Cavalls del Vent 2013 – Race Preview

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The 2012 edition of the Ultra Cavalls del Vent turned out to be a classic race. It’s inclusion on the ISF Skyrunner World Series attracted a stellar field and fans around the world of true mountain running had a stunning display from the men’s and ladies races.

Kilian Jornet, Anton Krupicka and Dakota Jones inspired with stunning performances and the ladies race proved to be a thriller, with arguably the three best mountain runners in the world going head-to-head for the Ultra Cavalls del Vent crown. At the line it was local girl, Nuria Picas who took the crown from a charging Anna Frost and Emelie Forsberg.

However, the event was marred with bad weather and unfortunately the loss of life. Teresa Farriol who had placed 14th lady in the 2011 event unfortunately came into difficulty during the night and although she received expert medical help, she passed away.

Our sport should be challenging and we all acknowledge accidents happen. Needless to say the mood after the 2012 race was subdued but safety has always been and always will be paramount at the Ultra Cavalls del Vent.

Article on the 2012 event HERE

Anton Krupicka race report HERE

The Race

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Now in its fifth edition, the UCdV will once again attract top mountain runners to participate in an ultra endurance mountain race crossing the mythical trek in the Cadi Moixero National Park. The route is 100km long and has a total elevation gain of 6668m, the highest point of the course coming at approximately 14km at Niu de L’Aliga (2400m). The course takes in eight huts and starts and ends in the quiet town of Baga. In comparison to previous editions, the route has been extended from 84km to 100km and the cut off time has also been extended to 28 hours.

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Potential Winners

One thing is for sure the 2013 edition of the race has nowhere near the stacked field of 2012. But what may be missing in depth is compensated for with quality, particularly in the men’s field. The ladies have a couple of stand out names and although not confirmed yet, Nuria Picas did say that she would return for her ‘home’ race.

Men

Tofol Castanyer, Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Tofol Castanyer, Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Tofol Castanyer has raced at Cavalls del Vent before, he placed 2nd in 2011 in a time of 8:42 (for 84k) and in 2013 he unfortunately had to drop with hypothermia. So far, 2013 has been mixed with some injury issues and stomach problems in one or two races, however, his recent form at Transalpine should ring alarm bells for all his completion. Without doubt a hot favourite for the win.

Luis Alberto Hernando, Haria Extreme ©iancorless.com

Luis Alberto Hernando, Haria Extreme ©iancorless.com

Luis Alberto Hernando is a class act and 2013 has seen him move up the distances in a long-term bid to race at TNFUTMB. He has repeatedly played second fiddle to Kilian Jornet and has been one of only a small handful to really push the Catalan to the line.  He was seconds behind at Zegama-Aizkorri, finished joint first at Trans D’Havet and once again, just finished a minute or so in arrears at Matterhorn Ultraks. Luis can win Cavalls del Vent, no doubt.

Zigor Iturrieta, Trans D'Havet ©iancorless.com

Zigor Iturrieta, Trans D’Havet ©iancorless.com

Zigor Iturrieta like Tofol raced in 2011 and placed 5th overall. He has the potential for a strong performance here; the terrain and distance suit him. However, he has already raced a lot in 2013 and one has to wonder how fresh he will be.

Jordi Bes will be racing on home soil. He recently won the CCC and must come to Cavalls with high hopes of a podium finish. He knows the area well and placed 9th at the 2011 edition. One-to-watch for sure.

Gerard Morales Ramirez placed 10th and the 2011 edition and last year, in a much higher quality field placed 8th. He will come with high hopes of hopefully moving into the top five and if all things go well, maybe even a podium slot.

Felipe Artigue Rodriguez is a runner I know little about, however, he placed 10th overall at the 2012 edition of Cavalls del Vent at the knowledge will be extremely useful for 2013. I don’t see him as a contender for the podium but I am sure he hopes to improve on his overall placing.

Terry Conway (2nd place) Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

Terry Conway (2nd place) Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

Finally, Terry Conway from the UK raced at Cavalls del Vent and was a victim of the bad weather. Since then, Terry has struggled with below par performances at Ronda dels Cims and the Lakeland 100. He didn’t finish either event. He recently secured a top fifty place at TNFUTMB and this will be a great boost for him. Providing he is fresh and recovered from TNFUTMB, he has all the potential of a good run and make the top ten.

Other names to watch out for: Carlos Santasusana Bayona and Pau Bartola Roca.

