Marmot 24 (2014) by Ourea Events – This weekend, 2nd/3rd August

©iancorless.com.IMG_5582GL3D_Day1Marmot24 is the UK’s first 24-hour mountain marathon. The event combines the very best of British mountain running and navigation into an exciting and challenging non-stop format.

Join us for a weekend of unforgettable adventure on the 2nd & 3rd August 2014.

Three options are available: 6, 12 or 24-hours. All the competitors finish at 12 noon Sunday in an exciting and dramatic finale to a memorable weekend of racing.

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‘Completing a mountain marathon and conquering the navigational challenge should not be underestimated… but it should not be feared either, as successfully navigating and running in the mountains is a hugely satisfying experience and gives a real sense of confidence. A steady and careful approach will usually see even novice navigators around their course safely.’

The Event Centre location for Marmot24™ is close to Guardhouse in the Lake District National Park.  Guardhouse is close to Threlkeld and just minutes off the A66.

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The competition area stretches 360 degrees from the Event Centre and includes approximately 300 square kilometers. To the north are the remote Northern Fells guarded by the imposing flanks of Blencathra. To the south Clough Head marks the start of the Dodd’s ridge running towards Helvellyn and ultimately Ambleside. The terrain is perfect for a mountain marathon with laser fast ridges and valleys linking areas of complex contour features. There is also a great network of footpaths and tracks but competitors will need to balance easy running on these, with more direct routes between checkpoints. This area of mountains can be very challenging with steep mountains, cliffs, marshland, fast flowing rivers and energy sapping tussocks. Bad weather can happen year round and the nature of the mountains can change very quickly from benign to dangerous.

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Ourea Events want competitors to travel as light as possible, to maximize their enjoyment of running in the mountains, without compromising their safety. Therefore, as Marmot24™ is a summer mountain marathon, the organization team does not require competitors to carry a tent, sleeping bag or stove. However, each pair is required to carry a 2-person bothy bag (emergency shelter) and an additional warm layer such as insulated jacket. All team members must also carry a personal survival bag.

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With the 24-hour race starting at high noon Saturday, the 12-hour race starting at midnight Saturday and the 6-hour race starting at 0600 on the Sunday morning, everyone will finish at 12 noon on the Sunday in an exciting and dramatic finale to a memorable weekend of racing.

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Race director, Shane Ohly, an experienced and fierce competitor himself is extremely excited at the prospect of the racing. To the best of my knowledge, the strongest looking teams are from France and Spain. There are a few other foreign teams but I don’t know too much about them yet. No obviously strong British teams, which is a shame… but there is still time for them to enter as entry closes July 31st.’

 Ones to watch:

Spain

Aurelio Antonio Olivar and Angel Garcia

Aurelio was the 2013 European Rogaine Champion.

Angel won the Spanish national adventure racing championships in 2013

Aguilera and Marc Raflos

Mònica has won the World Adventure Race Champs, the Marathon de Sables, Trangrancanaria, Transvulcania and many more. Marc has been the Spanish national orienteering champion three times.

France

Christophe Bosseaux, Vincent Becam

A strong team with both runners having represented France at the European Rogaining Champs.

 

Scoring

All checkpoints will have the same score value, which is 10.

Competitors arriving back late will be penalized as follows:

  • Up to 5 minutes late = lose 1 point per minute / part minute.
  • Between 6 and 15 minutes late = lose 5 points per minute / part minute.
  • Between 16 and 29 minutes late = lose 10 points per minute / part minute.
  • Over 30 minutes late = loose all points!

More information and last minute entries HERE

Ice Trail Tarentaise 2014 – Race Day Images & Report

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Race day images from the 2014 Skyrunning Ice Trail Tarentaise

Race start images HERE

Press conference images HERE

It was a tough day in the mountains with low mist, persistent rain and at times, very cold temperatures. Francois d’Haene, runner up in 2013 and winner in 2012 was one again on top of the podium with a strong and dominant performance.

Equally, 2013 champion, Emelie Forsberg produced a great back-to-back performance and lead the ladies race from beginning to end.

