Zegama – Aizkorri 2013 Preview

Zegama - Aizkorri

Zegama – Aizkorri needs no introduction to those who follow Skyrunning. It is a course that has created many a story over the years.

Located in a natural park, Aizkorri-Aratz, it brings respect and excitement to every mountain runner that toes the line.

Zegama Map iancorless.com

In July 2002, the Village Council decided to revitalise and bring life to the local area, in order to achieve these objectives the Zegama-Aizkorri Mountain Marathon Association was created. Today, the AIA-renovated Alpine Marathon has a reputation in the world as one of the world’s most prestigious mountain marathons.

Part of the Skyrunner World Series it is the ultimate mountain marathon test. In 2008 the European Championships were hold on this very course. When Kilian Jornet was asked about Zegama, he quite simply said:

“Zegama? It’s Zegama!”

Zegama Profile

In other words, nothing more needs to be said. It has a reputation that demands respect from the higher echelons of the mountain running world.

2012 Summary

Zegama followed just 7 days after Transvulcania La Palma in 2012 and therefore we almost had a re run of the La Palma race. Of course, conditions were a little different. The dry heat of La Palma was replaced by torrential rain, mud, cold and the occasional snow blizzard.

The American contingent who had raced well on La Isla Bonita transferred en-mass to mainland Spain with a couple of additions. Nick Clark representing Pearl Izumi and the ‘hot tip’, Max King. Max had everything in is his favour; speed and a mountain pedigree.

As it happened, the American contingent had a lesson on European mountain running and never got in contention. For many of them they could hardly stand up in the tough conditions and as Nick Clark crossed the line he exclaimed

“Now THAT is a mountain race!”.

It was a shock to the system. Dakota Jones victorious just a week earlier had taken the race easy, a pre-race plan as he had nothing to prove after topping the podium at Transvulcania. In comparison, Kilian Jornet had something to prove and now had some running in his legs… midway through the race he applied the pressure and once again proved that he is the king of the mountains.

In the ladies race Oihana Kortazar showed her dominance over this Sky distance and we started to get a glimpse of a star in the making, Emelie Forsberg. Nuria Picas also set her stall out for a year-long process of podium places over all distances, from marathon to ultra. Anna Frost tired after a dominating Transvulcania performance decided not to race at Zegama and keep some powder dry for another day.

2013

* PLEASE LOOK FOR UPDATES posted 26th April marked in BLUE

The 2013 race is going to see some great representation from top ranking teams: Salomon, New Balance, Adidas, La Sportiva, Arc’teryx, Valetudo Skyrunning, Inov-8 and Scott.

Zegama this year is two weeks after Transvulcania and although that would work well for additional recovery, it doesn’t necessarily work well for travel budgets, so, we wont have Sage Canaday, Timothy Olson, Anton Krupicka, Joe Grant and the ‘other names’ joining the Zegama party.

The Mens Race

Kilian Jornet copyright Ian Corless

Kilian Jornet copyright Ian Corless

Kilian Jornet will be a dominating force at Transvulcania La Palma and I see him on top of the podium, two weeks recovery is a life-time for Kilian and after his dominating performance in 2013 I see him replicating the win at Zegama. He has just flown around the Transvulcania La Palma course and set a new course record. Respect!

His sparing partner, Marco De Gasperi, a legend in mountain and Skyrunning unfortunately has now pulled out of the race with a knee problem. This is a great shame, we all love to see Kilian and Marco go head-to-head.

Marco De Gasperi copyright Ian Corless

Marco De Gasperi copyright Ian Corless

This almost certainly means that we will have a re run of the 2012 Zegama race and also the 2013 Transvulcania… Kilian’s main competition will now come from Luis Alberto Hernando. Luis was second behind Kilian at Zegama last year and is almost certainly in some of the best form of his life at the moment. He pushed hard at Transvulcania just over a week ago and was leading the race at the final summit, ultimately loosing his lead to Kilian on the descent. His race on the island of La Palma is even more impressive considering it was his first ultra.

Transvulcania 2013 copyright Ian Corless

Transvulcania 2013 copyright Ian Corless

Missing from Transvulcania and deciding to run the ‘Sky’ distance in 2013 is Andy Symonds. Andy comes from a traditional fell/ mountain running background and just like Tom Owens, he will love the conditions here. Both Andy and Tom have withdrawn from Zegama I am afraid. In an email from Andy Symonds, he says, “We’re both injured!! can you believe it.. Tom’s got some pretty bad tendon rumpture in his foot and I’m limping with a duffed iliopsoas… neither of us have run for several weeks (much more for Tom). And so, no Zegama this year.. booo.. :-(” A real shame not to have these two top performers at the race. Speedy recovery guys.

Andy Symonds copyright Ian Corless

Andy Symonds copyright Ian Corless

Miguel Heras missed Transvulcania due to injury so we currently have a question mark if he will run at Zegama. In form he is one of the best runners in the world, so, he will most definitely mix it up at the front. Tofol Castanyer recently raced the Three Peaks in the UK and had a good race but was not used to the ‘navigation’ element of UK fell running, he too has the potential to win, particularly when running on Spanish soil.

Tofol Castanyer copyright Ian Corless

Tofol Castanyer copyright Ian Corless

Miguel Heras copyright Ian Corless

Miguel Heras copyright Ian Corless

Michel Lanne from France had a great race over the tough and technical trail at Trofeo Kima in 2012 and has been racing regularly in the build up to this Spanish race. He will arriving in form and ready to take on the front of the race. Just this week he has been on the trails with Kilian.