Cavalls del Vent 2012 ©iancorless.com

Cavalls del Vent 2012 ©iancorless.com

Ladies

Nuria Picas, Cavalls del Vent  ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas, Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas is not on the start list so I am going here from conversations with her post TNFUTMB. She confirmed for me that if her recovery was good, she would line up at her ‘home’ race and run. If she does, she is the outright favourite for the race win, even with a tough 100-miles in her legs from her circular tour of Mont Blanc and 2nd place!. Nuria is a class act, her 10:34 from the 2012 edition of the race smashed the previous course record and when you consider her consistency over all distances, not many ladies beat her. This year over the 80km distance and less she has consistently placed second to Emelie Forsberg, however, that will have no impact here!

Placing 6th at Cavalls del Vent in 2012, Laia Andreu Trias is the next lady with top billing. In 2013, she has won several races; La Vall de Nuria, Vertical Sobrepuny, Curse de Muntanya Sotabranques and Curs Mossos d’Esquadra, so, she has form. Should Nuria not run, Laia is a potential winner and for sure, a hot possibility for a podium place.

Teresa Nimes Peres has potential to make the top 10 and if she has a good day, she will be pushing for the top five and maybe even the podium. In 2013 she placed 8th at Trans D’Havet and in 2012 Teresa was 15th at La Grande Course des Templiers, 11th at Cavalls del Vent, 19th at TNFUTMB and 9th at Transvulcania.

Christina (Tina) Bes is a ski mountaineer and has a list of palmares the length of my arm. However, her ability as a runner in the mountains is relatively unknown to me. One thing I have learnt though is that a quality Ski Mountaineer very often makes a great mountain runner! A dark horse?

Finally, Natercia Martins Silvestre placed 3rd at the 80km Grand Raid des Pyrenees in 2012 and was 2nd at Ultra Trail das Aldeias do Xisto. In 2013 she had a win at the Trail de Perialara 80km, so, she has form. It will be interesting to see what she can do in the Cadi Moixero National Park.

I am absolutely sure that the 2013 edition of the Ultra Cavalls del Vent will be an exciting race with many surprises. For sure, the addition of 16km will make a big difference to the final outcome.

If you’d like to follow the race, go HERE

 

 

Emelie Forsberg – Downhill Demon

Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

Emelie Forsberg, Team Salomon Running.

Emelie burst onto the running scene in 2012 with a 2nd place at the Three Peaks in the UK. Throughout 2012, taking one step at a time, Emelie progressed through the Skyrunning calendar with consistent top 3 placing’s. She crowned her 2012 season off with a Skyrunning World Championship and a stunning win at San Francisco 50. Speaking from her home in Sweden, I catch up with her just before her 2013 run season starts. Cinnamon buns are in the oven and the hot chocolate is steaming on the table…

iancorless.comEmelie Trofeo Kima 3

IC Welcome to Talk Ultra

EF Thank you Ian.

IC We all have followed your progress in 2012 and it has been a quick progression in the sport, but many ask, what were you doing before?

EF I have been a student for some years. Whilst studying I have lived and worked in Swedish and Norwegian mountain resorts.

IC You have mentioned work, I’m interested. By work I am assuming you don’t mean skiing or running?

EF Baking. I am a baker. In fact, I am actually baking bread right now.

IC So this is why you always post photos of you and food on Facebook. You have a secret passion.

EF (laughs) I love good bakery!

IC You love bakery but you also love Nutella if my memory serves me well?

EF Yes, I love Nutella too.

IC So you are a baker but you also worked in hotels too, I assume you must have been doing sport during this time. You are an accomplished skier, is that your sporting background?

EF Skiing is my sport as well as climbing and some running. But I only started running in the last 4 years. I run mainly in the mountains. I love being outside.

IC What was it at the end of 2011 that made you decide that you would come away from your home and start to basically to race around the world.

EF It was my Swedish brand ambassador for Salomon who asked if I would join the Swedish Salomon Team initially and then Greg Vollet, Salomon Team Manager, asked if I would join them for a weeks training? After that a decision was made that I should try some international races. I have just progressed. I wanted to take each race at a time. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on.

IC It has been a meteoric rise for you, Three Peaks was a low-key start in the UK and you got 2nd place. At Zegama, it was your first proper mountain race against an international field. You had no hiding place. But despite that pressure, you performed tremendously in what was a new experience for you.