Newly crowned Skyrunning Ultra World Champion, Luis Alberto Hernando was a key protagonist for much of the race but decided to drop in the latter stages. We can only assume that fatigue was an issue after his impressive performance in Chamonix!

Tom Owens from the UK ran at the from of the race all day and although he gave a place away in the latter stages to Fabian Antolinos from France (who placed 2nd), he was really pleased with a podium place.

Francesca Canepa had expected to be a force in the ladies race, however, an early fall took her out  leaving the podium places wide open. Allessandra Carlini (Italy) and Maud Gobert (France) battled for much of the day and it was Carlini who managesd to sprint for the line and take 2nd.

Men 

  1. Francois d”Haene 7:38
  2. Fabian Antonilos 7:56
  3. Tom Owens 8:02

Ladies

  1. Emelie Forsberg 9:25
  2. Allessandra Carlini 9:42
  3. Maud Gobert 9:42+

Attention now turns to Canazei and the Dolomites. This coming Friday is a VK and on Sunday it is the Dolomites Skyrace which will see both Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet race.

All images available to purchase at iancorless.photoshelter.com

 

Ice Trail Tarentaise 2014 – Race Start Images

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The 2014 Ice Trail Tarentaise got underway at 0400 Sunday 13th July. It was a wet start but temperatures were mild and everyone was enthusiastic at the tough challenge that would be ahead.

Ones to watch in the men are Francois d’Haene winner of the ITT in 2012 and 2nd in 2013 behind Kilian Jornet and Luis Alberto Hernando who beat Francois in Chamonix just 2-weeks ago.

For the ladies, Emelie Forsberg 2013 champion returns but she will have strong competition from Francesca Canepa and Maud Gobert amongst others.

Race Preview HERE

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

Vertical Kilometer Bellevarde Face 2014 – Race Preview

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Val d’Isere has a great history with the Vertical Kilometer, way back in ‘96’ the ISF were the first to organize a VK here!

A time lapse of 9-years since 2005 and Val d’Isere has re connected with the ethos of the VK using the Olympic Bellevarde Face. For many years, Marco De Gasperi held the VK world record here of 34-minutes and 41-seconds until the Italian was dethroned by a fellow countryman and VK specialist; Urban Zemmer.

The Vertical Kilometer has traditionally started at the foot of the Olympic Bellevarde face on “the board” in the heart of the Parc des Sports Charles Diebold in the center Val d’Isere.

The route then takes the greater part of what was the route of the men’s downhill Olympic Winter Games ski route (1992), won by Austrian Patrick Ortlieb.

It’s a tough course; 2.9Km’s in length and reaches an altitude of 2809m. Average gradients over the course are 35%, however, in places it reaches 63% as presented in the first hundred meters.

Including steep passages at 49% and 56% gradient, the sting comes with the famous passage of the Columbine at 55%. Followed by gentle slopes of the Great Wall (51%) a refreshment station is provided before the push to the line passing ‘Catherine Dent’ (50%) and then a finish loop passes the Bellevarde restaurant and the arrival is at a wooden start cabin at an altitude of 2809m.

Records: 

Men: Marco DE GASPERI (ITA) en 34’51” (2003)

Women: Antonella CONFORTOLA (ITA) en 42’48” (2002) 

Stats: 

  • Finish Elevation: 2 809 m
  • Length: 2 905 m
  • Altitude gain: 1000 m
  • Maximum Gradient: 63 %
  • Minimum Gradient: 15 %
  • Average Gradient: 35 %

The Vertical Kilometer Bellevarde Face is part of the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series and will be followed by the Ice Trail Tarentaise 2-days later (preview for the ITT HERE)

Who is racing in 2014?

MEN

Urban Zemmer

Urban Zemmer

Urban Zemmer is a VK specialist and this course will suit his style. Urban is odds on favourite for victory.

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Aritz Egea

Aritz Egea a consistent performer in mountain races over the Sky distance, his recent top placing at the Mont-Blanc VK bodes well.