Inov-8 have Alex Nichols and Ben Bardsley taking part and they may very well be two dark horses. Ben is well versed in fell and mountain running and will almost certainly come into the race a little under the radar… one person who knows and respects Ben’s ability is Andy Symonds. Expect a surprise! Also watch out for South African fast man, AJ Calitz, he may well struggle a little with the terrain, technicality and temperatures at Zegama. But a surprise can come from anywhere…

Other contenders are Michel Rabat, Nicholas Pianet, Dai Matsumoto, Toru Miyahara, Dawa Sherpa, Dave James and Daniele Capelletti.

The Ladies Race

Emelie, Frosty, Maud, Lizzy, Nuria copyright Ian Corless

Emelie, Frosty, Maud, Lizzy, Nuria copyright Ian Corless

The ladies race will be a battle royal and although the men’s field has a top quality field I can’t help but think that some real excitement and a nail biting finish will come from this select group of women. Of course, Oihana Kortazar is returning to hopefully repeat her 2012 victory. She will be fresh as she will have not raced at Transvulcania. However, I am going to go out on a limb and predict a podium place, if not a win for Stevie Kremer. Stevie (from the US and now living in Italy) may not be a name too familiar to many but believe me, she has all the class and ability to create some waves over the ‘Sky’ distance in 2013. She has just recently placed on the podium in a very tough race in Italy (overall podium, not the ladies) and after seeing her perform at Sierre Zinal and other races, I think Stevie will be the surprise package of Zegama.

Stevie Kremer copyright Ian Corless

Stevie Kremer copyright Ian Corless

Nuria Picas once again had a great race at Transvulcania 2013 and will come to Zegama ready to push hard and go full speed for the win. She had an incredible 2012 season and performed over all distances always making the podium and in most cases, she stood on top of the podium. She is a true champion and a great ambassador for the sport.

Nuria Picas copyright Ian Corless

Nuria Picas copyright Ian Corless

Emelie Forsberg had a superb race in 2012 and she will be back fighting for the podium. She can go downhill like no other and as she showed last year, she took the final descent at break neck speed and got on the podium. She is wiser, stronger and more experienced now. She is going to be fired up after her incredible run at Transvulcania and just missing Frosty’s CR by a couple of minutes. I think back 12 months when I first met Emelie, Zegama really was her first big race… boy she has come such a long way in twelve months. What does the future hold for her?

Trofeo Kima 2012 copyright Ian Corless

Trofeo Kima 2012 copyright Ian Corless

Silvia Serafini is also another great potential for a podium place. I don’t see her on top of the podium… she is still very much a lady who likes speed and good running terrain BUT she is learning fast and has heaps of talent and ability. Just this last weekend, the 18th May, she set a new CR in The Great Wall run in China.

Silvia Serafini - copyright Ian Corless

Silvia Serafini – copyright Ian Corless

Anna Frost gets a notable mention. She won’t be racing this year. She missed Transvulcania due to injury but just this last week has had some good news and she is now back on the trails, albeit slowly and one step at a time. She will be back!

Anna Frost 'Frosty' copyright Ian Corless

Anna Frost ‘Frosty’ copyright Ian Corless

Emanuela Brizio will lead the rest of the ladies gunning for one of those coveted podium slots. Maud Gobert, Stephanie Jimenez, Debora Cardone, Sarah Ridgeway and Anna Lupton make up the main contenders for the 2013 edition.

Links

Calendar

SKY
1. SPAIN: Maratòn Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri – 42k, Zegama – May 26
2. FRANCE: Mont-Blanc Marathon – 42k, Chamonix – June 30
3. USA:  Pikes Peak Marathon – 42k, Manitou Springs, Colorado – August 18
4. SWITZERLAND: Matterhorn Ultraks - 46k, Zermatt – August 24
5. ITALY: Skyrunning Xtreme – 23k, Limone sul Garda – October 13

Philipp Reiter – new kid on the block?

Philipp Reiter at the finish of Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter at the finish of Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

Just days before the 2013 edition of the TNF Transgrancanraia on the island of Gran Canaria, I spent several days with Ryan Sandes, Julia Bottger and Philipp Reiter. Philipp had literally just come of his skis and had hardly run for 3 months. In the 83km race he lined up against a strong field and by the time the race was over he had taken the 2nd spot on the podium behind Ryan Sandes, once again proving that his incredible 2012 was no accident.

Julia Bottger, Philipp Reiter and Ryan Sandes in Gran Canaria copyright Ian Corless

Julia Bottger, Philipp Reiter and Ryan Sandes in Gran Canaria copyright Ian Corless

IC: I am joined by, ‘wonder kid’ Philipp Reiter.

PR: Hi Ian.

IC: We went out on the trails yesterday and you immediately flew off. You were like a rabbit in headlights. For the last 2-3 months you have done no running. What is it that enables you to step off skis and start running as though you have never stopped?

PR: Yes you are right. I can step of skis and run immediately. You must remember that ski mountaineering is hard work and I do plenty of ascents so I am fit. If you stay fit in all kinds of sports then it’s not such a problem. Actually, it is good to have a break. I am keen and eager to run now.

IC: I get asked a lot about how significant skiing and ski mountaineering is in the winter. For example, Emelie Forsberg, Kilian Jornet, Nuria Picas and so on all put run shoes away for the winter months. What are the real benefits that it gives your running?

PR: It’s a different movement but it’s not as different as cycling for example. We do lots of elevation and that is great for fitness. As you say a break is good, as much for the mind as the body. Maybe it’s not as different as we think.

IC: What lies ahead in 2013 for you?

PR: I have Transvulcania La Palma in May and then I have a German race to do, the Zugspitze. I will attempt the Skyrunning series but not Andorra. That is much too long for me. I will also not do UROC. I think my highlight this year will be the Transalpine. I like the west route and it will be beautiful. They have changed some stage villages so we have 3 or 4 new stages.