EF Yes, a new experience. Actually, I was a little disappointed. I hadn’t run much before Three Peaks and Zegama. Of course I was happy to do well but I could have done so much better. I learnt I need to start running before racing.

IC Funny, you say you should run before racing. Seriously, you did no running before Three Peaks? What had you been doing?

EF I had a weeks running in April with the Salomon Team but when home I was doing SkiMo (Ski Mountaineering) or I just ran a couple of miles to University each day. So I wasn’t doing much. Certainly not to race. I do ski with heavy ski’s to add resistance and that really gets you fit and strong.

IC One thing that becomes apparent with mountain runners is that SkiMo plays a big part in winter prep. For example Kilian Jornet, Nuria Picas, and Philipp Reiter amongst others spend months during the winter doing this. Skiing really does transfer across well. Is it just great endurance training or does is provide other strengths.

EF Endurance is key. It is great uphill training too and the speed in SkiMo is great. The speed going downhill is great for downhill running. You learn not to be afraid, it builds confidence.

IC What is apparent is that you can go downhill really quickly. You have already gained a reputation for this. You put this to great use at Pikes Peak when at the summit you had a 10 min deficit but you pulled it back on the descent and got the win! What is that enables you to run downhill so quickly?

EF I love the speed and freedom. I love fast! You don’t need great power. During my life I have always been moving in technical terrain, which gives me confidence to recognize different kinds of trails and decide the correct route. I am not afraid. It’s a combination of no fear and confidence.

Trofeo Kima 2012 copyright Ian Corless

Trofeo Kima 2012 copyright Ian Corless

IC I think back to Trofeo Kima in 2012, you said before the race that you wanted to just have fun! You even took sandwiches…. On one of the toughest courses in the Skyrunning calendar!

EF I did

IC Admittedly you didn’t get time to eat them… the course was too hard. But I love the mentality. You wanted to enjoy it. I love that balance that you bring to your sport. You want to do well but ultimately you want to have fun. You have struck that balance so well. At Trofeo Kima you ran with Nuria Picas and then Nuria pulled away but you weren’t bothered, however, that competitive edge came in at the end when you could sprint for 2nd place. You put the ‘speed’ you love to good use then.

EF It’s a combination for sure. I want to have fun and I like to win. Running is great fun, for sure, my life is running. It’s liberating, it’s a big part of me. I must enjoy it. I need to enjoy what I do. Competition is great, I love to feel strong and I do love to race. Winning is great and once you have won, you think, I would like to win more but I need to keep balance.

IC I feel fortunate to have witnessed most of your races in 2012, the exception San Francisco when you won. I saw you on multiple podiums. But I also saw both sides of you… the fun person and the racer. For me, the race of the year was Cavalls del Vent. You are great friends with Nuria and Frosty and pre race you three hang out together. You laugh, giggle, drink coffee and even when racing you are great friends having a laugh. At Cavalls, all three of you battled in tough conditions. As it turned out Nuria won and Frosty was 2nd but for you 3rd was not a disappointment. It was your first long race. Did you feel intimidated by the distance?

EF I wanted to try a longer race. If you have never tried then you don’t know what it feels like.  I needed to push myself. I actually started at Cavalls quite fast and I lead for almost half the race. I felt super strong. I could eat, I could drink, it was cold but I could manage it. In the end when Nuria and Anna passed me, I was mentally tired. Just super tired in my brain. I couldn’t push even though I wasn’t tired. Running uphill with Anna I couldn’t go with her. It was very unusual. We probably only had 40 mins to the finish of the race and Anna screamed at me “Come on Emily, push”. But I was just tired. I learnt something in that race.

IC What did you learn, what did you take away from Cavalls?

Cavalls del Vent copyright Ian Corless

Cavalls del Vent copyright Ian Corless

EF I think I need to work on my mind and my physical. I need to connect them and I need to be stronger. It was my first long race and it was much longer than I had ever run before. To be honest, it is good to run with others too. I learnt that maybe running with others is better than running alone.

IC It is interesting what you say about running with others and talking. That is one thing that Kilian likes. I noticed it at Cavalls, he always seemed as though he wanted some company. In that race it was Anton Krupicka. Of course when it comes to the end, he runs away for the win. I guess time passes so much easier and quickly with company…

From Cavalls you went to La Templiers in France, which starts in Millau. It’s a big race in France. You raced Nuria and Lizzy Hawker. Nuria once again won. But you really gritted your teeth and outsprinted Lizzy for 2nd.

