CALENDAR 2015 – NOW AVAILABLE to order

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2015 calendar is now available to pre order.

Delivery will be guaranteed the first week of December.

The calendar has highlights from a great 2014 racing season and includes images of ISF president, Marino Giacometti, Maite Maiora, Stevie Kremer, Jo Meek, Marco De Gasperi, Luis Alberto Hernando, Emelie Forsberg, Zaid Ait Malek, Martin Gaffuri, Kilian Jornet, Francois D’Haene and Anna Frost.

Cost will be £20.00 inc post and package within UK.

(An additional £5.00 for postage outside UK.)

To pre order, please fill in this request form, importantly, please specify postage within UK or outside UK. You will receive an invoice via Paypal.

Payments are accepted via debit card, credit card or Paypal account.

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inov-8 Race Ultra Vest 2015 *New Product Review

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The 2013 incarnation of the inov-8 Race Vest was a revelation. It was arguably the most simple and minimalist pack on the market that fit and functioned perfectly for the task at hand. It had a unique design, the ability to carry 2-bottles and/ or bladder and in addition it had a series of really useful and importantly, ‘usable’ pockets. No pack is perfect, however, I did say the Race Vest was close.

Many agreed. The pack sold incredibly well and it won awards.

However, it did have some restrictions. In reality, the pack was perfect for 1-day races when minimal mandatory kit was required. But if you where doing a longer event such as UTMB then the original pack had limited space. I actually was able to put all my mandatory kit in the pack but I had to be creative and yes, I had to have the smallest and lightest kit available.

©iancorless.com_S0152108RaceUltraVest2015I personally don’t think this is a fault of the pack! The original Race Vest had a use and if used in the scenario for which it was intended, then it was arguably one of the best packs available.

When the product became available to purchase (early 2014), a few tweaks had been made from the original prototype, which I was using. The key change was in the upper. My pack would allow the 2-bottles to fit low (near the rib cage) or high on the shoulder straps. After testing, many people commented that the shoulder straps rubbed around the neck, so, Matt Brown, the designer, reworked the design, narrowed the straps (which did provide a better fit) but unfortunately this meant you couldn’t fit the bottles in the upper position. A real shame in my opinion! More importantly, original retail samples had a couple of question marks on durability. Many runners complained of some less than perfect construction. This was soon nipped in the bud but as we all know, this is never a good thing.

Below, the original Race Ultra Vest with bottles: 

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Jump to the inov-8 athlete retreat in the English Lakes, spring 2014. A weekend of running: looking at new shoes, apparel and accessories for the coming year (2015). Needless to say, as a running aficionado, I love this. I love to see how a brand takes past and current ideas, develops them and comes up with something new. The new apparel looked incredible, new shoes were promising; particularly the new Ultra 290 shoe and then we saw the packs… the new Race Vest.

Similarities could be drawn to the original 2013/2014 model but boy oh boy. This was a complete overhaul taking all the features from the original, adding tweaks and then coming up with something new. inov-8, Matt Brown and the rest of the team had pimped their packs!

No longer was one pack available but three: 5ltr, 10ltr in this style and a larger 24ltr for mountain marathon or multi-day events. Using the ‘vest’ fitting system, these new packs in one word are awesome.

I said in my original Race Vest review back in 2013 that ‘This new product from UK company; inov-8 may very well be the next key moment in pack design stripping away complication and providing a pack that would almost make a perfect accessory for Batman.’

It was a bold statement and one that I still hold. However, that unique innovation has moved up a step and lessons have been learnt.

©iancorless.com_S0182111RaceUltraVest2015

So, what is new?

  • Larger capacity (3 different sizes)
  • Pole fitting attachments
  • Redesigned vest
  • New soft flasks with extended drinking straws
  • Dump pockets
  • Zipper pockets

I have 2-packs for testing, the 5ltr and 10ltr. They are exactly the same, obviously the only difference being capacity. For the purpose of this review, I have tested and photographed the 10ltr as I feel this will be the most popular option. However, I will say that the 5ltr does have far more capacity than the original Race Vest despite them being arguably, on paper, the same size!

My test product is a prototype and I am aware of some tweaks that will be made based on my review and the feedback I provide. So please refer to this review and I will update with any key changes and revisions that may happen over the coming weeks/ months.

The vest fits like a glove. I never expected anything else. You put it on and immediately it is like adding another piece of well fitting clothing. Unlike the original Race Vest, this pack will not have adjustment straps on the side. Therefore, the pack will come in a variety of sizes so that you can get the product that fits you! I believe this will be S/M and M/L and fit has been tweaked under the arm to a better fit under the arm from my prototype.

Why no side straps?

Well, two large ‘dump pockets’ have been added to the pack. It made sense. This was an area not utilised in the original design and now you have 2-easy access pockets for food, clothing or any other item you may need.

For me though, these dump pockets make the ideal location for storing the new soft flasks. This wasn’t the original idea of designer, Matt Brown. However, after 1-week of testing, I contacted Matt and told him of the way I was using the pack. It made perfect sense to me. It had the bottles in an easy access and comfortable place, the new ‘extended straws’ meant that I could feed as and when I wanted without removing them and if I needed to refill, I could just pull them out, take off the top, fill and replace. In addition, you could still use the dump pockets for additional storage either under or over the soft flasks. I typically put my gloves, Buff or other essential items in this area. Being a photographer, I have often replaced one soft flask with a camera. Yes, they are that adaptable.

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On the front of the pack, you have zip pocket on either side. These pockets are for the soft flasks, however on my prototype they were a little too small and tight. For me, they are perfect for valuable items such as phone/ money/ credit card or similar. Matt Brown has confirmed for me that the zipper pockets have been re-designed and made larger accommodating the flasks with ease and comfort, ‘I used the updated sample at CCC and kept the bottles in the zipper pockets, a lot easier to remove and get back in again,’ said Matt. So, the choice will be yours? I do recommend you try options and see what works for you.

Several other stretch pockets are available that work well for keys, food and or gels.

 

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The front fastening system has also changed from the original. This pack no longer uses the quick release system that some found fiddly on the previous vest (I didn’t). Now it has 2-fixed straps, upper and lower and both use the classic male/ female quick release fastening system.

The rear of the pack has 2-zippers: one on the outside of the pack that allows access to an uncluttered open pocket.

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On the reverse, the part of the pack that would sit against your back, has a zipper that would allow direct access to a bladder should you wish to use one.

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Of course, this is perfect, especially in long events when you are carrying mandatory kit. You don’t want to be pulling kit out to get to a bladder. In addition, elastic cords have been added to the top and bottom to attach poles.

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The large open pocket (10ltr version) held with ease:

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • Buff
  • Gloves
  • Base layer
  • Compass
  • Gps
  • Phone
  • Arm warmers
  • Beanie
  • Gels/ bars

And I still had space to squeeze other items in. No question, it’s perfect for a UTMB style event or similar. Should you carry fewer items, the adjustable bungee drawstring on the pack will allow you to compress unwanted space.

The pack has an optional (purchase extra) 2ltr bladder that sits within a temperature control sleeve and this easily slides into the rear zipper pocket. The feed pipe is insulated and can be used on the left or right hand side of the vest. Ideal should you require the option to carry 3ltrs of liquid: 2ltrs in the rear and 1ltr at the front two soft flasks.

IN USE 

It may come as no surprise that I find the pack perfect. I have yet to find an issue with any aspect of the design.

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The soft flasks with extended straws are a revelation and make ‘on the go’ drinking a breeze. It also makes refilling very easy.

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The vest fits like a glove, does not bounce and is extremely comfortable even when filled to capacity.

Fabrics are light and breathable as the original. Of course with any vest, you are going to get a hot spot on your back. You can’t avoid that with this style of product. Having said that, I have yet to find a pack that doesn’t do this…

10464062_10152436307373891_1576851184164900850_nThe rear large zippered pocket requires some thinking when packing, as it is just an open space. You push things in and keep pushing. I recommend if using a bladder, add this first and then pack. Place the items you are likely to need less at the bottom and then work your way up leaving the most essential items at the top. It’s not rocket science but good to think ahead. Once the bladder is in place, you don’t need to remove it as it has a separate zipper access thus allowing refilling as and when required. It works really well. As mentioned previously, you can fit all mandatory kit (UTMB requirement) in the spacious pocket.

You can attach poles to the rear. I tried but didn’t find this to be a good option for me. More often than not, the new folding poles such as Black Diamond or Leki are shorter in length. This makes fastening more awkward and problematic. To resolve this, I attached two adjustable bungees to the shoulder straps and I store my poles folded across my chest; works for me and makes storing and access to the poles easier. It’s a personal thing.

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The multiple front packets provide immediate access to anything I needed whilst running. I had a phone, camera, bars, gels, keys and money all at hand. Perfect. The front zipper pockets add extra security if not used for the soft flasks.

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I used the two large dump pockets for my soft flasks and then placed gloves, buff and some snack items on top. This works great but you need to think when coming into an aid station… if you just pull out the soft flask, what is on top will hit the deck!

 action photos ©marcuswarner

Conclusion

I raved about the original Race Vest (2013/14 model) and hailed it as arguably the ‘perfect’ pack. In refection, I was wrong. It was perfect to a point. The new range of packs (in 3-sizes) have addressed the issue of storage (or lack of) and with the addition of soft flasks with straws, these packs offer everyone the opportunity not only to get the right size to fit them but also the correct capacity for your needs. For me, if you were only going to purchase one pack, the 10ltr would be the most logical option.