Philipp Reiter stretching his legs on an evening run in Gran Canaria copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter stretching his legs on an evening run in Gran Canaria copyright Ian Corless

IC: You mention Transvulcania. The 2012 edition was one of the highlights of the race year, it gad a stacked field. This year’s race again has an incredible field. In 2012 you had a difficult race at La Palma. Relatively early on you had issues with your leg but you soldiered on and still managed a top 20 finish. You crossed the line with Joe Grant. What is your mindset for 2013? You have made big improvements in the last 12 months; you must be looking forward to this year’s edition.

PR: Yes I had a big problem in 2012. I wanted to stop after 20km. I don’t know how I finished. It’s a big mystery. I have no real idea what happened. I had to sit down and I had tears. It was very unusual. But I pushed on and achieved a finish, so if I can get through the race like this then I am optimistic for 2013. Mentally I am strong. I am now sure that whatever comes my way I have the ability to push on. Also, running Transalpine in 2012 with Iker Karrera made me much stronger. I am no longer the new kid on the blog!

IC: 2012 was a year that I feel ultra running changed. I think Transvulcania was instrumental in this. The level of quality on a start line changed so many things. But I also feel the emergence of your self and Emelie Forsberg was significant. You personally had so many great results. Can you recap?

PR: I won Super Trail and I beat my own course record. I wanted to keep less than 7 hours and I did it. I then won Salomon 4 Trails and I beat Francois d’Haene and Thomas Lorblanchet. It was a great result. I won by 2 minutes over a 4-day stage race. It was incredible. In the Skyrunning ultra series I was 3rd overall against some of the best runners in the world. That was behind Kilian Jornet and Andy Symonds.

Philipp Reiter at Cavalls del Vent copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter at Cavalls del Vent copyright Ian Corless

Also at Cavalls del Vent I was freezing for 7 hours out of 10 but I did not give up. I gained so much mental strength. Anything is possible. You just have to force yourself to go on and not give up. But the best result was the win with Iker Karrera at Transalpine. I wasn’t prepared for Transalpine. I was actually in Chamonix to watch TNF UTMB. The course got changed and Iker decided not to run. He said “do you want to start Transalpine with me tomorrow” I said, “yes of course”. We left and drove through the night. We arrived at midnight and then had to start the next morning. We had no time to get excited.

IC: That was crazy. I remember it well. The announcement came that the course was changed and then runners like Julien Chorier pulled out and decided to run the GR20 and then I heard that Iker, who had really focused on UTMB just thought I am not running a short distance and as you say, Transalpine was the alternative. I know you are only 21, if I think back to 21, that’s a long time… I remember that I had no fear. Do you feel that is your situation? Do you think, if I am given an opportunity I am going to say yes, because what is the worse that can happen.

PR: I definitely think lets just give it a go. As you say, I am 21 years old so if it doesn’t go well I can always go back and try again.

IC: When we talk about the runners you race against and the calendar you raced last year. You personally have such great potential ahead of you. I have said many times that I think you and Emelie are the future stars of the sport. You will lead the direction of the sport. Does that put a weight on your shoulders? Salomon as a sponsor, do they put pressure on you?

Philipp Reiter copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter copyright Ian Corless

PR: I have no direct pressure on me from Salomon. It is more that I need to act professionally. It sort of happened without me realizing. For example, I love running, I would run anyway but I used to run and nobody would be interested but now I run and people want photographs and autographs. I need to be professional at all times. I literally could spend 2 hours each evening just answering emails. But that is the package and I accept it. I am very fortunate. I do ask myself do I really want it but then again, I guess I have no option now. I started my own website and then I think, do I really want it!

IC: Yes, we discussed this over dinner last night, the topic of social media. Yes, I am partially to blame. It’s my job to interview, chat, photograph and then distribute it. It benefits you, it benefits the races, it benefits the sponsors, and it is a complete package. But ultimately it has far more pluses than negatives. Do you ever think we will reach a point were things revert, or do you now see that your future lies in running?

PR: I would say at the moment that my studying has nothing to do with sport. I want to be a teacher of mathematics and biology. I will have training away from sport so I have options. I want to have a difference between a hobby, which is now becoming professional and my job afterwards. I post of Facebook and I write on my blog. I enjoy that. It is about me showing and sharing my experiences. I see myself as a speaker for the sport. It’s also funny. I get some great responses, I have funny comments and I love to have fun too and make the most of what I have. I like to create stories too such as running a vertical k indoors by running up and down stairs of a business premises. I like to create ideas.

The very serious Philipp Reiter copyright Ian Corless

The very serious Philipp Reiter copyright Ian Corless

IC: You almost seem to never take your self too seriously. For example, if I point a camera at you, you pull a funny face and smile. But the other side of that is that you are also very serious and precise. You have a duality to your personality. Do you find the balance comes easy?

PR: Training you have to be strict. I think the biggest lie would be that I think it is always fun… it’s not, sometimes I really do need to motivate myself to train. I have to talk to myself some days and force myself out of the door. You have to be focused and disciplined. I have no short cuts. You must put the time in and work hard. Natural ability helps but you must work and work hard. I have my fun side and I like to balance my hard work with fun. All work with no play is no fun at all. We don’t do this sport to get rich. We do it because we love it. We would run and be in completion without the professional side, it is also about meeting people and spending time with people I like such as Ryan Sandes, Julia Bottger, Miguel Heras and Emelie Forsberg. I really remember these special moments. I have met people from all over the world. I am very lucky.

IC: You mentioned you are not in the sport for money. I think that pretty much every elite ultra runner that I have interviewed has said the same thing. You have all come into the sport because of a passion. But it is changing; several races have big prize money. For example, $10,000 first prize, will that change the sport and do you think it will become more common.