Marco Facchinelli like Zemmer specializes in the VK distance and he was 2nd in the Skyrunner® World Series 2013. Withdarwn

Marco Moletto finished offthe 2013 Skyrunner® World Series podium with 3rd place and therefore will be in contention in Val d’Isere.

Ferran Texeido

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen

Augusti Roc currently 4th in the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series

Nil Cardona

Marc Casal Mir

Oscar Casal Mir

David Garcia

Marc Pinsach

 

LADIES

Laura Orgue

Laura Orgue

Laura Orgue Skyrunner® World Series VK champion in 2013 and recently crowned VK World Champion in Chamonix id hot favourite for the top spot.

Antonella Confortola at Canazei VK

Antonella Confortola at Canazei VK

Antonella Confortola course record holder and a formidable force in any VK.

Stevie Kremer

Stevie Kremer

Stevie Kremer placed 2nd in her 1st VK in Chamonix and with no other race to hold back for, Stevie may just top the podium. Withdarwn

Emelie Forsberg needs to introduction, great going uphill and downhill. Emelie will be in the mix for the podium.

Christel Dewalle like Emelie will run the VK and the Ultra and stands a great chance to be on both podiums.

Kasie Enman placed 6th in Chamonix.  Withdarwn

Stephanie Jimenez

Oihana Azkorbebeitia

Celine Lafaye

 LINKS

Skyrunning HERE

Race websites

Skyrunning World Championships – Ultra 80km Race Report

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1118 runners toed the line for the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships 80km Ultra in the endurance capital of the world, Chamonix.

Departing at 0400 the race followed the original route in contrast to last years race, which was modified due to the presence of snow at high-points.

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Blue skies welcomed each and every runner and allowed an opportunity for everyone to view the splendor of this tough, technical and remarkable route. A total distance of 83.7km and 6000m of positive gain was always going to provide a male and female champion of the highest quality.

At La Flégère (km16), Transvulcania La Palma winner, Luis Alberto Hernando (SPA) was leading followed by Mike Wolfe (USA) and the winner of the 2013 edition, François D’Haene (FRA). Luis-Alberto took the bull by the horns and pushed ahead and by the Col des Montets (23km) had a lead of 5-minutes.

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Luis Alberto continued to push and at Emosson dam (km32) the Spaniard had opened a convincing lead that he would continue to hold all the way to the line. However, Francois d’Haene tried everything he possibly could to close the gap. In the end, the margin was reduced to 4-mins making it a remarkably close finish.

©iancorless.com_©iancorless.com-0436MontBlanc80k_2014François gave us the story of the head of the race, ‘Luis Alberto produced a great performance. He is strong on the short distance; I am stronger on longer distances. At Montenvers (km75) after getting cramps, I gave everything in the last run to the line and I gained a little time. I am very happy about my race, this course is amazing.’

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Behind the 2-lead men, Mike Wolfe faded opening the doorway to the rising stars of the Southern Hemisphere; Ben Duffus (3rd), Blake Hose (6th) and Caine Warburton (9th). Clement Petitjean placed 4th after a consistently strong performance all day.

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Emelie Forsberg (SWE) put early season disappointments behind her and started the World Championship event from the front and never looked back. Producing a master-class in endurance running, Emelie crossed the line in Chamonix and was crowned female Skyrunning World Champion in 12-hours 38-minutes.

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Anna Frost on a roll from her Transvulcania La Palma victory confirmed that she is back with an excellent second place, 8-minutes behind her Salomon teammate.

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Magdaléna Laczack (POL) was in contention all-day and produced a stand out performance to place 3rd lady ahead of Maud Gobert (FRA).

Tiredness, fatigue and endurance accompanied by magnificent landscapes and panoramic views. This is the magic and the essence of the Skyrunning World Championships.