Although we haven’t done a full test from a female perspective, initial feedback has been good. As I am sure you can imagine, this very much depends on the lady and the chest size.

We will update this review with a female viewpoint ASAP.

Finally, inov-8 has come up with another winner. I’d recommend this pack to anyone and everyone. The 10ltr does have some strong competition from many other key brands so ultimately it will all come down to personal taste. But if you are ordering online without seeing the product have confidence, you won’t be disappointed.

Check out inov-8 HERE

Availability? This pack is a 2015 model and as such will retail in early 2015. Pre orders and enquiries should be sent to inov-8

Price? 5L £110 / 10L £120 inc bottles

Note: I was asked on Facebook about a lack of negative comments. It’s simple really, I don’t have any. My comments re the zipper pockets being too small and tight was my big gripe which ironically made me look at storing the soft flasks in the dump pockets. Matt Brown, the designer has reworked these pockets and as he says, he personally used the pack for CCC with no issues. I do hope to get a couple of images from Matt to show this tweak to the design.

UTMB 2014 – Race Preview

tnfutmb 2013 ©iancorless.com

It’s UTMB time and the race kicks off today at 1730 and currently the lights are green for go… phew!

As one would expect, a quality line up and men and ladies will toe the line to run the circular route around Mont-Blanc.

As was shown last year in the men’s race, predicting a winner, even a top-3 can be a tricky thing. One thing is for sure; Thevenard will not do the double as he won TDS just the other day. In doing so, he has become the first runner to win CCC, UTMB and TDS. I like that, it shows a level of skill and speed over multiple distances and terrain.

So, UTMB will roll out and without doubt we will see some drama on the trails. Unfortunately, last years 2nd place, Miguel Heras will not run. Once again injured! Will he ever get a break?

Francois D'Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene is a past winner on the shortened course and for me he has blossomed into one of the best 100 runners out there. His Raid de la Reunion last year and his early season win and sub 20-hours in Japan must make him a hot fave!

Luis Alberto Hernando copyright iancorless.com Luis Alberto Hernando is one guy who I would love to see make the podium. For 12-months he has been building up to this race and wins at Transvulcania and the 80km Skyrunning World Champs must put him in a great place. BUT, he hasn’t run a 100 before and he does like to push. He will need to be patient for 100km and then start racing if he wants any chance of success.

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Tofol Castanyer like Luis is stepping up to the 100. Winner of the CCC he has all the skills and ability to do something special.

 

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera completes a strong Salomon line up and is a hot favourite for the win. He is a beast on tough and technical races and for sure having disappointment with course cancellations in the past, Iker will be looking to make this one count.

Dakota Jones UROC ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones is due a big race. Dropping from Hardrock 100 will certainly have stoked the fire for a great performance here but maybe the ankle isn’t 100%? He has done some epic days with Kilian in and around Mont-Blanc; so, let’s hope he has his day.

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote consistent at UTMB and a great record over long distance races. You won’t see him in the top-10 early on but he will close hard (as usual) eat up those who are struggling and move up the ranks. I don’t see him winning put podium is always a possibility.

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson put his eggs in the Hardrock basket and they got smashed with one of those gutsy, ‘I’m gonna finish no matter what days.’ Respect! Of course, Timmy can win this race, his success this year will all come down to how well he has recovered from HR100. If he is in shape, podium potential and of course a win is a distinct possibility.

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka had the race sewn up for me last year. He was on fire looking relaxed and incredible at every moment. However, the relentless injury problems ruined his day and he has been in and out of injury for 2-years. He had a couple of great early season results, Lavaredo in particular and then dropped from Speedgoat with injury. I have a feeling that Anton will win the race or not finish. I hope he has his day; it’s long overdue.

Jez Bragg TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Jez Bragg will have a solid run; he always does and like Foote, will start way back and work his way to the front. Top-10 would be a great result.

Fabian Antolinus will be an interesting inclusion. He ran a great race at Ice Trail Tarentaise and of course he has continually impressed in French races such as Templiers. UTMB? I would say a top-20 for sure and top-10 if he has a great day.

Hal Koerner is 100m beast and like Mr Meltzer can run 100’s for breakfast. His experiences with UTMB have been somewhat mixed so it is great to see him back and I hope he puts a great race together. He could surprise a few people!

Carlos Sa is a really talented athlete who races road, trail, multi-day, mountains and so on. He has all the ability and potential to create a stir in the top-5. In the past he has gone off course, so this year I hope he nails the route and pushes with the best.

Jason Schlarb has been mixing it up in Europe for a while now. This can only be a really good thing. He raced at Transvulcania and the Skyrunning 80k; so, he has an understanding of what is needed. He may make top-10?

Scott Hawker will be one of the top runners from the Southern Hemisphere who has spent time in Europe this year. Ice Trail Tarentaise would have been a great prep ground.

*****

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio dominated the race last year with arguably one of the most impressive female performances ever. A win at Lavaredo shows that the build up has been good and her recent obscurity can only mean training and training hard. She will be impossible to beat if she repeats the form and condition of 2013.

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Nuria Picas was 2nd last year in her 1st 100 and has gone on to run big races all over the world and in most cases, win them too! Without doubt, Nuria can win this race but she must be tired? In contrast to Rory who will be fresh as a daisy.

Nathalie Mauclair ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair winner of Reunion last year and top ranked at Western States, Nathalie brings a mix of speed, endurance and climbing ability and for me, barring issues, will make the podium!

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Fernanda Maciel like Nuria has been on the UTWT roller coaster of exhaustion. Fernanda won’t be fresh but like many of the other top ladies can produce a really strong 100 and keep pushing even when fatigued. Her 2014 results alone show what a talent she is.

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Laurence Klein, now this is an interesting inclusion. The MDS queen on this terrain leaves a huge question mark. She can run quick, for sure has run some impressive times in races such as the Ecotrail de Paris, however, this 100-mile course and vertical will be something new. Interested to see this one plays out.

Uxue Fraille is a consistent performer at around 80-100km but I think this is the first 100 she will run? Always there or thereabouts, Uxue closes well and picks off the others as they crumble. I see more of the same at UTMB.

Ashley Arnold is a question mark and the US’s hope outside Rory. I don’t think this tough mountain 100 will play to her strengths, particularly based on recent results. However, this ladies field has quality but not depth, so, top-10 for sure and top-5 if on a great day.

Rounding out the top ladies, we have 2-Brits, Claire Price and Lizzie Wraith. Both ladies raced the Skyrunning 80km and may well sneak into the top-10. Shona Stephenson has struggled at UTMB in the past but knows how to run 100’s and is top-10 potential and Meghan Arbogast, Simona Morbelli and Leila Degrave round out my ones to watch!

 

You can follow the race live via the UTMB website and Twitter

UTMB LVE HERE

 

KILIAN JORNET – The Human Carabiner

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Kilian Jornet is defining our sport and in the process is setting new records and providing inspiration to thousands, if not millions of people. Just 12-months ago, I spoke to Kilian in Zermatt. It was just days after his incredible Matterhorn Summit where he set a new record for Cervinia-Matterhorn Summit-Cervinia beating the long standing Bruno Brunod record. Looking relaxed, Kilian joins me at a table and we chat. He looks lean and in the form of his life. The sky is blue and clouds are around the base of the Matterhorn. Looking up we pause and take it in.

Interview in Spanish HERE

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It really is an incredible mountain. I turn to Kilian and ask…

IC – Do you feel nostalgic Kilian, looking up at the Matterhorn and thinking back 12-months?

KJ – Yes, I have great feelings. I-year ago I climbed from Italy (Cervinia) and today I climbed it from Switzerland (Zermatt). I have many great friends in Cervinia and very soon it will be 150-years of the Matterhorn. So many great memories; It’s such a beautiful memory.

IC – Okay, so you have just thrown this on me. You climbed the Matterhorn this morning from Zermatt?

KJ – Yes (laughs) I am not racing Matterhorn Ultraks so it’s okay. I went this morning… I was thinking to myself, it’s great weather so I decided to go. Conditions are not good though. The mountain has much more snow and the ridge was pretty icy. I had no crampons, which was a big mistake. At the summit it was very windy. I thought I might take the quick way down to Zermatt…!

IC – People say the Matterhorn is harder from Switzerland side?

KJ – The Italians say it’s harder from Cervinia and the Swiss say it’s harder from Zermatt. (He laughs) Both routes are very similar. I prefer the Italian side, it’s a narrow ridge about 500m long and you can really run. From Switzerland you go straight to the summit. It’s really beautiful and maybe a little more complicated. For me though, the Italian side is more difficult.

IC – Did you time yourself?

KJ – Hotel to hotel was 7-hours. I had planned to go down to the Italian side and come back via the pass. But the conditions were very windy and I decided to come back on the Switzerland side. It had lots of snow all the way up. I can normally climb up in good conditions in 2.5hrs but today it was 4-hours.