PR: I’m not sure. Money changes sport for sure. I don’t know, I don’t have an answer for that.

IC: I don’t think any of us know. I guess that is why we ask the question. Certainly we don’t want running or should I say ultra running to follow cycling. That would be a disaster. I don’t think we have any issues at the moment in our sport but you do have to think of the responsibility that we all have in the sport of controlling it. For example lets say I could give you two race options. A bucket list race with no prize money and a race you don’t like but with big prize money that you have a very good chance to win. Which would you choose?

PR: (laughs) Yes, I think I would choose the race with the money. I guess it’s a sad thing but we all need money.

IC: Without doubt we need money to survive and money is not always available in our sport so it does make sense that financial demands have a decision in your race choice.

When did you get into the sport Philipp, what did you do pre 2012?

PR: I have not been trail running very long. I came from ski mountaineering background. I started when I was about 14 yrs or 15yrs old. I had seen an advert for a race near my home and I asked my parents could I take part. They said of course but that I would need to train. I wasn’t sure I wanted to train but I thought, why not, lets give it a go. I managed to perform okay in a relatively small field and then I became addicted. I enjoyed it so much. Especially going to the bakery after the training sessions, it was a good motivation. I guess it was like a bribe. A local shop owner asked me if I wanted to do the next races for them. I thought I am trained now so I carried on. I made it to the National Team very quickly. That sounds impressive but not as impressive as you may think. During the off season I decided I needed to keep fit so I hiked with my poles and then one day I saw a guy running. I thought, okay, I will try that too!

IC: What year was this?

PR: 2009.

IC: So you see someone running and I guess 2010 was your first season running, the transformation has been so quick. Particularly on a world stage. You came to prominence in 2012 but you got Salomon German sponsorship based on your German results.

PR: Yes, in 2010 it was my first year. I tool part in the Transalpine and my partner for the race was already in the Salomon team. Salomon sponsored Transalpine and they like the fact that I was so young. I even look younger than I actually I am so thy asked would I like to join the team. Wow I thought, usually I have to do the asking so of course I said yes! I got famous in Germany at Zugspitze.

IC: So you progress in Germany and then you get onto the Salomon International team with Greg Vollet as a manager. We have spoken about Greg and his vision for the sport in the past. He definitely is a driving sport in the sport at the moment. Does he have a big involvement in your progression?

PR: Yes, definitely. Greg says that we must create our own image. He helps me achieve what I want but in a very careful way. We talk about everything. I am never forced to race, I really like that.

Philipp Reiter and Andy Symonds at Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter and Andy Symonds at Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

IC: So with the vision of Greg, Salomon as a sponsor and age on your side; what does the future hold for you? We spoke about Kilian in the past, he is only in his mid 20’s but he feels as though he has been around for decades because he has achieved so much. Do you see your progression as similar to Kilan’s and I remember you saying at Trofeo Kima that you said you want to ne Kilian, Do you still want to be him?

PR: I want to beat him! (laughs) What he has achieved is amazing. I want to do it step by step. This year I will do my first 100k. Next year I may go longer and of course I want to run the big races like UTMB or Raid de la Reunion. I have so many options ahead of me. I am just 21 so I don’t want to do too many things too soon. I want goals for the future.

IC: You have an old head on a young body. It’s great that you are patient and looking long term. Kilian had his bucket list and it is now pretty much ticked of. Do you have a list that you are building and when that list is ticked of, do you think you will move into a new realm like Kilian with his ‘Summits’?

PR: I don’t know. I have no idea what the future holds. As long as I am enjoying it and having fun I will continue. A day just has 24 hours. I have to study, I have sport and work but I have many things I would like to do that I don’t have time for. When I have achieved my goals, for sure I will continue with sport but I also want to be a father, I want a family.

IC: Philipp it’s been a pleasure speaking to you. It’s always fun. I’d like to wish you all the very best for 2013. It’s going to be a great year ahead. I can’t wait for Transvulcania La Palma.

PR: Thank you. It has been great fun.

This is part of a new series of interviews Skyrunning ‘The Interviews’ you can also view this on th ISF website HERE

Skyrunning World Series Participants 2013

Skyrunning Image Banner 2_Snapseed

SWS – champions choice

Building on the 2012 Skyrunner® World Series success and the introduction of the Ultras, 2013 prepares for an even bigger star-studded cast.

ISF-logo

The line-up of champions is headed by 2012 SWS winners Kilian Jornet, Emelie Forsberg and Nuria Picas, joined by past world champions Emanuela Brizio, Oihana Kortazar, Luis Alberto Hernando and Tofol Castanyer and WMRA champions Marco De Gasperi and Stevie Kremer.

Nuria Picas copyright Ian Corless

Nuria Picas copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter copyright Ian Corless

Emelie Forsberg copyright Ian Corless

Emelie Forsberg copyright Ian Corless

With some of the big American ultra legends crossing the pond last year to get a taste of skyrunning, the word is out!  Joining them this year: Anton Krupicka, Dakota Jones, Rickey Gates, Mike Foote, Timothy Olson, Joe Grant….

Kilian and Tony Krupicka copyright Ian Corless

Kilian and Tony Krupicka copyright Ian Corless

Dakota Jones copyright Ian Corless

Dakota Jones copyright Ian Corless

It’s full immersion for Kilian Jornet who, with his unique skills, will participate in no less than all three Series:  Vertical, Sky and Ultra!