Podium of the Mont-Blanc 80k, World Championship ultra-marathon Skyrunning

Men

1 – Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) : 10:25:52

2 – François d’Haene (FRA) : 10:29:33

3 – Ben Duffus (AUS) : 10:52:33

 

Women

1 – Emilie Forsberg (NOR) : 12:38 :49

2 – Anna Frost (NZ) : 12:46:52

3 – Magdalena Laczak (PL) : 12:58:51

Scott T2 Palani (Ladies) Road Shoe Review

Scott T2 Palani_1

Niandi Carmont wanted a special outfit for her 14th Comrades ultra marathon, and why not! If you are going to push the boat out and test yourself (for the 14th time) over just under 90 km’s on the roads from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, you may as well look good, feel good and importantly be comfortable and efficient. Niandi picked up a full running outfit provided by Scott Running and here, Niandi reviews the T2 Palani road shoe.

Niandi Carmont Comrades

Reviews to follow of: Scott eRide Tank, Light Socks and Skort.

Scott is not a brand name widely associated with running but more often than not conjures up images of cycling. Perhaps we need to rethink our preconceived ideas about household brand names. This is the second Scott model I’ve tested although the first road shoe (read the T2 Kinabalu review HERE). The timing was right as I was in pre-Comrades training and looking for a shoe not only for race day but also a shoe to see me through the last couple of months of my race build-up.

Scott T2 Palani_2

The first thing I noticed when I lifted them out of the shoe-box was the weight – at 7.4 oz, this is a lightweight shoe. However it also boasts AeroFoam midsole cushioning which makes it a good compromise in terms of weight and cushioning for the long-distance ultra-runner not seeking to go minimalist. The outsole offers great grip providing great traction on the road, which is a typical Scott shoe feature. Drainage holes on either side of the toe-box keep your feet relatively dry in wet weather conditions. The shoe I tested is a women’s specific fit.

500-meters into my first run I knew that I was going to get on with this shoe. What I like about Scott shoes is the unique patented eRide geometry of their shoes. The rocker shape creates a very stable midstance for a more efficient running style. It might have something to do with the fact that I heel-strike with my right foot and I felt that the shoe helped provide me with a more economical stride. Instead of my heel smacking on the ground, I felt the rocker provided me with more bounce and forefoot lift off. The eRide is a great concept compensating for the lack of sensory feedback and proprioception due to cushioning.

eRide

Scott say about eRide, ‘Get that fleet-footed feeling with our eRide range. The unique rocker shape creates a very stable midstance, promoting the faster and more efficient running style that runners strive for. You`ll be rocking as the miles roll by.’

Basically the unique heel shape causes the foot to roll forward, converting impact energy into forward motion. This is another plus for ultra-runners who irrespective of individual biomechanics will eventually heel strike. Thus the shoe is not only more energy efficient, reducing fatigue through heel striking over long distances but also provides a smoother ride and a more natural midfoot strike.

1. Healthier body position

2. More energy efficient

3. Natural midfoot strike

4. Lower profile heel

5. Smoother ride

6. Minimal and lighter weight

My perceptions of the shoe for this first one-hour training run were thus extremely positive and I subsequently adopted the shoe as my Comrades race shoe. I tested it for every road run over the 2 months preceding Comrades and found that it was a great all-weather road shoe. In very wet road conditions in the UK the drainage holes prevented the shoe from becoming water-logged and in South Africa on the hot tarmac the breathable mesh upper kept my feet relatively cool. Also the grippy outsole on the inside of the arch and the outer side of the toe box provided great grip on wet road.

Scott T2 Palani_3

The toe-box is very roomy even with the narrower female-specific fit and provides ample room for toes to splay or for runners with wider feet. Heel-striking has caused my right arch to collapse slightly. As a result the foot is wider and I often have an issue with chafing as well as a Taylor’s bunion on the outside of my foot which the toe-box accommodated perfectly.

The shoe is neutral with an 11mm drop from heel to forefoot. Cushioning 15mm at the front and 26mm at the rear.

Lastly this shoe is EXTREMELY durable. That is definitely a Scott quality – very little sign of heel wear through heel striking on the outer side of my right foot and this NEVER happens with any other brand of shoe. I’ll definitely get more mileage out of this racing shoe than with other rival products and in the long run (sorry about the pun!) save on my shoe budget!

