Joseph Gray wins WMRA Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) Men’s Mountain Runner Poll
June 11, 2020
Austrian Andrea Mayr earns nod among the women
Colorado Springs, CO – The American Trail Running Association (ATRA) supported the recent effort of the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), to recognize the amazing achievements of mountain runners worldwide through an online poll for the Greatest Of All Times (GOAT) mountain runners. With more than 4,000 votes cast from fans around the world for the #WMRAGOAT, which included a short list of six men and six women, USA’s Joseph Gray earned the nod for the men, while Austria’s Andrea Mayr captured the women’s title.
Gray won the World Mountain Running Championships in 2016 and 2019, and is U.S. record holder for the legendary uphill Mount Washington Road Race. He’s won the Pikes Peak Ascent three times, has an impressive collection of FKTs and he’s come second at Sierre-Zinal. Gray is also an 18-time national champion, demonstrating his consistency over many years.
Upon being notified he’d been voted greatest of all time men’s mountain runner Gray said, “I’m really grateful to be voted for by so many folks who participated in this poll. To know people value your accomplishments is always a moment that makes you blush. I’m even more excited about the possibility of something like this helping me inspire that next generation of young minorities to begin their mountain running journey! Thanks a million to all the folks who took part in this fun vote put on by the World Mountain Running Association. There are so many great athletes past and present who are doing great things not only on the trail but off the trail. Let’s keep that positive action moving forward!”
This is what Richard Bolt, Team Leader, USATF 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 team 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.”
Mayr won six World Mountain Running Championships, was the overall WMRA World Cup winner four times and was virtually unbeatable at the peak of her career. In fact, often only a few men have raced faster than her in large, high profile mountain running races. As well as her incredible success in mountain running she competed at World Athletics Championships on the track and in two summer Olympic Games in London and Rio in the marathon.
Many of her peers cited Mayr as an inspiration in their careers. Sarah Tunstall (Great Britain) said, “Her longevity, world championship victories, race records and Olympic Games appearances, for me, stand head and shoulders above any of the other ‘greats’.”
Sandor Szabo (Hungary) 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.”
In the women’s vote Melissa Moon (New Zealand) came second and Angela Mudge (Scotland) was third. Less than 50 votes separated them.
In the men’s vote Kilian Jornet (Spain) came in second place and Jonathan Wyatt (New Zealand) was in third. As with the women’s contest, it was very close race with less than 100 votes separating them.
The World Mountain Running Association thanks everyone who voted and helped them to celebrate some of the legends of mountain running. They’d love to hear your thoughts on the poll, and any ideas for future polls you’d like to see them organize. Send them a message HERE.
In 1984, the World Mountain Running Association (formerly called ICMR) was formed with Angelo Biasi as President. Since that time, annual International competitions have been held to test the World’s best mountain runners both seniors and junior (U20) runners. From 1985 until 2008 as a World Trophy and since that time as an official World Championships recognized and held under the jurisdiction of the IAAF (now World Athletics). Presently, the WMRA also holds competitions for Masters’ runners as well as Under 18 year-old-runners. A World Cup of Mountain Running is held as well as the Long Distance Mountain Running Championships.
ATRA is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation based in Colorado. Founded in 1996, ATRA’s mission is to promote trail running, mountain running, ultrarunning on trails, and to provide resources for race directors and participants in our sport. To learn more about ATRA and the Event Standards Program, visit www.trailrunner.com.
ATRA will again partner with Active at Altitude for the eighth annual US Trail Running Conference slated to be held October 21-24, 2020 in Fayetteville, AR. Additionally, ATRA is the fund raising arm for the U.S. Mountain Running Team.