Kilian Jornet copyright Ian Corless

Kilian Jornet copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker will be toeing the start-line at the Series’ first 100-miler while Anna Frost will take part in both the Sky and the Ultra Series.  The mix includes Phillip Reiter and Julia Böttger from Germany, top French names:  Francois d’Haene, Julien Chorier, Michel Lanne, Yann Curien, Maud Gobert and Stephanie Jimenez, Britons Andy Symonds and Tom Owens, Canada’s Adam Campbell.

Marco de Gasperi - copyright Ian Corless

Marco de Gasperi – copyright Ian Corless

Anna Frost copyright Ian Corless

Anna Frost copyright Ian Corless

Strong team participation is engaged right across the Series headed by the heavy-duty Salomon team as well as hefty, international line-ups from inov-8, La Sportiva, Salomon Agisko and Arc’teryx, The North Face, Haglöfs, Montrail, Scott as well teams from Spain, Italy, Russia, Japan

Take a look at the mix here.  Have we got everybody?

You’re still in time to join the throng and remember, if you’re competing in the World Series, there’s always a slot available for you.

Follow us for who goes where as the skyrunning season unfolds.

Follow the action on Skyrunning HERE

Follow on Talk Ultra HERE

On Twitter @talkultra

Salomon Fellraiser

Andy Symonds and Ricky Lightfoot very much pioneered the Salomon Fellcross, as the inside of the shoe says ‘Designed in the Alps‘. They tested the shoe and made tweaks to the design that would ensure that a shoe came to the market that was perfect for the job!

Salomon Fellraiser

In 2013, a Fellcross 2 is certainly on the cards but fresh from the Outdoor Retail Show in the US the Salomon Fellraiser has emerged. Due SS 13?

Low to the ground? The Fellraiser is lower to the ground and apparently more flexible than previous models in the Salomon range. A 7mm drop (tbc) with a supposed12mm of cushioning at the front and 19mm at the back, this shoe will certainly become popular on muddy and gnarly trail. It has aggressive traction and a contragrip outsole with a fast drying and lightweight upper.An EVA midsole should provide great feel and enhance quick transition from one foot to the other.

UPDATE 1st Feb

Many thanks to Gripmaster who has been testing these shoes, he has confirmed the ‘drop’ at 6mm with forefoot cushioning at 6mm and rear cushioning at 12mm. He says “the new profile is quite cool, better on rock than the fellcross 1, so more usable in the alps that way..”

Is this ‘the new‘ Speedcross? Who knows… it certanly seems as though it is an offering in the ‘Speedcross’ arena. Certainly, the lower drop, if confirmed, will be appealing. But I have already seen new colourways of the Speecdross 3 for 2013 so this almost certainly will be an addition to the Salomon range.

It’s also lightweight, current stats are showing 230g for a UK8.5 (tbc)

Of course until I get my hands on a pair of shoes, look at them and test them, I can provide no more information. Rest assured, news will soon follow.

Salomon Website HERE

About Mountain Running…

Yes, I openly admit I work for Skyrunning and I attend the events that they organize. I love the philosophy, the courses and the people.

To be honest, I love our sport. Don’t we all?

The WMRA – World Mountain Running Association, are once again making sure that WE understand what Mountain Running is and I guess what Mountaineering, Orienteering and Skyrunning is…

Taken from the WMRA website – link HERE

Mountain Running is Athletics. Differences with Mountaineering, Orienteering and Skyrunning.

To distinguish the sport of mountain running from mountaineering or orienteering or skyrunning we can look at the philosophy of each sport.

The philosophy of mountaineering is based on contact with and challenge to nature. The time factor is only important in relation to our planning and safety. Climbers seek their adrenalin rush climbing on rock faces, looking for new routes and overcoming the danger inherent in their sport. A considerable amount of technical equipment, (ropes, pitons, etc) is needed. It is a question of combat between man and nature.

The philosophy of orienteering is to work out the quickest router between two points. Speed is important but it is useless without map-reading, compass, and route finding skills. In a few competitions, orienteering moves out of the forest, its natural habitat, and onto the mountains but its philosophy is still distinct from that of mountain running.

The philosophy of skyrunning seems to be an adventure on the mountain, trying extreme difficulties: in fact skyrunning is the discipline of running in the mountains above 2.000 meters, where the incline exceeds 30% and the climbing difficulty does not exceed II° grade. Ski poles and hands may be used to aid progress.

The philosophy of athletics, in our case mountain running, is based on the time factor, how to reach the finish taking the defined way as fast as possible. This is the objective of those who take part in competitive mountain running. Courses are designed to eliminate danger. No equipment is needed, no ropes, no compass. Athletes find their challenge in matching their speed against that of other runners, a competition between man (woman) and man (woman).

Are we clear?

Just to make sure:

2013diack.jpgWMRA Council: definition of mountain running for IAAF Rule Book

During the final day of meetings for the WMRA Council in Monte Carlo, the definition of mountain running was discussed at length which resulted in proposed language for a new rule to appear in the IAAF rule book: this new rule numbered 251 could replace actual rule 250.10.
It was agreed by the Council that there are extreme variations in conditions in which Mountain running is practiced worldwide. The difference between very successful and unsuccessful events often lies in the natural characteristics of the venue and the abilities of the course designer.
The proposed rule from the WMRA Council is intended as a guide and incentive to assist countries to further develop Mountain running.
Guidelines are included to support worldwide race directors in the organization and logistics of their events.
The proposed rule will be forwarded to the IAAF for consideration with hopes for final approval by the IAAF Congress in August 2013, at Moscow.
The rule would then appear in the IAAF Rule Book

Skyrunning 2012 Elite Listing

ISF

ULTRA

The Ultra distance races selected in 2012 were held in the following countries: Andorra, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Réunion, Italy, Spain, USA.  The ranking is based on the best three results of the year – or two results, plus one from 2011, taking into account the top 15 men’s and 10 women’s results in each race.