EF Yes it was satisfying but that race was problematic. I had stomach issues and I had to stop six or seven times. So that took energy. Plus I couldn’t eat. I felt I could have done so much better. I could have run with Nuria but I don’t know if I could have won? At the end I almost felt rude sprinting past Lizzy…

IC Racing is racing Emelie and Lizzy would have done exactly the same so don’t feel guilty.

Lets move to the final of 2012. Ultimately your best race, not only a stunning victory but a nice payday too, eh! (First prize in the Ladies race was $10,000)

EF Yes! a nice payday.

IC San Fran, funny, so many races have had difficult and tough with bad weather. It was no different here. Do you perform better when the conditions are like this?

EF Maybe not better but I am used to harsh conditions and I don’t worry.

IC San Fran was a great win. Talk me through it. Pre race I actually predicted you wouldn’t win because I thought you maybe had a little too much time skiing after Templiers. However, you proved me wrong, I hang my head in shame; I should have had more confidence in you. Talk me through it.

EF I wanted to start with Lucy and Maud Gobert. They are famous for being fast starters. I tried to keep up with them but very early on I thought I can’t go this fast… I was a little scared. Normally it is ME that starts fast. I slowed down. I felt confident and I was feeling okay and then two American girls passed. I then thought, wow, have I not run enough and have I had too many buns and hot chocolate (laughs) After about 20k I could see them again and I started to reel them in. I passed Lucy; she wasn’t having a good day. When the American girls picked up pacers I passed them too, this was about 30k into the race.

IC Early on then?

EF Yes, I still felt confident. I was not tired and I was looking forward to keeping on running at the same pace. Just before I picked up Anna Frost, my pacer, I passed Maud Gobert who was leading the race. I was now in the lead! I thought, I can do it… I had started the race slower and it was working. It was a great confidence boost. Anna was such a great pacer. We had such fun. She kept telling me “you can win”. It was great to be at the front, leading. It was fantastic. At the finish I was almost nervous, I had never won a long distance race before. When you think you can win, you really want it and then the nerves strike. I had a perfect day out.

iancorless.comEmelie Templiers

IC It was a stunning win and a great way to end an incredible 2012. Can I ask, you say you started slower, it payed dividends in the latter stages, do you think that is something you will now transfer to other races? Maybe patience is good and you should hold back?

EF Yes and no. Sometimes I just want to run the way I feel like and not have tactics. I wonder to myself if can go fast all race without slowing, so why start slow (Laughs) Greg Vollet would not agree! He thinks I should start slower.

IC Shhhh we wont tell Greg. Greg, if you are reading this, she didn’t say that!

EF (Laughs)

IC I understand, lets say for example you are racing Nuria and Anna; you would rather be with them instead of watching them run away. Better to be with them and then you can adjust your pace accordingly, it may well be that you are running easy?

iancorless.comEmelie Nuria Frosty Templiers

EF Yes, maybe.

IC What is on your 2013 calendar? Tarawera kicks off the year but that will be a low-key start as you are doing a relay. So will Transvulcania be the first big race?

EF Yes, I am not ready for 100k at Tarawera yet. I have planned to do some run coaching holidays and then I will go to Transvulcania La Palma. Transvulcania will be my first ‘proper’ race of 2013.

IC Superb, it’s a wonderful course and it will be great to see you racing Frosty and Nuria and some other great competitive ladies. Another classic battle lies ahead. After that, where do you go? Zegama?

EF Yes, Zegama.

IC Zegama is two week later and is a Sky marathon so will the remainder of the year be decided after these two races or do you already have 2013 planned out.

EF It’s almost planned out but I need to be flexible and I need to listen to my body. So I will change races if I need to

IC Can you tell us what your plans are?

EF I have several races in Sweden, mainly half marathons. Then I want to do Mont Blanc Marathon and the Vertical Kilometer, I will follow these two races with the European Champs (Skyrunning), I may even do Ice Trail Tarentaise.

IC Will you do UROC for the final of the Skyrunning Ultra champs?

EF Yes, I hope so. It will be my first 100k. It will be more distance than I have run before, so, I need to feel good but if I do, I will run.

IC An exciting year ahead and all those races are pretty much Skyrunning events. Exciting.

Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

I have some questions from fans for you, is that okay?

EF Sure

IC James Stewart asks, “Have you had a VO2 test?”