IC – Not the perfect time for a FKT?

KJ – No, it was really dangerous. Normally I would see 100’s of people at the summit. Today it was just me and I saw 4-people on my way down. The weather would be okay for Mont-Blanc but not here; it’s much more complicated.

 

IC – I think it’s topical we are speaking mid season. I believe the Kilian Jornet today is a different person to 1-year ago. For me, you seem to be in perfect shape. I don’t think I have seen you so fit and strong. Would you agree?

KJ – This year I feel really well. I don’t know why? I started the season in Colorado in the winter doing plenty of high altitude meters. I was great in the ski season. It was my best season in regard to my condition. I was not tired after skiing so it was a big bonus. I have raced the same number of races but I seem to be recovering so much better. I am climbing more meters and doing fewer kilometres.

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IC – It’s not unusual for you to start your run season at Transvulcania La Palma on 4-5 days running. This year you did this. You had a great race placing 2nd behind Luis. You then went to Denali and followed this with running again becoming Skyrunning World Champion. In Denali, this is not ultra running. It’s Alpinism. So tell us, what was the experience like?

KJ – It was a hard experience and fun. The weather was bad in Alaska. We stayed 21-days in the glacier and we had 3 sunny days. Everyday was snowing but we did a great number of things. We travelled very light. We would go to 4000m camp and from here everyday we would do something… we did the west ridge and then ski, we did another ridge, then I did the record, the north summit and so on. It was really nice to see. It’s possible to do something everyday. It was really interesting. I think I was surprised to come back to Chamonix and perform so well. Really I was just going to use it as training for Hardrock. In the VK I surpassed my expectation, in the marathon I knew I could do well. I lost weight in Denali.

IC – Yes for sure. You lost weight and your legs seemed smaller. Did it feel unusual to be back in Chamonix feeling like a different person?

KJ – Yes, I had small legs. It is similar to after Alpinism. It’s good for going up but coming down it has its affects.

IC – Denali unlike the Matterhorn was very much about you going and doing it. We haven’t seen the new Summits film yet, so, what did Denali involve?

KJ – It’s Skimo. You go via the plane to Anchorage and then take anther small plane to the glacier. It’s snow all the way. We didn’t take run shoes. We just used skis everyday. We had planned to acclimatize but the weather cleared and I made an attempt on the 6th day. I may have not been adapted but I was still strong. If you stay at altitude you loose strength. I had good conditions for 3-hours but the last uphill section and all the downhill had bad conditions. It was snowing and foggy. I just hoped that I could complete the summit. I added more clothes and pushed on.

IC – How do you prepare for an event like this? Do you do extensive research beforehand on maps? You make it sound casual and matter of fact but I know it’s not.

KJ – You need to be really well prepared. It’s a dangerous mountain. I looked at maps and we planned ahead, not only for the record but other adventures. I made good preparation 2-weeks before. We did 3-days to base camp and did the west ridge and ski down. It was good to see the conditions, find out what the snow was like and see if I could ski fast from the summit. You need to open your mind.

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It was great to have a small team. We were 4-people: Seb Montaz, Jordi Tosas, Vivian Bruchez and me. It’s really quick to change plans and make decisions with a small set up. For example in 5-hours I decided to attempt the record. Everyone was ready; they all knew what they had to do. It was great. Also, the team had projects that each wanted to do. All 4 of us had aspirations to achieve things whilst in Alaska.

IC – That is what is so interesting about what you do. You have very experienced people with you. In particular, Seb, he’s a great mountaineer and cameraman. We often forget he is often doing what you are doing.

KJ – For sure. You either have a small team or a big team with multiple people, helicopters, and many cameramen. The problem is budget! For example, all our team can work independently and they can all film, even myself. I like this process. We all move in the mountain, they are happy alone and that is great. We all captured images of each other. 

IC – That is going to be great to see. You followed Denali with Hardrock 100.

KJ – Three years of waiting!

IC – Yes, you got the confirmation in 2013. We all had expectations and excitement. You were racing really strong competition, Adam Campbell, Joe Grant, Seb Chaigneau, Dakota Jones, Julien Chorier and so on. You had a remarkable day; you smashed the course record. I know from pervious chats that you wasted lots of time. What was the experience like, did it live up to expectations?

KJ – It’s a beautiful race. I have run several 100-mile races and this is the best. The ambiance, the course, the spirit, it was just amazing. I arrived 1-week before and I checked all the last 100km so that I was prepared. I knew I would be in this section at night. I didn’t know the early section; I didn’t check it at all. We all started together; Seb, Adam, Timmy, Dakota and Julien. We had a big group. I felt good from the beginning. Having said that, you always feel good early. It’s just moving. After 4-5 hours I wasn’t pushing but I was pulling away. I thought to myself, maybe I will have a good day but I wanted to be cautious for the latter stages of the race. So, I waited for Julien and then I ran to km 100 with him and then the night started. After this point, I knew the course so I decided to go. It could take 9-hours if I was feeling good. I hadn’t eaten much up to this point so from here I took energy from soup and burritos. It was also really bad weather with rain and storms. I was happy to take a little time in the aid stations.

Kilian ©jordisaragossa

IC – I think you were lucky and got ahead of the worst of the storms. For example Adam Campbell had a crazy time.

KJ – Yes, this is what can happen, Handies Peak is at 4800m and 30km between aid stations, so, you are on your own. If a storm comes they don’t stop the race. You need to know what to do. If you are afraid, you stop and find shelter until the storm passes. Runners need to think and that is a good thing. We all need to think what to carry and what to do.

IC – You had Frosty (Anna Frost) and Ricky Gates as pacers. What point did they pace you?

KJ – Ricky started at 100km for the first part of the night section from Sharman. He ran around 35-40km with me. In the second part it was crazy rain. We were so cold and wet. He stopped. I continued for 10-miles alone and then met Frosty for the last 10-miles.

IC – At any point did you have the course record in mind?

KJ – Yes, you have it in your mind but I don’t race for records. I like racing a great deal. I do lots of races. My priority was to win if possible and I was also thinking of the Dolomites 1-week later…

(Laughter)

KJ – I said okay, I am doing well but don’t try to get tired! I was 20-min ahead of the record and I knew that Kyle Skaggs exploded in the latter stages when he set the record. So, if I kept my pace I knew the record was possible.

IC – As winner, you are the only male with a guaranteed place for next year. Will you be back?

KJ – Yes, for sure as it alternates direction each year.

IC – The two races are different, lets forget next year. Given what you have learnt this year, if you went back in 2-years, with what you now know. Of course weather dependant. Do you think you could make big differences to the time?

KJ – Weather is crucial and of course the feelings. Some days you feel great, like a cloud. You can’t predict these days. I had one of these days at the Matterhorn and certainly Hardrock. For sure I could go faster. I stopped 56-minutes in aid stations.

IC – And you waited for Julien 20-mins? 

KJ – Yes, I think 1-hour quicker is possible should all things align.

IC – You came back from Hardrock and surprisingly raced at Dolomites Skyrace in the VK and SkyRace just days later.

©iancorless.comIMG_6249Canazei2014_kilian

KJ – I was happy about the VK. I was feeling recovered but after 100-miles you need recovery. The VK was super good. I placed 8th which was great. It surprised me that I could push. It motivated me for the Sky race just 2-days later.

IC – Another great victory for you, amazing really!

KJ – Yes. Thanks

©iancorless.comIMG_2670Canazei2014_kilian

IC – Trofeo Kima is just around the corner. It’s arguably one of ‘the’ key Skyraces. Do you have any plans or intentions for Kima?

KJ – It’s difficult to discuss plans. So many variables come into play. For example, I may do some mountaineering this week, which may mean I am tired. I have The Rut and Limone Extreme too this year. After a summer of rain when the sun comes out the snow tempts me, so, I can’t resist despite what races are on my calendar.

IC – I have to say, I was watching your posts about your runs this last week. Dakota and yourself doing big days in the mountains that have lasted 7-hours. With UTMB around the corner, didn’t Dakota make that mistake before?

(Laughter)

KJ – I have often done Mont-Blanc just days before UTMB. It has altitude, great training and it doesn’t take too much energy. Dakota is strong and talented. We did this with 10-days before UTMB. He will be fine. I sometimes think he thinks too much. He needs to just run… it will be interesting to see Tony, Iker, Tofol and all the rest. I think Iker will be good. Luis Alberto he will start strong but can he maintain it? Luis has one pace, hard! Maybe he will start slower. UTMB this year will be a great race.

IC – You have Aconcagua (Summits of my Life) left for this year, December yes?

KJ – Yes, I will start in November to do ski training and then I will go back to running for Aconcagua. I’m excited as it has a high summit of 7000m. It’s not technical but it’s a tough record.

IC – And the record?

KJ – I think there are a couple of records but I don’t know the times. (In 2000 Bruno Brunod, Pelissier and Meraldi climbed from Plaza de Mulas in 3-hours 40-minutes. Carlos Sa did 15:42 from National Park Horcones.)

KJ – I will go from the entrance and I will try to achieve both records. Also, Emelie Forsberg will try a female record too.

IC – Wow, nice! I guess Aconcagua will be more like the Matterhorn?