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The athletes are listed in alphabetical order according to their nationality.

ELITE MEN

AUSTRIA

Wagner Thomas

CANADA

Campbell Adam

FRANCE

Antolinos Fabien, Bringer Patrick, Buffard Sebastien, Camus Sebastien, Chaigneau Sebastien, Chorier Julien, Clavery Erik, Court Sylvain, Curien Yann, D’Haene Francois, Durand Maxime, Gault Emanuel, Guillon Antoine, Lanne Michel, Le Saux Christophe, Lejeune Arnaud, Lorblanchet Thomas, Martin Nicolas, Pasero Mikael, Pianet Nicolas, Rancon Julien

GERMANY

Reiter Philipp

GREAT BRITAIN

Conway Terry, Symonds Andy, Sharman Ian, Grant Joe (?)

HUNGARY

Nemeth Csaba

ITALY

Cavallo Giuliano, Dapit Fulvio

JAPAN

Kaburaki Tsuyoshi, Yamamoto Kenichi

NEPAL

Sherpa Dachhiri Dawa

PORTUGAL

Sa Carlos, Teixeira Armando Jorge

SOUTH AFRICA

Sandes Ryan

SWITZERLAND

Rey Jean-Yves

SPAIN

Bes Jordi, Castanyer Tofol, Jornet Kilian, Karrera Iker, Heras Miguel, Merillas Manuel, Perez Lopez Oscar, Sanchez Sebas

SWEDEN

Buud Jonas

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Bowman Dylan, Clark Nicholas, Clayton Cameron, Foote Michael, Gates Rickey, Grant Joe, Jaime Scott, Jones Dakota, King Maxwell, Koerner Hal, Krupicka Anton, Mackey Dave, Maravilla Jorge, Meltzer Karl, Olson Timothy, Pedatella Nicholas, Tidd John, Tiernan Zeke, Wolfe Mike

ULTRA

ELITE WOMEN

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BRAZIL

Maciel Fernanda

FRANCE

Chastel Veronique, Combarieu Maud, Favre Corinne, Gobert Maud, Herry Karine, Lecomte Emilie, Martin Sandra, Motto Ros Sandrine, Valero Anne

GERMANY

Bottger Julia, Calmbach Andrea

GREAT BRITAIN

Hawker Elisabeth, Greenwod Ellie

HUNGARY

Wermescher Ildiko

ITALY

Canepa Francesca, Fori Katia

NEW ZEALAND

Frost Anna

SPAIN

Fraile Uxue, Iruretagoyena Leire, Martinez Nerea, Picas Nuria, Roca Emma

SWEDEN

Forsberg Emelie

USA

Africa Darcy, Bosio Rory, Bruxvoort Kerrie, Claridge Rhonda, Howe Stephanie, Howard Elizabeth, Kimball Nikki, Lewis Tina, Moehl Kristin, Nordell Ashley

See the 2012 élite listings: Sky and Vertical

Updated January 16, 2013

Skyrunning Logo

A year of memories

What a Year 2012 was for Salomon Running! New friends, precious moments, good stories – all there to strenghten the ties that bind us together.

This clip captures 12 months of emotions nicely.

Salomon Sense Ultra

The long awaited ‘Sense Ultra‘ has arrived. THANK YOU Santa……

As many of you will know, the ‘Sense‘ has become the shoe of choice for those who are wanting to run on trail with a minimalist and responsive shoe. However, we can’t all be as efficient as Kilian Jornet or Andy Symonds.

The Sense Ultra offers a little more but holds true to all the elements that have made the ‘sense’ so popular.

The Salomon S-LAB Sense Ultra Racing is one of the lightest trail shoes ever made. It is heavier than the Sense but has added strengthening of the sole for longer and harder races.

It has the new lacing system: Quicklace this reduces the weight of Sense.
Dynamic Traction:  allows the Salomon S lab Sense  optimum grip in all conditions. It wasdeveloped by Solomon with the greatest athletes without any compromise. It has different grip and texture which has been designed to optimize grip when it is necessary.
EndoFit: has an inner liner to the shoe designed for positioning the foot optimally.
Drop: a low 4mm drop to provide a natural contact and feel with the ground.
OS TENDON: Thanks to this system inserted in the sole of the S lab intermediare sense, there is a natural flow with excellent energy return.
Profeet Film: is a protection film that will protect your foot area from angular or sharp objects that are on the trail. The Sense offers maximum protection despite its lightness.
Weight: 240g in 8.5 U.S.

When you lift up the box you think wait a minute… they forgot the shoes! Not so. These ‘runners’ are super light.

The lacing system as with all Salomon in reassuring and holds the foot firm.

The addition of the internal ‘Endofit’ makes the shoe more comfortable than you would ever imagine. They can be a little tight to get on at first and you may initially think; uh oh, wrong size. But once your foot is it is snug and supremely comfortable. The most comfortable shoe I have ever worn.

I am not a small guy and the therefore I always felt the original ‘Sense‘ was maybe just a little too minimal for me… certainly on longer runs! not so with the ‘Ultra’. The additional cushioning is immediately apparent.

The sole has grip but nothing like the ‘SLab Softground‘ or ‘Speedcross‘. The shoe is therefore certainly more suited to road and hard pack (or rocky) trail. If your running in soft ground they perform perfectly but if you are a great deal of mud the added grip of the Soft Ground or Speedcross may be a better choice.

In use they are a dream to wear. On the roads they are light, responsive and provide that feel that I have had with traditional racing flats. The bonus with the ‘Sense Ultra’ is the hold of the foot. The speed lacing and Endofit provide supreme comfort. On the trails this becomes even more apparent as the foot moves from left to right with changes in terrain.