EF No, I have not. I’m not interested. Maybe some day.

IC I guess in principal a VO2 test doesn’t matter, you are running well and you can run quickly. That is all we, and you need to know.

Cavalls del Vent copyright Ian Corless

Cavalls del Vent copyright Ian Corless

IC Who would you like to race in the future?

EF I would love to race against so many, I enjoyed racing Lucy at San Francisco. Maybe it would be nice to race more of the American runners. They are very good and they have a different approach. I’d also love to race Ellie Greenwood.

IC If you do some races in the US, particularly Speedgoat and UROC then that wish may come true. I think Ellie is doing Speedgoat 50k.

Daniel Caulderon asks, “What is your nutrition plan?” Not sandwiches at Trofeo Kima and not cinnamon buns with hot chocolate.

EF I don’t have a nutrition plan. I recommend that you listen to your body. I always eat what I want. But I do eat lots of vegetables, beans and salad. But I love hot chocolate and cinnamon buns too!

IC Jill Suarez says, “I want the recipe for Nutella Brownies”

EF Shall I tell you the recipe now?

IC No, email me and we will add it afterwards.

RECIPE

Kladdkaka

2 eggs

2 dl (0.2 l) sugar

5 big spoons of kakao

A small spoon of vanilla sugar

Very little salt

100 g butter

1 dl (0.1 l) Wheat

A little coffee

Stir the and the eggs and sugar very gently ( no whisking!)

Things to add in the cake: everything you like! I prefer nutella, walnuts, m&m´s or chocolate pieces.

Then add all the ingredients, put it in the owen at 175 Celsius. 15-20 minutes depending how you like the consistent to be like!

Enjoy!

This was what I eat during my first mountain marathon! Nyam nyam!

Apparently best served with Almond Milk….

Emelie, I want to finish and once again thank you for your time. It’s a pleasure to spend time with you. You are one of the most ‘smiley’ people on the ultra scene. What you do in racing is reflected in your smile. You love it and that is great to see. Have a fantastic 2013 and I am so looking forward to catching up with you in the mountains during the coming year.

EF Thank you so much Ian.

iancorless.comEmelie Nuria Frosty

Read more SKYRUNNING interviews HERE

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

A Wild and Wet Cavalls del Vent

ultraRUNNING March 2013

 

A Wild and Wet Cavalls del Vent

story and photos by Ian Corless

It always amazes me how a small town can be transformed into a bustling and thriving race headquarters in the space of 24 hours. I had arrived at Baga in the Spanish Pyrenees a couple of days ahead of the ultra Skyrunning Cavalls del Vent. A race billed as potentially one of the races of the year.

Not for the first time in 2012, the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) and Salomon had pulled together an incredible field of elite runners to take part; Anton Krupicka, Tofol Castanyer, Miguel Heras, Philipp Reiter, Joe Grant, Terry Conway, Dakota Jones and of course, the mountain man himself, Kilian Jornet. The women’s race had equally impressive status but not the depth. Ultimately it would come down to a head-to-head battle between local legend Nuria Picas, Anna Frost (Frosty), Emelie Forsberg and Emma Roca.

In the days before the race I was fortunate to hang out with the runners, get out on the course and experience what it’s like to chase Kilian up a mountain… Unpleasant! The combination of altitude, ascent and technical terrain meant that this Brit had his hands on his knees and his lungs on the floor. But would I change anything? Of course not!

Kilian had recently had a VO2Max test. He told me that he had consistently hit 89.5 and maxed at 92.

Kilian is not a runner, he is an Alpinist; a mountain man. Running is just one aspect of what he does.

The team hotel had a great atmosphere. Chatting, eating, relaxing and preparing for the challenge ahead. It is what I love about ultra running. The mutual respect, appreciation and a love for what we all do transcends competition; it’s a lifestyle.

Race day came and although it was grey, temperatures were mild. Rain was expected to arrive at 11:00 a.m. and although it would be persistent no storms had been predicted.

copyright Ian Corless

copyright Ian Corless

You can read the full article online at ultraRUNNING online HERE

The article is also available in the March 2013 edition of the magazine.

Salomon S Lab Light Jacket 2013

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Salomon need no introduction to the trail and ultra running community. Born in 1947 in the French Alps. For more than 60 years the brand has progressed to now offer some of the most innovative and ground breaking products to be used on the trails and mountains. With constant athlete feedback and collaborations, Salomon have progressed running apparel to new levels with innovative solutions.