KJ – No, it’s easier. It’s rocky but not steep. The altitude is the big issue. You can get sick and have problems so the challenge is different.

IC – It doesn’t have the danger of the Matterhorn. Ultimately, you have Everest as the last big objective. Have you thought about this yet?

KJ – It’s completely different, it’s very high, 9000m. It’s very long and this is the biggest problem. It’s to go all this way without oxygen and fast. The route is technical. I will start on the north face to prepare. It’s quiet so I will have no problems with people. I will need to prepare. I will go in spring, autumn and maybe the following spring. As per usual with all mountains, any attempt will be weather dependant. I expect to have several attempts.

IC – If you achieve Everest and complete the Summit series, where do you go next? Your list is ticked off, do you think you will comeback to some races you have done before or do you think you will create a new sport, a combination of all your skill levels?

Kilian Jornet-iancorless.com ©sebmontaz all rights reserved

Kilian Jornet-iancorless.com ©sebmontaz all rights reserved

KJ – I have lots of projects. Today I climbed the Matterhorn, I looked around and suddenly projects appear. I think maybe I can go from here to here or in skiing I go down a steep line. It doesn’t need to be the highest or the longest. Nice mountains with not many people. I like this sport because of the beauty. I like aesthetic projects more than numbers. I have so many options to choose from.

IC – Do you think racing will still appeal?

KJ – Yes, I love racing. I love the ambiance. I also like it as training. I push I give it everything and you can’t do this alone, it’s boring. I will race for sure in skiing and maybe run less.

IC – Today I spoke to Marco De Gasperi, I took him back to ‘91’ when he was 16 and the formative days of Skyrunning. His first race!

KJ – Yes, it was Monte Rosa.

IC – Yes, Monte Rosa and he also did the VK. He reminded me of 2007 when you were 20 and you turned up at a race and placed 6th. He said you looked at him as though he was a hero. He now looks at you as the hero.

KJ – No, Marco is the hero.

--©copyright .iancorless.com.P1140350_kilian

IC – 20+ years of Skyrunning. In the last 3-years Skyrunning has become bigger than ever and it continues to grow. Would you like to see the sport progress in anyway?

KJ – Every person is a carabiner. We all pass on and provide energy and it grows. The sport keeps the values of the beginning. However, it’s not just about distance, elevation and athletics. It’s about mountains and alpinism. More people are interested in being in the mountains, it’s not just about technical terrain, and we must look at what is around us too. The sport will grow for sure. We are seeing VK’s grow and longer races. I think in central Europe it will stay as it is but it will develop in other countries, for example the US. It’s important to grow and keep quality; we must keep the spirit.

IC – In ‘89’ when Marino Giacometti ran up Monte Rosa and came back down, it was pure mountain spirit. Up and down as fast as possible. I feel that Skyrunning is starting to go back to where it was 20-years ago. Maybe because we look at sport differently; but also you are providing a great influence. Do you think there is room for another sport outside of VK, Sky and Ultra within Skyrunning, maybe an extreme event?

KJ – Yes. I think an extreme sport would be a great idea. It has been done before as you say. It’s really important though to understand that this is mountaineering fast and not running.

IC – Alpinism without the clutter?

KJ – Yes, it’s not about being strong or fast it’s about how you climb! You need confidence and you need self-awareness. It’s another level. It will come as the sport grows but it is not for all. It’s not about kilometres it’s about mountain experience.

--©copyright .iancorless.com.iancorless.orgP1050990trofeokima_kilian

IC – Kilian, once again thank you so much for your time and the inspiration.

KJ – Thank you for everything.

*****

Article ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Please credit as and when appropriate when sharing

Thanks

I would like to thank Kilian Jornet for his time and generosity.

Marino Giacometti and Lauri Van Houten from the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation)

Salomon Running

Seb Montaz

Jordi Saragossa

And all the wonderful races throughout the world that provides us all the opportunity to live our dreams.

Episode 65 – Krupicka, Birkinshaw, Owens, Forsberg

Ep65

This is episode 65 of Talk Ultra and on this weeks show we speak with Anton Krupicka about injury, Hardrock 100, Lavaredo Ultra Trail, future plans and the Bob Graham Round. Steve Birkinshaw recently set a new FKT for the Wainwrights. An epic journey in the Lakeland fells, Steve tells us all about it. Brit Tom Owens made the podium in the Skyrunning World Champs and we chat about the past 18-months and the future. Emelie talks smilesandmiles, a website, news, up and coming races.

NEWS
 
Western States – HERE
 
  1. Rob Krar 14:53:24 2nd fastest WSER Olson has record of 14:46:44 (2012)
  2. Seth Swanson 15:19
  3. Dylan Bowman 15:36:41
  1. Steph Howe 18:01:42
  2. Larissa Dannis 18:29:18
  3. Natahlie Mauclair 18:43:57
Skyrunning World championships ULTRA – HERE
 
  1. Luis Alberto Hernando 10:52:52
  2. Francois d’Haene 10:29:33
  3. Ben Duffus 10:52:33
  1. Emelie Forsberg 12:38:49
  2. Anna Frost 12:46:52
  3. Magadelena Laczak 12:58:51
Skyrunning World Championships SKY – HERE
 
  1. Kilian Jornet 3:23:39
  2. Michel Lanne 3:25:50
  3. Tom Owens 3:26:20
  1. Elisa Desco 3:53:33
  2. Megan Kimmel 3:54:51
  3. Stevie Kremer 3:55:36
INTERVIEW with Men’s 3rd place TOM OWENS
 
Skyrunning World Championships VK – HERE
 
  1. Kilian Jornewt 34:18
  2. Bernanrd Dematteis 34:36
  3. Urban Zemmer 34:37
  1. Laura Orgue 41:29
  2. Stevie Kremer 41:37
  3. Christel Dewalle 41:50
Lavaredo Ultra Trail – HERE
  1. Anton Krupicka 12:42:31
  2. Mike Foote 12:57:38
  3. Gediminas Grinius 13:01:22
  1. Rory Bosio 14:29:54
  2. Francesca Canepa 14:45:55
  3. Katia Fori 15:57:27
La Montagn’ Hard 60k (three races 104km, 60km and 38k)
 
  1. Nicolas Mordelet 8:21:31
  2. Baptiste Robin 8:35:31
  3. Matthieu Bourguignon 8:40:53
  1. Holly Rush 9:03:43 (8th overall)
  2. Emelie Duhamel 11:01:42
  3. Delphine Biollaz 11:13:20
10 Peaks
 
  1. Nicky Spinks 18:26:43
  2. Paul Nelson 20:15:20
  3. Ben Thompson 20:15:28
2nd lady was Annie Garcia… 10-hours after Nicky!
 
Skyrunning UK V3K
 
  1. Michael Clifford 8:19:30
  2. Jayson Cavill 8:39:00
  3. Chris Baynham-Hughes 9:11:00
  1. Liz Barker 10:29:48
  2. Claire Maxted 12:36:01
  3. Sasha Habgood 12:49:23
Next UK Skyrunning race is the Peaks Skyrace on August 3rd
This coming weekend, actually as this show is released… Hardrock 100 will take place. Arguably one of the most anticipated races of 2014. Can Kilian win and can he set a course record? HERE
In Val d’Isere the Skyrunner(R) World Series continues with a VK (HERE) on Friday and the brilliant Ice Trail Tarentaise (HERE) on Sunday.
Just one week later, we continue with the Dolomites and a VK and SKY race in Canazei
 
Contribute to Talk Ultra – HERE
BLOG
 
Holly Rush has joined the real world and started a blog with her recent race win – HERE Luis Alberto Hernando has an updated website that is definitely worth a look – HERE
INTERVIEW
STEVE BIRKINSHAW recently broke a Joss Naylor record for the Wainwrights – an epic journey of 511km’s and 214 summits. I caught up with Steve just days after his journey to hear all about the experience
SMILES and MILES with EMELIE FORSBERG
 
INTERVIEW
 
ANTON KRUPICKA is back! In this in-depth interview we talk Hardrock, injury, Lavaredo, future plans and the Bob Graham Round
 
UP & COMING RACES
 

Andorra

Ronda dels Cims | 170 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

Ultra iniciàtic | 103 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

Ultra mític | 112 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

Australia

Queensland

3 Marathons in 3 Days | 126 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge | 96 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Victoria

You Yangs 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 20, 2014 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

ASICS Xtrails – Red Bull Trail Sprinter Houffalize – 110 km | 110 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

ASICS Xtrails – Red Bull Trail Sprinter Houffalize – 77 km | 77 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

Trail de Lesse 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 20, 2014 | website

Canada

British Columbia

TrailStoke Ultra | 60 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Ontario

The North Face Endurance Challenge Ontario 50 Km | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Ontario 50 Mile | 50 miles | July 12, 2014 | website

Finland

Lapland

NUTS Midnight Sun Trail Ultra 125 km | 125 kilometers | July 25, 2014 | website

France

Aveyron

Tripou-Trail – 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Corrèze

L’EDFi du Lac | 100 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Le Tour du Cardant | 65 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Finistère

100 km de Cléder | 100 kilometers | July 13, 2014 | website

Gard

Grand trail Stevenson 151 km | 151 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Grand trail Stevenson 171 km | 171 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Grand trail Stevenson 225 km | 225 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Grand trail Stevenson 57 km | 57 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Haute-Corse

