponents when I started mountain running, I got beaten by her so many times. If I was lucky to have enough downhill, I could beat her, but in uphill-only races, I couldn't do anything."
Congratulations, Andrea. A true legend of the sport and inspiration to many.
The greatest male mountain runner of all time is ... Joseph Gray.
Photo: Corsa in Montagna
Joseph won the World Championships in 2016 and 2019, he’s the US record holder for the Mount Washington Road Race, he’s won the Pikes Peak Ascent, has an impressive collection of FKTs and he’s come second at Sierre Zinal. He's also an 18 time national champion, which just shows his consistency over many years.
This is what Richard Bolt, Team Leader, US Mountain Running Team, had to say about Joseph Gray: "Having watched first hand Joseph's growth as a mountain runner, I'm very proud of what he's accomplished since his debut at the 2008 World Mountain Running Championships. Not only has he been one of the few athletes to win an uphill (2016) and up/down (2019) World Mountain Running Championship, Joseph has excelled across multiple off-road racing disciplines with national championships in cross country, 50k trail, 30k trail, half marathon trail, 15k trail, snowshoe as well as mountain running. His positive attitude and accomplishments off the trail have been just as impressive as an ambassador for multiple top-tier brands, a role model to new US Mountain Running Team members and most recently with his efforts to bring more Black athletes into mountain and trail running."
Congratulations Joseph, for your achievements and for the inspiration you provide.
Goat (left) and WMRA GOAT Joseph (right). Photo: Nancy Hobbs
In the women's vote Melissa Moon from New Zealand came second and Scotland's Angela Mudge was very close behind in third.
In the mens' vote Spaniard Kilian Jornet was in second place and Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand was a close third.
Thank you to everybody who voted and helped us to celebrate some of the legends of mountain running. We'd love to hear your thoughts on the poll, on any runners we overlooked and on any future polls you'd like to see us organise.