It’s early days in testing but this shoe will not be of my feet for a while… they are so comfortable I would even be tempted to use them as slippers.

Now then, I need to go run…..

As a foot note, (no pun intended) Spring/ Summer 2013 will see a new Sense model – ‘Mantra

I saw this shoe earlier this year at Cavalls del Vent. A couple of the Salomon runners tested the shoe (Emelie Forsberg and Philipp Reiter) By all accounts a great edition to the range but too early to provide some detailed feedback.

The Mantra will be an everyday trainer in the same mold as the Sense and Sense Ultra. It’s a door-to-trail hybrid. With it’s 16mm heel and 10mm front (6mm drop as opposed to 4mm) and 260 grams weight, it looks to be a featherweight trainer without requiring the user to go to a 4mm drop shoe. Salomon has been heavily delving into exactly how different heel-to-toe drops effect actual stride speed which has resulted in their “Natural Motion Construction.”  A lower heel drop supports a mid-foot or forefoot strike that in turn better enables muscles, instead of joints, to absorb shock. Ultimately, their argument is this builds greater balance and overall running efficiency. More to follow….

Sense Mantra

Sense Mantra

Looking back, Moving forward – Skyrunning

Looking back over the 2012 skyrunning season, it was, to say the least, an intensive year. It was a year of major transition from the past format of main races and trials, to the introduction of the Ultra distance and separate circuits. The transition was complicated and not without difficulties but it paved the way for a completely revised 2013 format.

The start. Ultra Cavalls del Vent. ©ISF

The season saw triumph and tragedy, great champions, bright young stars, new races and spectacular locations.

At the beginning of the season in May, the introduction of the Ultra Series wrote a new page in skyrunning history. The Transvulcania Ultra Marathon not only perfectly embodied skyrunning’s “sea to sky” concept, but had probably the deepest field of world class runners to date, including American legends like Anton Krupicka, Geoff Roes, Rickey Gates, Mike Wolfe Joe Grant and 21year-old Dakota Jones who went on to win the race.  Dakota, Tony and Joe came back for more…

Nuria Picas, winner Kima Trophy. ©ISF

The more gruelling courses typical of European skyrunning have almost surprisingly gone down well with the American runners, giving us the conviction to keep it “tough and technical“ rather than provide a watered-down version to appeal to a wider public – something to look forward to on the other side of the Atlantic next year together with a selection of the best that Europe has to offer…and our first 100-miler.

The 2012 SkyMarathon® Ultra Series has represented the first and most important encounter among top European and American Ultra runners with a level so high that all the mens’ race records in the Series were broken! Legendary ultra runners competing in the Series (apart from those mentioned above) include: Kilian Jornet, Ikker Karera, Andy Symonds, Dawa Sherpa, Francois D’Haene, Erik Clavery, Seb Chaigneau and among the women:  Nuria Picas, Anna Frost, Lizzy Hawker, Maud Gobert, Darcy Africa, and Nikki Kimball.

Kilian Jornet the sport’s top star, yet again gave a command performance taking not only the World Series combined title, but also the Ultra Series title, totalling seven outright victories and two third positions in all three disciplines.  2011 World Series champion Luis Alberto Hernando placed second and Britain’s Tom Owens moved steadily up the ranking to take third position.  Ultra Series’ runner-up was Andy Symonds and Germany’s Philipp Reiter placed third.

Emelie Forsberg, Nuria Picas, Anna Frost. Ultra Cavalls winners. ©ISFIt’s in the women’s field that the most rapid revolution lies however. Young, talented runners with no skyrunning history debut and rise to glory in just one season and, note, women are finishing in the top ten overall, closing the gender gap.  Sweden’s Emelie Forsberg is one of these ladies.  Twenty-five years-old, she ran her first skyrunning race just this year and in only one season conquered the World Series combined title in a field stacked with highly competitive Spanish runners like Nuria Picas, Blanca Maria Serrano and Nuria Dominguez.

Nuria Picas has finally shown that talent and determination go a long way by winning some of the toughest races on the Series.  She finished second after Forsberg in the World Series combined ranking and won the Ultra Series outright. Anna Frost, after a superb start at the Transvulcania Ultra, was plagued by injury throughout the season but fought tenaciously for a second position in the Ultra ranking where Forsberg placed third.

Kilian Jornet & Tony Krupicka, 1st and 2nd at Cavalls.  ©Ian Corless

Alongside Forsberg, another star was born: 23 year-old Italian, Silvia Serafini who, like Forsberg, began skyrunning just this year, testing her skills in all three disciplines to climb to third position in the world ranking.

Two world records highlighted the Vertical Kilometer® Series on the gruelling course in Fully, Switzerland with1,000 metres elevation gain over just 1.9 km distance.  The men’s record of 30’42” set by Italian Urban Zemmer is just a short step from climbing at 2,000 metres per hour – upwards! French runner Christel Dewalle set the women’s record in 36’48”.  Overall Vertical Kilometer® Series champions were Urban Zemmer and Spain’s Laura Orgué.

In 2012, prize money amounting to €140,000 (including the Series’ final prizes) was awarded to 148 athletes. The figures are still small for the huge effort and incredible performances involved, but as the sport grows, prize money will do like-wise. Complimentary accommodation, travel subsidies and promotion are more ways that a top runner can benefit – and so will the sponsor.  Major industry players are now investing in trail running and many brands have top runners and teams participating in the Series.  See Team ranking

Media coverage of skyrunning events reached new heights this year from print to websites, blogs and social media, to videos, podcasts and television on a global level.  A big thanks goes to all those who followed the skyrunning heroes through thick and thin, in heat and cold and darkness, breaking news in real time and capturing high-flying emotions in images, text and videos.