Restonica Trail – 68 km | 68 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail di Corsica | 105 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

Haute-Garonne

Aneto 3404 | 60 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Haute-Loire

La Loire Integrale | 1025 kilometers | July 16, 2014 | website

Haute-Savoie

Inter Lac Trail – L’intégrale | 77 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Haut-Rhin

Trail du Pays Welche | 50 kilometers | July 13, 2014 | website

Isère

Maratrail des Passerelles du Monteynard | 55 kilometers | July 20, 2014 | website

Jura

Un Tour en Terre du Jura – Jour 1 | 55 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Un Tour en Terre du Jura – Jour 2 | 55 kilometers | July 13, 2014 | website

Un Tour en Terre du Jura – L’intégrale | 110 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Lozère

Grand trail Stevenson 70 km | 70 kilometers | July 13, 2014 | website

Grand trail Stevenson 90 km | 90 kilometers | July 13, 2014 | website

Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Grand trail de la Vallée d’Ossau | 73 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Savoie

Ice Trail Tarentaise Val d’Isère | 65 kilometers | July 13, 2014 | website

la 6D Treck | 100 kilometers | July 23, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail du Beaufortain | 103 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Juli | 108 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Rhineland-Palatinate

Bärenfels Ultra Trail | 64 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Guadeloupe

Rèd Mammel | 50 kilometers | July 25, 2014 | website

Ultra Transkarukera | 120 kilometers | July 25, 2014 | website

Iceland

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon | 55 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

India

The SPITI | 126 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

ZENchallenge Ladakh – 100K | 100 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Ireland

Leinster

Stonemad Multi Stage Marathon – Day 1 Ultra Marathon | 62 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Stonemad Multi Stage Marathon – Day 2 Ultra Marathon | 55 kilometers | July 13, 2014 | website

Munster

Keith Whyte Waterfront Ultra Marathon | 36 miles | July 19, 2014 | website

Italy

Lombardy

Marathon Trail Lago di Como – Classico | 115 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Marathon Trail Lago di Como – Medio | 64 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Piedmont

Tre Rifugi Val Pellice Trail | 54 kilometers | July 13, 2014 | website

Veneto

Asolo 100 km | 100 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Asolo 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Mauritius

Xtreme Dodo Trail | 50 kilometers | July 13, 2014 | website

Mongolia

Mongolia Action Asia 3 day ultra 100km | 100 kilometers | July 18, 2014 | website

Mongolia Action Asia 3 day ultra marathons 60k | 60 kilometers | July 18, 2014 | website

Namibia

Namib Desert Challenge | 220 kilometers | July 21, 2014 | website

Windhoek Lager Fish River Canyon Ultra – 65 km | 65 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Windhoek Lager Fish River Canyon Ultra – 96 km | 96 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Slovakia

Nízkotatranská stíhačka | 100 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

South Africa

Griffin 50 Mile | 50 miles | July 12, 2014 | website

Rhodes Trail Run | 52 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Washie 100 | 100 miles | July 11, 2014 | website

Spain

Basque Country

Ehunmilak | 168 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

G2handiak | 88 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

Castile and León

Tilenus Xtreme Ultra Trail 105 KM | 105 kilometers | July 25, 2014 | website

Tilenus Xtreme Ultra Trail 60 KM | 60 kilometers | July 25, 2014 | website

Sweden

GAX 100 miles | 100 miles | July 12, 2014 | website

Switzerland

Berne

Eiger Ultra Trail E101 | 101 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Eiger Ultra Trail E51 | 51 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Valais

Trail Verbier St-Bernard – 110 km “La boucle” | 110 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Trail Verbier St-Bernard – 61 km “La traversée” | 61 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Turkey

RunFire Cappadocia Ultra Marathon | 220 kilometers | July 18, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Buckinghamshire

Chiltern Ultra Challenge “Intro” 50km Ultra | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

East Riding of Yorkshire

The Montane Lakeland 100 | 100 miles | July 25, 2014 | website

Essex

Saffron Trail Ultra | 70 miles | July 12, 2014 | website

Hertfordshire

Fairlands Valley Challenge – 50km | 50 kilometers | July 20, 2014 | website

North Yorkshire

Lyke Wake Race | 42 miles | July 12, 2014 | website

Oxfordshire

Race to the Stones | 100 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

USA

Arkansas

Midnight 50K | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

California

Angeles Forest 50K | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Badwater Ultramarathon | 135 miles | July 21, 2014 | website

CTR Lake Chabot Train Run 50 km (Jul) | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Cuyamaca 3 Peaks 50K | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Golden Gate Trail Run 50 km (summer) | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Pacifica 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Ragnar Trail Tahoe | 136 miles | July 11, 2014 | website

Colorado

Crawford 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | July 19, 2014 | website

Hardrock 100 Endurance Run | 100 miles | July 11, 2014 | website

Leadville Silver Rush 50 | 50 miles | July 13, 2014 | website

Idaho

Beaverhead 100K Endurance Run | 100 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Beaverhead 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

McCall Trailrunning 40 Mile Classic | 40 miles | July 12, 2014 | website

Kansas

Honey Badger 100 Mile Ultra Road Race | 100 miles | July 12, 2014 | website

Psycho Psummer 50K | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Montana

Devil’s Backbone 50 Miles | 50 miles | July 19, 2014 | website

Thunderbolt Creek 50 Km | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Nevada

Tahoe Rim Trail 100M | 100 miles | July 19, 2014 | website

Tahoe Rim Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Tahoe Rim Trail 50M | 50 miles | July 19, 2014 | website

Oregon

Mt Hood Pacific Crest Trail Ultramarathon | 50 miles | July 12, 2014 | website

South Carolina

Cremator 50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | July 19, 2014 | website

Tennessee

Bullet Creek 50K | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Bullet Creek 50 Mile | 50 miles | July 12, 2014 | website

Texas

El Scorcho | 50 kilometers | July 13, 2014 | website

Muleshoe Bend – 60k | 60 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Utah

Skyline Mountain 50 Trail Run | 50 miles | July 12, 2014 | website

Speed Goat 50K Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Vermont

Vermont 100k Endurance Race | 100 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Race | 100 miles | July 19, 2014 | website

Washington

Grey Rock 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage | 190 miles | July 18, 2014 | website

Wild Woman Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

Wisconsin

DWD Devil’s Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2014 | website

DWD Devil’s Lake 50M | 50 miles | July 12, 2014 | website

Junkyard Dog 50K | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2014 | website

 
 
CLOSE
Show links:

ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/talk-ultra/id497318073

Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

RUNNER by Lizzy Hawker

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

The Aurum Publishing Group are delighted to announce the acquisition of RUNNER by Lizzy Hawker, one of the world’s best endurance athletes.

Lizzy Hawker is one of the greatest ultra-distance runners this country has ever produced. She is the first woman to finish on the overall podium of the Spartathlon, one of the world toughest footraces, and has won the legendary The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc five times in its ten year history, the only person, man or woman, to achieve this. She came to the sport almost by accident – she had run a marathon or two, but tried her first ultra, a 40 mile track race, when invited to stay with friends in Wales. One month later she was representing England. Within eighteen months she was the women’s world champion for 100km. Not bad for someone who started life in Upminster, has no coach, no gym, no physio and was finishing her PhD.

Runner is the story of her journey and will get inside the head of the physical, mental and emotional challenges that runners go through at the edge of human endurance, in much the same way as Aurum’s classic running story Feet in the Clouds by Richard Askwith did nearly ten years ago. Her story, as a self- taught champion, will be an inspiration for anyone who has dreamt of lacing up a pair of trainers and wondering how far they could run.

Robin Harvie, Aurum Press Senior Commissioning Editor says: ‘Lizzy Hawker is something of a heroine of mine. Not only did she destroy all her rivals in the searing heat of the Spartathlon, but she is modest, self- deprecating and hugely inspirational. I am extremely proud to be publishing her on the Aurum list.’

In Lizzy’s words, ‘It’s not about the records. It’s not about the medals. It’s not about winning the race or making the podium. It’s about the fears and the tears, the laughs and the smiles. It’s about the shared experiences and raw emotions. Find your challenge, reach for your dream. Do what you do for the love of it, because more is then possible than you might imagine’. 

The book is expected to be released in April 2015. Lizzy has posted on her website:

I am very happy to be working with Aurum Press towards publication of Runner planned for April 2015.

Have you ever been curious to know how someone can run a long way, or what goes on in their mind and emotions when they do? This is my story of competing in a 100 mile mountain race, the 2005 edition of The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, my first mountain race. The story is told from the perspective of the runner in a one-way ‘thought’ conversation. The narrative explores from the physical impact of an ultra to the emotional and mental challenges. Through and beyond this story it also looks at the wider questions that we face during an ultra and during life. The reader is challenged to be bold, to dream and to realise that there is no destination, only the journey.

Press Release by Aurum Publishing Group

Skyrunning World Championships – VK Images

©iancorless.com_©iancorless.com-2263MontBlancVK_2014

 

Starting at 1600 in the centre of Chamonix, runners from all over the world started  tackle 3.8km and 1000m’s of vertical gain with one objective; to be the fastest possible!

