News Roundup: Sophia Laukli Second in Italy, David Norris First in Utah, Welcome Baby Bjornsens


Sophia Laukli Second in DoloMyths Run in Canazei

When last we heard from Sophia Laukli in these pages, the recent University of Utah grad was destroying a deep field to win the Marathon du Mont Blanc out of Chamonix in late June, setting a course record in the process.

Three weeks later the stars of international trail running returned to the Italian Dolomites for DoloMyths Run, the third race in the Golden Trail World Series. Laukli’s competitors had presumably spent the intervening time engaged in, well, trail running, perhaps with some cross training on the side. A quick glance at Laukli’s Strava shows that she had spent her time with Team Aker Dæhlie, out of her new home base of Oslo, primarily rollerskiing, perhaps with some trail running on the side.

Sophia Laukli / ©GoldenTrailSeries® – DoloMyths Run – Martina Valmassoi

No matter. When the gun went off on Saturday morning, Laukli showed the form that currently has her second overall in the Golden Trail World Series standings. She was the first woman in the race until she wasn’t, ultimately being passed on the climb by the day’s overall winner, Judith Wyder, who took the overall series title in 2019 but has been plagued by health issues for much of the time since.

Laukli was within 16 seconds of Wyder as late as Capanna Fassa – Piz Boè, 10 kilometers into the 22-kilometer race, but ultimately ceded more time on the technical/sort of ridiculous descent. Wyder’s winning time was 2:24:21; Laukli was roughly two-and-a-half minutes back in 2:26:52. Wyder was roughly 10 seconds faster per kilometer over the descent, which was the difference in the race.

The descent was not easy (see second half of this video; if you’ll pardon the editorializing, and the language, JFC):

“I’m pretty satisfied with this second place because I wasn’t feeling that good before the race,” Laukli told race organizers afterwards.

“I was quite nervous and worried about the climb. I set off pretty quick, even if it wasn’t the same pace I had at the Mont-Blanc, but when Judith [Wyder] overtook me I felt the same as when Nienke passed me last year and I just couldn’t keep up. I hung in there and the downhill turned out to be quite fun, which usually it never is for me. In the end it worked out pretty well so I’m happy!”

Sophia Laukli, right, at the finish / ©GoldenTrailSeries® – DoloMyths Run – @the.adventure.bakery

As noted, Laukli is currently second in the overall standings with 388 points, behind Caitlin Fielder of New Zealand with 440. (Notably, Laukli has raced in only two of the first three races.)

The second half of this year’s Golden Trail World Series will see athletes contest Sierre–Zinal in Switzerland in August, Pikes Peak and the Mammoth Trail Fest in this country in September, and the series finale for those athletes who qualify, Il Golfo Dell’Isola in Italy, in October.


David Norris racing at Cirque Series Brighton (photo: @teejtropsa Instagram story)

David Norris First in Cirque Series in Brighton

David Norris has had a busy, and lucrative, start to the month of July. Racing in Utah on July 1, he was second in the Cirque Series race at Snowbird to open up the summer-long series of races mostly held up and down American alpine resorts.

Racing in Seward, Alaska, three days later he was first in the 95th running of Mt. Marathon, believed to be the oldest mountain race in this country. Norris has four starts at Mt. Marathon, and four wins; he has never lost in Seward. As a mark of the depth of field present here, Norris in 2016 took the Mt. Marathon course record back from one Kílian Jornet, thereby endearing himself to Alaskans everywhere. (Jornet does still hold the KOM on this borderline obscene Strava segment (2,200 feet of elevation gain and loss in just over 1.5 miles), though.)

course profile, Brighton Cirque Series

Saturday morning at Brighton Ski Resort, Norris was at it again, this time taking first in the Cirque Series event there. Compared to Mt. Marathon, Brighton is more of a cross-country race, with ridgeline running between an initial climb and a final descent. The starting line is also at 8,755 feet above sea level, while the Mt. Marathon start is at roughly 100 feet, depending on how high the tide is that day.

Norris, showing his range, won in Brighton, too. His winning time for the 6.7-mile course, with 3,015 feet of elevation gain, was 1:06:44. Jeff Mogavero was slightly over a minute back in second, with the elfin Ali Papillon, now 18 years old, just ten seconds back for third. At the 2017 Mt. Marathon, Luke Jager gestured to a then-12-year-old Papillon, who had just taken third in that year’s junior boys race, and called him “The future,” in case you are curious how many degrees of separation there are in American trail running.

The Cirque Series continues at Alyeska, in Girdwood, Alaska, on July 29. Norris was third in last year’s race at Alyeska while starting his recovery from a foot injury; Scott Patterson won. Kendall Kramer, who skis for UAF, was the fastest woman in the 2022 race.


Bjornsen Babies

While Erik Bjornsen and Sadie Bjornsen Maubet are different people, and now live in different states, the siblings’ lives have had certain demographic similarities over the past decade (in addition to the whole “professional cross-country skier with APU and two-time Olympian” thing). For example, each began dating a high-level French skier around the same time, whom they ultimately married. And each became a first-time parent within a span of two months earlier this summer.

On May 9, Marine Dusser Bjornsen gave birth to her and Erik’s first child, Lena, in Omak, Washington, near the couple’s home in Winthrop. Here is another picture of mom and baby, because Lena is very cute:

And just over two months later, Sadie Bjornsen Maubet gave birth to her and Jo Maubet’s first child, Emil Robert Maubet, in Anchorage. Here is Sadie’s post from Friday morning:

Congratulations to all, especially the mothers who did the work. “Gained a lot of respect in the last 9 months for all the mothers out there,” as Erik wrote on Instagram.

— Gavin Kentch

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