The Sense and Sense Ultra shoe models are now one of the most talked about footwear options in the trail and ultra community. A shoe that was developed closely with Kilian Jornet.

Apparel has also been developed, tweaked and modified to provide todays runners with specific clothing designed to excel. Welcome the 2013 Salomon S-Lab clothing range.

Salomon S-Lab Light Jacket

This is the jacket that the Salomon racing team have been using on the trails and mountains throughout last year. The 2012 season threw some really bad weather at the team and this jacket was put to great use at races such as Zegama, Cavalls del Vent and Templiers.

Andy Symonds at Templiers copyright Ian Corless

Andy Symonds at Templiers copyright Ian Corless

Weighing in at just 70g this jacket rolls up into nothing and can be added to the pockets within the S-Lab shorts/skort range (see follow on posts) or added to a waist belt. It is ultra light, windproof with a super soft and comfortable feel. It has a simple design and is ideally designed for racing situations when a light and additional layer is required. Should conditions be particularly cold or continually wet, a more durable jacket may well be required.

Specs

    • Fully windproof CLIMAWIND™ material
    • Featherweight at 70g
    • Highly breathable
    • Full length Zip for easy/quick on and off
    • Highly Packable and will fit in the palm of your hand
    • Reflective branding
    •  Active fit jacket – unrestricted movement

Fabric:

    • CLIMAWIND PRO™

Available in white and black.

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Salomon website: HERE

Faces of Ultra

A selection of images from my personal project, ‘Faces of Ultra‘ have been published in the January edition of Running Fitness.

You can view more images at the website www.facesofultrs.com

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Emotions of 2012

What a year! what a year indeed… it is the last day of 2012 and like so many others I wanted to sit down, reflect on what has happened and put a post together documenting some of the special moments of 2012. But as I looked back, so many sprung to mind… many moments I witnessed through social media such as Facebook and Twitter and others I witnessed first hand. So I have decided to select key moments that I witnessed personally, however, before I do that I do want to give a ‘nod’ to some key moments that I didn’t witness first hand…

Australian Pat Farmer finally made it to the South Pole after starting at the North Pole (view here). Pat is a multiple world record holder for endurance running. He has run around Australia and across North America twice.

Salomon launched the Sense. A shoe that created a stir and a buzz that could only be compared to the same sort of buzz around an iPhone, iPad or equally another key moment of 2012, the Suunto Ambit.

Ryan Sandes arguably one of the best ultra performers in 2012 started of his year in style with a win at the Vibram 100km in Hong Kong.

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Micah True passed way from heart related issues while out running in Mexico. The ultra community bonded together as initially he was lost for days causing Scott Jurek and Chris McDougall (Micah was made famous in the book ‘Born to Run‘) to travel to Mexico and aid the search for him.

Jez Bragg won the Fellsman race for the 3rd time in preparation for his attempt on winning the UTMB. Unfortunately Jez was plagued throughout 2012 with stomach issues. We are pleased to say that he now seems to have rectified these issues and is currently blazing a trail on ‘The Long Pathway‘ in New Zealand.

Kilian Jornet announced his new project ‘Summits of my Life‘. A long term project that will take four years, during which he will travel to the greatest mountain ranges in the world attempting to climb some of the most breathtaking peaks and come back down again as fast as he can. Unfortunately on the first project, the crossing of Mont Blanc, the project was struck with disaster as Kilian’s ski guide and partner for the project, Stéphane Brosse fell to his death. Kilian devestated by the incident spent time with Stéphane’s family and withdrew from Western States.

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The big dance, Western States did not disappoint with two incredible performances and two course records. Timothy Olson beat Geoff Roes record with an incredible performance made all the sweeter when you hear his incredible life story… (listen to our interview on Talk Ultra) Ellie Greenwood confirmed herself as possibly the greatest female ultra runner of the moment breaking Ann Trason‘s long standing (considered by many unbeatable) course record.

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Dakota Jones after a storming win at Transvulcania La Palma went to Hardrock 100 as the one to beat… as it happened, Hal Koerner took the win with Joe Grant in second place.

Speedgoat 50K raised the question about trail, course markings and when and when you should not deviate from a course… ultimately our one and only Speedgoat made a decision that relegated Kilian Jornet from the top of the podium and replaced him with his team mate Rickey Gates. It all got a little crazy and of course RD’s will now make sure they specify the ‘rules’ when putting a race briefing together.