A route of pure ‘mountain’ spirit, that takes a straight and direct line from the center of Chamonix to the finish at Planpraz. The VK is a pure test of strength. Similar to a prologue in the Tour de France, runner’s start at timed 30-second intervals, the fastest to the summit is the winner!

The opening sections comprise of runnable trail, however, the last section becomes more technical with rocks and this requires more commitment with notably a few aerial passages equipped with cables and ladders.

Kilian Jornet and Laura Orgue were crowned respective world champions amongst highly competitive fields.

  1. Kilian Jornet 34:18
  2. Bernard Dematteis 34:36
  3. Urban Zemmer 34:47
  1. Laura Orgue 41:29 new CR
  2. Stevie Kremer 41:37
  3. Christel Dewalle 41:50

Full results available HERE

 

Skyrunning World Championships 2014 – Marathon Race Summary

©iancorless.com_©iancorless.com-2975MontBlancVK_2014Torrential rain and potentially severe weather conditions resulted in a course change for the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships SKY event. Over 2000 runners would toe the line for the event and with potential negative temperatures predicted a slight course change was made to avoid the highest section of the course at Aiguille des Posettes.

Departing the center of Chamonix in torrential rain, Kilian Jornet, Michel Lanne, Zaid Aid Malek, Tom Owens and Aritz Egea lead the way setting a relentless pace that would stretch the elastic and form an aggressive front group.

©iancorless.com_©iancorless.com-2561MontBlancVK_2014In the wet and cold conditions, Kilian Jornet was always going to be the favourite, however, Salomon teammate Michel Lanne pushed the Catalan all the way. It was only on the final ascent to La Flégère that Kilian finally opened up the gap that he would hold all the way to the line. To commemorate becoming Skyrunning World Champion, Kilian ran the final meters with his hero and Skyrunning legend, Bruno Brunod.

©iancorless.com_©iancorless.com-2810MontBlancVK_2014

Michel Lanne secured a great 2nd place but a battle royal followed for 3rd place. Sierre-Zinal champion (2103) Marc Lauerstein came from behind at La Flégère caught Zaid Ait Malek and Tom Owens and pushed hard for the line but Owens didn’t give in easily, he dug deep and found something within to take the coveted final podium place.

©iancorless.com_©iancorless.com-2693MontBlancVK_2014

Azara Garcia lead the ladies race over the early sections of the race closely followed by the key favourites; Elisa Desco, Megan Kimmel, Stevie Kremer and Kasie Enman.

©iancorless.com_©iancorless.com-2644MontBlancVK_2014

In the cold and wet conditions, Elisa made a move during the middle section of the race and took a firm hold of the race lead and pushed ahead for an incredible victory against tough competition.

©iancorless.com_©iancorless.com-3368MontBlancVK_2014

Megan Kimmel and Stevie Kremer traded blows over the final section and with Kasie Enman struggling with stomach issues, the final podium places would come down the two Americans trading blows on the final descent to Chamonix.

Megan opened the gap and 2013 Mont-Blanc Marathon champion, Stevie Kremer couldn’t respond. On the line, Stevie said, “I had a great race last year and I guess this year I wasn’t quite as good. But the competition was fierce and ultimately, I was beaten on the day by two better runners.’

©iancorless.com_©iancorless.com-3486MontBlancVK_2014

The Mont-Blanc Marathon concluded the events for the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships and despite the wet and challenging conditions for the final race, the unanimous feedback has been incredibly positive. Chamonix as one would expect has been buzzing with runners and supporters from all over the world, it confirms the growth of Skyrunning and its global appeal.

Official results

Men

1 – Kilian Jornet  (ESP) en 03:23:39

2 – Michel Lanne (FR) en 03:25:50

3 – Thomas Owens (UK) en 03:26:20

Women

1 – Elisa Desco (ITA)en 03:53:33

2 – Megan Kimmel (USA) en 03:54:51

3 – Stevie Kremer (USA) en 03:55:36

Stats : 2291 competitors 372 women

More than luck takes Miya to the Skyrunning World Championships

Lucky at Ingeli

 

Lucky Miya is in France for the 2014 Skyrunning World Champs, which is hosted by the Marathon du Mont-Blanc. The only South African runner in the men’s race, Miya will compete in this 42-kilometre mountain run on Sunday, 29 June 2014, starting at 07h00. It just shows the global appeal of Skyrunning!

Miya hails from a road running background with an impressive 2:16:41 personal-best marathon time. His road running times remain impressive; in 2013 he ran a 1:09 half marathon.

“In 2009 I decided to try trail running as I enjoyed doing tough things, surviving tough battles makes me proud!” he says. And survive he has.

Miya made his foray into trail events with short-distance races and now favours those up to 40-odd kilometres. Although trail is his main focus, he does participate in road race in the colours of the Gallopers running club, which he started.

As his experience has grown, Miya has increased his trail race distances, competing in staged races too.  His trail prowess was clearly demonstrated in October last year when he posted a 4:29 time at the famed marathon-distance The Otter African Trail Run. This earned him a highly respectable fifth place in this fiercely competitive event.

Miya’s path to the Skyrunning World Champs was guaranteed when he won the inaugural Ingeli Skymarathon, which was held in Kokstad in April. He covered the 42-kilometre course distance in 3:37:19, five minutes ahead of his nearest rival. Miya is representing South Africa at these World Champs and is the only South African runner competing in the men’s race; Landie Greyling will run in the women’s race.

In preparation for this event Miya has put in tough hill sessions at this favourite training venue, the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve in the South of Johannesburg.

The Marathon du Mont-Blanc course profile shows a massive climb from 17 to 21 kilometres; those hill sessions are going to count when Miya hits that demanding ascent.

“Absolutely, this will be the toughest section of the course but I believe I’m naturally strong to survive it,” he says.

Having competed on the road racing scene, Miya has experience, a strong head and enough cool to keep his composure under pressure. Surrounded by the best-of-the-best in trail running, he is sure to be tested.

“My road speed and racing experience will definitely help me to deal with the pressure and competition but I will still need huge strength, power and a good race plan. My aim for the race is to be safe and enjoy the run. To finish in the Top 15 or Top 10 will be a bonus!”

Conditions for the race (in Chamonix) are expected to be cloudy and cool with a low of 8°C and high of 21°C. There is a chance of storms. In the mountains… well, it is anyone’s guess as conditions can change in a heartbeat.

“We are so excited for Lucky,” says K-Way brand manager Nick Bennett. ‘We’ve kept an eye on him for a while and were delighted to have him join our K-Way athlete family earlier this year. Lucky is a talented runner and his transition from road to competitive distance trail running has been effortless. He is light, quick and agile. We’re only seeing the start of what he is capable of and we’re delighted to see him competing abroad for the first time in such a prestigious event.’

There’s no shortage of exceptional runners preparing to race. Miya will be in the mix with eight previous Skyrunner World Champions. The event has attracted athletes from 65 countries.

“I’m so excited and I can’t wait to be there!” he says a day before his departure for France.

“It has been a dream to compete abroad and this is an incredible opportunity. It will be an amazing experience.”

The Marathon du Mont-Blanc starts at 07h00 on Sunday, 29 June 2014. The race starts from the town of Chamonix in France. The men’s race record of 3:30:41 is held by Kilian Jornet.

Skyrunning HERE

In-depth race preview HERE

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Skyrunning World Championships 2014 – In-Depth Preview

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Worlds collide in the endurance capital of the world this week when 28-nations congregate for the 2014 Skyrunning World championships.

*Please note, this preview will be updated with many potential changes within the coming days as we are made aware of any withdrawals.

The best-of-the-best will assemble to do battle over the classic Skyrunning distances of VK, SKY and ULTRA in the amazing endurance arena that is Chamonix. 

3400 athletes representing 28-nations will toe 3-separate start lines over an incredible weekend of racing starting on June-27th at 0400 with the 80km ULTRA event. The same day at 1600-hours the 4th edition of the Vertical Kilometer will start from the center of Chamonix. At 0700-hours on Sunday 29th, the 12th Mont-Blanc SKY Marathon will take place.

An epic weekend of racing!

The depth of talent travelling from all around the world is quite mind blowing and thus, making a prediction from such high quality fields is an endurance task in its own right. So, I have provided a list, ‘Ones to watch’ and for each race I have made my predictions that we can expect to don the podium for the ladies and the men. It’s no easy task…

No less than eight Skyrunner® World Series Champions will be present.

Some numbers for the record: 

  • 8 Skyrunner® World Series Champions
  • 28 national teams
  • 38 countries participating  
  • 46 top 20 ranked athletes 
  • 3,400 participants in the thee disciplines
  • 25,000 euros cash prizes

Individual world titles are at stake in each discipline as well as a combined title, based on the best results of two out of three races. Countries will be ranked according to the best results of three men and one woman in all three disciplines.

€ 25,000 cash prizes will be awarded and anti-doping controls will be carried out.

******

Chamonix VK The 4th annual Vertical Kilometer

Race start 16:00 Friday June 27th 

A route of pure ‘mountain’ spirit, that takes a straight and direct line from the center of Chamonix to the finish at Planpraz. Climbing 1000 vertical meters in 3.8km it’s a pure test of strength. Similar to a prologue in the Tour de France, runner’s start at timed 30-second intervals, the fastest to the summit is the winner!