Look out for the 2013 Skyrunner® World Series calendar to be announced next week.  We’ll be focussing on new events and personalities, a worldwide ranking for runners and races, regulations and safety issues as well as the announcement of the 2013 European and 2014 World Championships.

Les TEMPLIERS race summary

After a light dusting of snow during the night, runners for the 18th edition of La Course des Templiers had the prospect of a very cold day on the trails.

With a temperature range of -3-4 deg and a very strong wind, cold was going to be a major issue. On the start line runners assembled dressed for cold weather and believe me, they got it! Although the ambient temperature rose above 0 deg’s the general feel was considerably colder.

Stirring music, red flares and the runners left Millau at 0515 for 70+ km’s on trails.

Prior to the race we had a stacked field of runners but due to a string of late season injuries, several key runners were unable to run. Notably Leadville 100 winner Thomas Lorblanchet and Philipp Reiter. UTMB winner, Francois d’Haene although carrying a knee problem decided to make the start however dropped early in the race.

In the ladies race the notable drop before the race was Francesca Canepa who had started the Endurance Trail (102k) on Friday and stopped midway. For some reason she had planned to run ‘both’ races over the weekend! Anna Frost had been injured since Cavalls del Vent and was 50/50 but after having a short test run the day before. She ‘taped’ her legs considerably prior to the start and like the true competitor she toed the line see how things would go… after all, she was joint leader with Nuria Picas of the Ultra Skyrunning series and ‘Templiers’ would decide the champion.

The Race

Maud Gobert from France had set the early pace but she had been caught by Nuria Picas and passed. Emelie Forsberg and Lizzy Hawker chased. Frosty unfortunately never felt right in the early stages and she told me after the race;

“it was so cold and I just wasn’t performing as I should, it was a tough decision but a correct decision to pull out at the 22k check point before I did more damage”

Maud Gobert and Emelie Forsberg set the early pace followed by Lizzy Hawker. Nuria running from behind, caught Lizzy and passed her and then pursued the front-runners. Once Nuria caught them she pulled away taking Emelie with her. One has to say that if anybody deserved the ‘Champion’ title it is Nuria… she has consistently performed well throughout 2012 not only in the ultra series but Skymarathon and Vertical K. Nuria eventually pulled away from Emelie leaving her being pursued by Maud and Lizzy.

Between 22k and 35k Lizzy caught and passed Maud. Emelie Forsberg now chasing Nuria was caught by Lizzy who rallied. With Nuria crossing the line as race winner with a comfortable margin of almost 10 minutes, a race really was coming together for the 2nd place. In the end it came down to a sprint finish with Emelie just pulling away from Lizzy to beat her by 9 seconds. Without doubt it was a ‘royal’ podium. Emelie was only recently crowned world Skyrunning champion at Kinabalu and Lizzy Hawker has just had a golden patch with three superb wins at the shortened UTMB, Run Rabbit Run 100 and Spartathlon.

  • Nuria Picas 7:16:58
  • Emelie Forsberg 7:26:15
  • Lizzy Hawker 7:26:24

The men’s race had a clear favourite with last year’s winner; Andy Symonds. However he had a race in front of him. Julien Rancon was an early protagonist and eventually forged ahead of the race with Fabien Antolinos, Miguel Heras and Andy Symonds in pursuit. Julien has had a very successful 2012 with 7 races and 7 victories but no race had been longer than 60k.

With just over 10k to go, Julien Rancon had a 45 seconds lead over Fabien Antolinos and 1 minute over Miguel Heras. As I waited at the finish news came in that Fabien Antolinos had dropped; a real shock at such a late stage of the race. This left the door open for Fabien Antolinos to surge away from Miguel Heras.

 

He crossed the line in an emotional state. Tears in his eyes… he had run Templiers only the previous year and placed 4th. This was a sweet victory. Miguel Heras placed 2nd just over 3 min later and put to bed a mixed season.

On the line Miguel said:

“I am happy with the placing. I ran a good race but Antolinos was better… It’s always nice to run well and todays course was very pleasurable”

Andy Symonds ran into the finish with a massive smile and took an opportunity to dive into a pool of mud just before the finish line much to the satisfaction of the ground. Andy has become very much a hero in France. His win last year at Templiers cemented this.

  • Fabien Antolinos 6:10:35
  • Miguel Heras 6:14:54
  • Andy Symonds 6:23:51

La Course des Templiers was the last race in the Ultra Skyrunning series and as such a final presentation was made. Kilian Jornet and Nuria Picas stood on the podium to receive the respective awards from ISF President Marino Giacometti. Two great champions!

Note:

To add to that magical ambiance, it helps to know that Nant was one of many points in a network of secret trails built by the Knights Templar, the monastic, international military order formed at the end of the First Crusade with the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. The Knights Templar, known for their architectural skills and fighting alongside Richard I were the first warrior monks and were prevalent in that part of France until their downfall in 1307.

The race route uses the secret paths of the Templars. It has included two long tunnels that had been used as shortcuts to beat enemies to strategic locations. The region has become a popular tourist attraction primarily due to the success of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

Key points on the course are the old village of Peyreleau, Route Alleyral, St Jean des Balmes, Roquesaltes (a protected site and an usual stone structure with a protected arch), the old castle of Montmejan, old cobbled streets of La Roque Ste Marguerite and Massebiau that has an old bridge.

The course has key points on the course of difficulty:

  • Cotes de Carbassaa 473m+ at 3km
  • Cote de Peyreleau 450m+ at 22km
  • Cote de Pierrefiche 346m+ at 46km
  • Cote de Massebiau-Le Cade 461m+ at 61km