UTMB – It rained, it snowed, the cloud came in, the course got shortened and Lizzy Hawker won her fifth UTMB albeit NOT the UTMB as it was not a full course, so, Lizzy will be back! Francois d’Haene however was very pleased with his win over the shortened course.

Just a week after the UTMB, Francesca Canepa from the Vibram Team turned up at the super tough and long Tor des Geants and won it… amazing considering just 7 days before she was second behind Lizzy Hawker.

Lance Armstrong… need I say more!

Mike Morton had an incredible 2012 with a stunning performance at Badwater 135 just missing the CR by 75 seconds. In addition to this, Mike ran and won may 100’s all around the 13 hour mark. However his performance of the year came in Poland at the 24 hour Championships. Running 277.54 kms he dislodged Scott Jurek as the Amercan holder and set a new benchmark.

Kilian Jornet went back to his ‘Summits‘ project and set a second record on Mont Blanc. This time crossing from Italy (Courmayer) to France (Chamonix) in 8hrs 40min. Article here

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Fresh from a record attempt over Mont Blanc, Kilian Jornet went to Mt Kinabalu Climbathon in Borneo as part of the Skyrunning calendar, won and became World Champion…. again! Of course this race had some controversy as it didn’t go to the summit. Another outstanding performance was that of Emelie Forsberg, she won the ladies race and in doing so confirmed herself as one of the most talented and dominant females of 2012. Kilian now warmed up went over to Reunion Island and took on the tough ‘Raid de la Reunion‘. He made it look easy and he even had time to do interviews at the feed stations during the race… without doubt, Kilian is one of the most talented and gifted athletes in the world.

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Max King and Ellie Greenwood blazed a trail and set records (once again) at JFK 50… oh, did I mention Max’s run at UROC and did I mention Karl Meltzer and Lizzy Hawker winning at Run Rabbit Run… of course, what about Miguel Heras and Emelie Forsberg at San Francisco 50Darn it…. so many great moments…. what about Lizzy Hawker at Spartathlon, second overall and a new female record.

So finally Skyrunning announce the new calendar for 2013 and the big news is a simpler format, the inclusion of a 100 mile race and a season final in America at the Ultra Race of Champions. Without doubt (I am biased) Skyrunning was a game changer in 2012 and the new calendar has already created great excitement for the coming year…

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Believe me, the above list is by no means comprehensive and I am sure I will look back and think… ooh, what about this and what about that… I could go on.

But now here is my pick of personal moments from a great year. Rest assured, I am picking one month; one moment!

JANUARY

Talk Ultra was launched and thank goodness the format of an ultra running podcast that was more than just interviews was accepted. Taking the risk to do a ‘long show’ seemed to pay off and the loyal followers and support has been fantastic. I can’t thank you all enough for the growth of the podcast and 2013 will see it grow!

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FEBRUARY

For the 7th year running I went out to Club La Santa on Lanzarote and had another incredible week training in the sun with friends and clients. It has become a fixture in my year and never fails to disappoint. 2013 will see us arrive on the Canary Island once again for more fun in the sun.

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MARCH

A race fixture on my calendar for several years, the EcoTrail de Paris came around once again and I went out to Paris with Niandi for another great weekend of running and spending time in our favourite city. As it turned out we both had terrible races and DNF’d at the same time… you can always learn something!

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APRIL

I was fortunate enough to be invited over to Turkey to take part in and report on the inaugural Iznik Ultra. I had only been to Turkey once before, many many years before and that was to the South. So I  was very excited to spend time in Istanbul with Niandi and then head down to Iznik. The race was superb offering a selection of race distances over a varied course. Both Niandi and myself took part in the 60k event. I was pleased to come away with a win and Niandi made the podium in 2nd place in the ladies race.

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MAY

May signified a change in my year and very much set a format for what was to come… I was invited to the Transvulcania La Palma on the island of La Palma. Skyrunning had assembled one of the most competitive fields in ultra you will ever see or witness. It turned out to be a who’s who of ultra running. The whole experience is a memory I will never forget… training on the trails pre and post race with the best in the world, witnessing the race were Dakota Jones ran an incredible course record for the win and were Frosty (Anna Frost) set and smashed the old course record in what was to be one of the best performances of the year. This was followed with the conference ‘Less Cloud, More Sky‘ providing the ultra community an opportunity to help establish a direction for the sport in the future. We all then packed up and moved to mainland Spain for ‘Zegama‘ but that’s another story…

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JUNE

Zegama arrived and the heat and sun of La Palma was replaced with rain and mud. Lots of mud. Kilian Jornet just 7 days earlier had collapsed on the finish line at Transvulcania La Palma with exhaustion. At Zegama he showed his recovery powers and showed everyone in the race how to run in the cold, wet and mud. Oihana Kortazar took out the win for the ladies ahead of Nuria Picas who was slowly becoming ‘runner of the year’.