The opening sections comprise of runnable trail, however, the last section is comprised of rocks and requires more commitment with notably a few aerial passages equipped with cables and ladders.

Records:

  • Kilian Jornet – 34:07
  • Christel Dewalle – 41:33

MEN

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The Dematteis brothers will without doubt be serious contenders after strong performances at the VK at Transvulcania La Palma. Like the Super Mario Brothers, these guys bring excitement and drama to any race.

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Saul Antonio Padua last years winner will have competition this year, however, his performance in the VK last year was world class. What do you think, another win?

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Kilian Jornet fresh from another Summit of my Life record may well not have much running in his legs but it has never slowed him before and why would it slow him this time?

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Eirik Haugsness placed 3rd last year and very much feels comfortable with the effort level required for a quality performance over the VK distance. He prefers a course that allows him to run and Chamonix provides exactly such a course, at least over the first 700-meters.

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Urban Zemmer is a class act on any VK and a specialist at the discipline. However, the Chamonix VK does not really suit his style. He will be in the mix but not on top of the podium. Zemmer was Skyrunner ® World Series Champion in 2013 and despite my thoughts, would almost certainly like the World title too! He placed 5th last year.

Alexis Sevennec placed 4th last year and comes from a ski mountaineer background, as so many VK specialists do. I don’t see him making the podium but he will be close, very close!

Finally, Marco Facchinelli placed 2nd in the Skyrunner® World Series in 2013 and like Zemmer will be looking to stamp his authority on the VK.

Ones to watch:

  • Kilian Jornet (Esp)
  • Saul Antonio Padua (Col)
  • Oscar Casal Mir (And)
  • Marc Casal Mir (And)
  • Aritz Egea (Esp)
  • Martin Gaffuri (Fra)
  • Alexis Sevennec (Fra)
  • Greg Vollet (Fra)
  • Didier Zago (Fra)
  • Tom Owens (Gbr)
  • Bernard Dematteis (Ita)
  • Martin Dermatteis (Ita)
  • Marco Facchinelli (Ita)
  • Urban Zemmer (Ita)
  • Dai Matsumoto (Jap)
  • Eirik Haugsness (Nor)
  • Thorbjorn Ludvigsen (Nor)
  • Jono Wyatt (Nzl)
  • Joakim Lanz (Swe)
  • Alex Nichols (Usa)
  • Marco Moletto (Ita)

LADIES

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Christel Dewalle set a course record on the VK in 2013 and will be looking for a repeat performance. Her strength and endurance was confirmed in 2013 with a top-quality 2nd place at Ice Trail Tarentaise.

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Laure Orgue Skyrunner® World Series Champion in 2013 is a VK specialist and as shown on many occasions previously will be looking to push as hard as possible for victory in Chamonix.

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Antonella Confortola on her day is one of the best VK specialists on the circuit, particularly when using poles. The Chamonix VK may be too runnable for Antonella but she will without doubt be up at the front as she was in 2013 when she placed 3rd.

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Stevie Kremer like Emelie is not a VK specialist but her mountain ability is quite incredible. How will she perform on the VK, well, it’s a question mark? After a stunning run at Zegama-Aizkorri one can assume that Stevie will be in the mix.

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Kasie Enman flew up the early climbs at Zegama-Aizkorri and led the race early on before Stevie Kremer reeled her in and took the lead. Because the VK is a flat out effort, I can’t help but think we will see Kasie create some fireworks.

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Finally, Brit, Tessa Hill has honed and fine-tuned her VK skills in recent years and without doubt, the Chamonix course suits her running VK style. Tessa was 3rd in the 2013 Skyrunner® World Series and placed on 5th at the 2013 Chamonix VK.

 Ones to watch:

  • Laura Orgue (Esp)
  • Christel Dewalle (Fra)
  • Stephanie Jiminez (Fra)
  • Janine Frost (Gbr)
  • Tessa Hill (Gbr)
  • Antonella Confortola (Ita)
  • Anna Eriksmo (Swe))
  • Landie Grayling (Sa)
  • Kasie Enman (Usa)
  • Stevie Kremer (Usa)
  • Axelle Mollaret (Fra)

  

The 12th annual Mont-Blanc SKY Marathon.

Race start 07:00 Sunday June 29th 

This year yet again athletes from 65 countries will compete in an exceptional and very technical course.

After starting from the center of Chamonix (1035m) it is a climb up the Arve valley by passing through the hamlet of Lavancher before reaching Argentiere (1250m).

In direction of Le Planet the course rejoins the Balcon Nord trail before re-descending in the direction of Montroc. Tré le Champ then it is the Col des Montets (1461m) at the heart of the Aigulles Rouges nature reserve.

By the Diligences route the runners cross the hamlet of Buet before rejoining Vallorcine (1260m) nestled at the end f the valley on the Swiss border. The climb begins toward the Aiguillette des Posettes (2200m). Efforts are rewarded by a sumptuous panorama of the Mont-Blanc range and the Chamonix valley. Facing the Aiguille du Tour and its glacier the trail descends by following the Crete des Fretes.

After several technical passages to the village of Le Tour (1453m) it is a return to tranquility on the path that longs the Bisme stream and then to Montroc (1382m). The runners cross through the hamlet of Frasserands and Tré le Champs before rejoining the historic trail of the Mont-Blanc Cross, at the heart of the Aiguilles Rouges facing the entire massif. The path rises up to La Flegere (1875m). After traversing the beautiful Charlanon combe (1812m) there is a soft little climb inviting everyone to take in the scenery.

Then the slopes intensify before the finish at Planpraz (2050m) the intermediary station of the Brevent that offers one of the most spectacular views of the Mont-Blanc. Race description ©Club Des Sports De Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Records:

  • Kilian Jornet – 3:30:41
  • Stevie Kremer – 4:03:16

 

MEN

Check the list out below… what a line-up. Last year we had a battle royal with Kilian Jornet, Marco De Gasperi and Luis Alberto Hernando. Only Kilian returns! Marco De Gasperi is not available to race and Luis has moved up to the Ultra distance. So, what is going to happen?

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No surprise, Kilian Jornet is odds on favourite. He won last year and why wouldn’t he this year? He certainly has less running in his legs than any other year but he lives and breathes the mountains and his need to run in preparation for a running race is somewhat distorted in the way the rest of us function.

My dark horse and potential apple cart shaker is Vlad Ixel. He is not a name many European runners will know but after some quality runs in the Southern Hemisphere, I firmly believe that Vlad will be the surprise of the whole 2014 Skyrunning World championships.

Michel Lanne

Michel Lanne

Michel Lanne was the joint winner of the 80km event with Francois d’Haene in 2013 and knows the mountains and terrain like the back of his hand. A recent quality performance at Zegama-Aizkorri confirms good form.

I’m pretty excited from a British perspective! We have a return to top flight racing for *Andy Symonds after a horrendous 2013 due to injury. Tom Owens pushed Kilian in 2012 and like Andy Symonds had a 2013 to forget. Oli Johnson placed 10th last year in Chamonix and Martin Cox seals the quartet of top UK talent. *injured

Zaid Ait Malek

Zaid Ait Malek

Zaid Ait Malek will smile is whole way around the marathon route and will potentially take (or just miss) the podium. He is an incredible mountain running talent.

Jono Wyatt – do I need to say anymore? He’s a mountain running legend. Jono has been there and done that for decades. You can NEVER rule him out as way saw at Sierre-Zinal last year.

Alex Nichols

Alex Nichols

USA has fast men *Alex Nichols (7th in 2013) If Alex is in great shape, it would be feasible for him to place in the top-10. However, this is a top quality field and the pressure will be on.  *injured

Didier Zago placed 6th last year but I believe he is taking a more casual approach to running these days. So my final shouts will go to Eirik Haugsness (5th last year) and up and coming star, Thorbjorn Ludvigsen.

Ones to watch:

  • Oscar Casal Mir (And)
  • Marc Casal Mir (And)
  • Vlad Ixel (Aus)
  • Miguel Caballero (Esp)
  • Aritz Egea (Esp)
  • Zigor Iturrieta Ruiz (Esp)
  • Kilian Jornet (Esp)
  • Jokin Lizeaga (Esp)
  • Augusti Roc (Esp)
  • Nicolas Bouvier (Fra)
  • Thibaut Baronian (Fra)
  • Martin Gaffuri (Fra)
  • Michel Lanne (Fra)
  • Didier Zago (Fra)
  • Martin Cox (Gbr)
  • Oli Johnson (Gbr)
  • Tom Owens (Gbr)
  • Andy Symonds (Gbr)
  • Florian Reichert (Ger)
  • Fabio Bazzana (Ita)
  • Dai Matsumoto (Jap)
  • Toru Myahara (Jap)
  • Zaid Ait Malek (Mor)
  • German Silva (Mex)
  • Tineke Van Den Berg (Ned)
  • Eirik Haugsness (Nor)
  • Thorbjorn Ludvigsen (Nor)
  • Jono Wyatt (Nzl)
  • Marcin Swierc (Pol)
  • Andre Castro (Pol)
  • Lucky Miya (Sa)
  • Marc Lauenstein (Sui)
  • Alex Nichols (Usa)

LADIES

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Stevie Kremer won the race last year with a new course record and one has to tip her as the hot favourite, particularly after her strong and dominant performance at Zegama-Aizkorri.

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Maite Mairoa is on a roll at the moment after a stunning Transvulcania and Zegama-Aizkorri performance. Maite has always been a dominant force in mountain running but this last 12-months has seen a change. She is a different runner and one that can push the best-of-the-best.

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Elisa Desco won Sierre-Zinal ahead of Stevie Kremer in 2013 and then placed behind Stevie at Zegama. This can only mean that we are in for a high quality battle in the Chamonix arena.

Kasie Enman looked like she was going to throw race predictions out of the window at Zegama-Aizkorri but faltered in the latter stages when fatigue hit. Long haul travel or mother duties could be to blame but one thing is for sure, several weeks on I think we will see a much stronger and more dominant runner who will mix things up in Chamonix.

Final shout goes to Jo Meek from the UK who will be tipping her toe in the Skyrunning world. Jo was unknown last year bur 2nd place lady at Marathon des Sables, winning The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, a win at the Iznik Ultra and CR and most recently 5th placed lady at the iconic Comrades Marathon shows that Jo has all the speed required to do well! The biggest test for Jo will be the long climbs and technical running. I’m going to be seriously interested to see how this race goes.

 Ones to watch:

  • Jo Brishetto (Aus)
  • Nuria Dominguez (Esp)
  • Maite Maiora (Esp)
  • Aline Camboulive (Fra)
  • Juliette Benedicto (Fra)
  • Stephanie Jiminez (Fra)
  • Jo Meek (Gbr)
  • Antonella Confortola (Ita)
  • Elisa Desco (Ita)
  • Silvia Serafini (Ita)
  • Sharon Broadwell (Nor)
  • Landie Grayling (Sa)
  • Zhana Vokueva (Rus)
  • Kasie Enman (Usa)
  • Stevie Kremer (Usa)

 

The Mont-Blanc ULTRA 80km

Race start 04:00 Friday 27th

In 2013 the first edition left it’s mark in everyone’s minds. The technicality, beautiful scenery and paths delighted all runners. For the first runner and the last runner, the challenge was the same! Among fatigue, visions of gorgeous mountains, capricious weather, heat and snow, all the necessary ingredients for an extraordinary event beyond the norm came together for the birth of a legend…

After an early start (4:00am) from the center of Chamonix Mont-Blanc the runners will rise directly up to the Bellachat Hut (2246m) from where they will see the first rays of sunlight shining on the summit of the Mont-Blanc. After a short rest they will leave Brevent (2525m) to descent to Planpraz (1st refreshment post). At the heart of the Aiguilles rouges, a trail will take them to the Flegere and then to the chalet des Cheseryus before descending to the Col des Montets via la Tete au Vent.

The hamlet of the Buet (1330m) will mark the beginning of a long technical loop starting with the Tré les Eaux valley, then a demanding ascent up to the Col du Corbeau (2602m). Most likely with some snow still on the ground runners will enter into Swiss territory and head up the

Col de la Terrasse (2643m). In this mineral world the descent to the Emosson dam will require keen attentiveness on the final snowfields. Very soon the pastures of the Loriaz will allow the muscles to relax after over 50km of effort. But the rest period will be short-lived because once Vallorcine is crossed (1260m) the ascent of the aiguillette des Posettes will burn the calves and pump the cardio!

Facing the Mont-Blanc the descent along a ridge will require utmost caution to get through the numerous steps and reach the village of Le Tour and then Argentiere (1260m). Runners will then re-descend along the Balcon Nord in the direction of Chamonix and take the Marathon race route in reverse.

The final difficulty will be the climb up to Signal (2200m), running next to one of Chamonix’s most famous tourist sites, the Mer de Glace. A last balcony at the foot of the Aiguilles des Grands Charmoz de Blaitiere and the Fou will take the runners to the Plan d’Aiguille (2200m), which overhangs the Arve valley. 1200m lower the finish line will honor the deserving finishers…. Race description ©Club Des Sports De Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Records 

  • Francois d’Haene and Michel Lanne – 9:45:57 (joint record 2013)
  • Caroline Cheverot 13:10:05

 

MEN 

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Luis Alberto Hernando dominated Transvulcania La Palma this year and has decided to move up from the SKY distance (placed 3rd last year) to the ULTRA distance at Mont-Blanc. On his day he is one of the best in the world and I am sure Luis will be using this race as an opportunity to understand the mountain ready for his first UTMB later in the year.

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Francois d’Haene won the race last year and after consummate performances at Raid de la Reunion and the recent UTMF, one has to say that he is odds on favourite here!

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UTMB 2013 winner Xavier Thevenard has the perfect combination of skills to excel and place on the podium. His recent performance at Transvulcania was disappointing but these things happen in racing… I think Xavier will be a podium contender. In addition, he has just had a warm up on the UTMB route with his Asics team trying to beat the sun!

Ricky Lightfoot’s presence in the race really does excite me and if he shows some of the quality and skill shown at races such as The Otter in South Africa, The World Trail Running Champs and the Three Peaks then we are in for some real excitement. 

Mike Wolfe makes the journey from the USA and loves mountains with technical trail. He has performed at the highest level at UTMB before and will be looking to transfer those experiences to the 80km course.

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter, Adam Campbell, Jason Schlarb, Matt Cooper, Pablo Villa and the list goes on! It’s going to be an epic race.

Ones to watch:

  • Xavier Teixido (And)
  • Matt Cooper (Aus)
  • Pieter Schaaps (Bel)
  • Chico Santos (Bra)
  • Jason Loutit (Can)
  • Jan Bartas (Cez)
  • Martin Saenz (Ecu)
  • Pao Bartolo (Esp)
  • Luis Alberto Hernando (Esp)
  • Pablo Villa ((Esp)
  • Sebastien Buffard (Fra)
  • Sylvain Couchaud (Fra)
  • Yann Curien (Fra)
  • Francois d’Haene (Fra)
  • Benoit Girondel (Fra)
  • David Pasquio (Fra)
  • Xavier Thevenard (Fra)
  • Ricky Lightfoot (Gbr)
  • Philipp Reiter (Ger)
  • Giuliano Cavallo (Ita)
  • Steffan Ruzza (Ita)
  • Yoshito Kondo (Ita)
  • Ronnie Duinkerken (Ned)
  • Phudorjee Lama Sherpa (Nep)
  • Leonardo Diogo (Pol)
  • Johan Lantz (Swe)
  • Jason Schlarb (Usa)
  • Mike Wolfe (Usa)

 

LADIES

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Anna Frost is back and in the space of just over a month has put some really tough times behind her, topped the podium with a new CR at the Transvulcania La Palma and has then followed this up with some quality training. Frosty appears to be in a great place both physically and mentally. Frosty is my hot tip but….

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Nuria Picas is in the race and Nuria has not stopped winning in 2014. She has become an unstoppable force in mountain running and ultra running. The only blip was a recent withdrawal from Zegama-Aizkorri but that shows us nothing. It was basically one race too many and Nuria had the sense to stop. Frosty and Nuria are great friends and it has been sometime since they shared trails together. Expect them to run next to each other for some time chatting and then a head-to-head battle in the latter stages.

Emelie Forsberg’s 2013 has already been extremely interesting, a bad fall wiped out her Transvulcania and this then impacted on Zegama-Aizkorri. Emelie is not used to finishing off the podium and I am 100% convinced we will see an inform and fired up Emelie in Chamonix. Plus she is going to be racing against Frosty and Nuria. Wow!

We will finally get to see Southern Hemisphere talent Ruby Muir trade blows and I for one am excited to see the outcome. Ruby shot to prominence from not only winning Tarawera in 2012, but also doing it in Vibram Five Fingers. I am unsure of the shoe choice for the 80km race, it’s irrelevant. I do know that we are in for a fast race and one that Ruby may well lead?

Fernanda

Fernanda Maciel has been trading blows with Nuria Picas on the UTWT circuit and has had a string of top-3 places to confirm that she will be in the mix in Chamonix. However, despite Fernanda’s obvious ability, I don’t think she will have the speed required for the top slot.

Finally, Brits Claire Price and Lizzie Wraith may well fly the flag for Blighty. Claire lives in Hong Kong and has been a consistent performer at the highest level. Lizzie by contrast is based in the UK and shot to prominence after winning and setting a new course record on the Lakeland 100 course.

Ones to watch:

  • Anna Frost (Nzl)
  • Ruby Muir (Nzl)
  • Fernanda Maciel (Bra)
  • Dong Li (Chn)
  • Anna Strakova (Cze)
  • Uxu Fraile (Esp)
  • Nuria Picas (Esp)
  • Lauren Gaussens (Fra)
  • Maud Gobert (Fra)
  • Claire Price (Gbr)
  • Lizzie Wraith (Gbr)
  • Alessandra Carlini (Ita)
  • Emelie Forsberg (Swe)

The 2014 Skyrunning World Championships will be an incredible showcase for running. Like you, I can’t wait for all the excitement to unfold.

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