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Nuria Picas – Zegama

JULY

The Pyrenees and an invitation from ARC’TERYX to go and test out the new clothing range called ‘Endorphin‘ on the Skyrunning Ribargoza VK course. Great friends, great memories and some stunning scenery.

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AUGUST

Wow – Trofeo Kima and one of the most impressive run courses I have ever seen. I was told by Lauri Van Houten before the event that this course would blow my mind. Little did I expect what lay ahead… 6 hours being flown around via helicopter on the most stunning and awe inspiring run terrain I have ever witnessed. Kilian Jornet won the mens race and Nuria Picas won the ladies race. A stunning stunning race that signifies everything that Skyrunning is. Want to enter…? Don’t hold your breath. This race happens only every other year and typically only has about 125 places available.

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SEPTEMBER

Berga in September, the weather breaks and Cavalls del Vent turns into a race of survival. Despite runners struggling with hypothermia the race produced a classic. The mens race was competitive seeing Kilian Jornet once again taking the win but this time ahead of Tony Krupicka finally finding some form after over 18 months out of the sport due to injury. Finishing off the podium was Dakota Jones. The ladies race produced the race of the year for me… so often in the longer distance races we see an outright winner crossing the line with 10’s of minutes to spare… not here! Nuria Picas, Frosty and Emelie Forsberg pushed each other right to the line with Nuria taking the win on home ground.

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OCTOBER

Southern France in the town of Millau. The temperatures dropped and I slowly froze myself following the La Course des Templiers, the final in the Skyrunning calendar. I will remember this race for the incredible win by Nuria Picas ahead of a sprinting Emelie Forsberg who put Lizzy Hawker into third place. In addition to this, Kilian Jornet and Nuria Picas were crowned World Champions. Incredible performers in an incredible series of races.

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NOVEMBER

The quiet town of Begeggi on the Italian coast and the Berg Trail. I had an invite from Salomon Carnifast to follow and photograph the race to help promote the first edition of the race. The race was being attended by mountain running legend, Marco de Gasperi. In the weeks before the race I contacted Stevie Kremer who had moved from America to Italy earlier in the year. We had met at Sierre-Zinal where Marco de Gasperi won the race and Stevie placed second. Marco unfortunately went of course in the Berg Trail and therefore spoiled any chances of a win. Stevie however showed her class winning the ladies race convincingly and placed top 10 in the overall. A name to watch for the future…

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DECEMBER

After a stunning year of following races, reporting and photographing I finally took some time out and headed back to the island of La Palma with my partner Niandi to play on the Transvulcania La Palma course. Two weeks of perfect weather and stunning trails provided the perfect end to a stunning year. It was great to spend that time on the trails in our own space and in our own time. Running when we could, hiking when we couldn’t run and walking when no other option was left… the latter half of the year was plagued by knee issues for me and although they havent gone, my time on the Transvulcania course with Niandi was a real highlight in an incredible year!

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support I have received in 2012. From race organisers, athletes, team managers, brand managers and all those connected to the sport I love. In particular I would like to thank Niandi for her patience. I also need to give a special mention to Lauri Van Houten and Marino Giacometti from Skyrunning for the trust they placed in me for 2012 and the continued trust for 2013.

It has been an awesome year and 2013 is already looking like another year of moments, emotions and memories.

Sincere thanks to all of you

Anton Krupicka in Europe

Anton Krupicka talks about New Balance and his experiences of being in and around Barcelona for the Skyrunning Cavalls del Vent 2012

You Tube clip HERE

Tony Krupicka in Europe

Presented by New Balance Spain

Tony expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to race the iconic Cavalls del Vent.

As Tony says “Kilian Jornet, Miguel Heras and Tofol Castanyer are the top mountain runners in the world…. “

Tony placed second overall in the race behind Kilian Jornet. His fellow countryman Dakota Jones placed third.