Scott say, ‘The T2 Palani is a high performance, lightweight neutral trainer and racing shoe for the roads. Unbeatable for anything from short races to marathons as well as all fast training units, it incorporates all essential ingredients of a winning lightweight running shoe.’ 

Tech specs:

Category – Performance

Weight – 210g

Forefoot – 15

Heel – 26

Heel to toe drop -11mm

Technologies

  • eRide
  • eRide flow
  • AeroFoam

Size – US 5-11

Material

  • Upper: Mesh/Synthetic Overlays
  • Lower: EVA/rubber

View the product on Scott Running HERE

Niandi Carmont

Niandi Carmont

Niandi Carmont – Niandi is South African born, a former resident of Paris, she now lives in the UK. A runner for over 20-years; Niandi has completed Comrades Marathon 13-times, Washie 100 2-times and has finished well over 100 marathons and ultras  all over the world. Currently residing in the UK, Niandi splits her work life between the UK and France.

The Best Of The Best – 2014 Skyrunning World Championship line-up announced

Lauri van Houten, Executive Director for the ISF gives us the low down on who will be participating in the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships to be held in Chamonix on June 27-29.

Even before getting off the ground, the events were an immediate sell-out when they went online last October with a record number of requests.  Since then, the world’s best runners and teams have submitted their entries, which we announce here.

No less than nine Skyrunner® World Series Champions will take part, headed by superstars, Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, Luis Alberto Hernando, Tofol Castanyer, Stevie Kremer, Nuria Picas, Urban Zemmer, Agustì Roc, Laura Orguè.

Out of the ISF Top 20 World Ranking:
–  15 athletes will compete in the Sky distance, 14 in the Ultra and 17 in the Vertical.

Many more world-class names will be competing over the three distances –  winners from top skyrunning events, from trail running races, and mountain running….they will all be here to compete in the magic arena that is Mont Blanc.  3,400 athleteswill participate in the three Skyrunning World Championships disciplines with a total of 6,500 runners overall in the weekend’s events.

In the previous World Championships held in 2010, the country ranking was headed by Italy, followed by Spain and Francecounting 13 nations.  Four years on and the country participation has more than doubled, with 28 nations taking part.

Certainly Spain is the all-out favourite, with France and Italy close behind. With the rapid development of the sport and new countries emerging, the picture could soon change. Strong competition is forecast from Great Britain and new entries Norwayand the Czech Republic for example, will no doubt make their mark.

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Spain: Kilian Jornet, Luis Alberto Hernando, Tofol Castanyer, Nuria Picas, Laura Orguè, Uxue Fraille, Maite Maiora, Agustì Roc, Iker Karrera, Artiz Egea, Jokin Lizeaga, Nuria Dominguez

France: The host country with the biggest field of participants. Where to begin?
Francois D’Haenne, Michel Lanne, Xavier Thevenard – respectively 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the 80K last year; Christel Dewalle, Mathéo Jacquemoud, Alexis Sevennec, William Bon Mardion, Thibault Baronian, Axelle Mollaret Stephanie Jimenez, Maud Gobert, Mikael Paséro

©copyright .iancorless.com._1130788Italy:  Urban Zemmer, Antonella Confortola, Silvia Serafini, Elisa Desco, Tadei Pivk, brothers Bernard and Martin Dematteis EAA champions, Marco Moletto, 2010 World Champion Nicola Golinelli, Federica Boifava

Great Britain: Tom Owens and Andy Symonds are back racing after a year off   joined by Ricky Lightfoot and Tessa Hill.

New Zealand: Anna Frost, Jonathan Wyatt and Ruby Muir. After her recent Transvulcania victory, Anna is back in great shape after a difficult year.

USA: 2013 Sky Series champion Stevie Kremer, 2011 WMRA champion Kasie Enman, Alex Nichols, Cameron Claytonand Ultra running icon Mike Wolfe.

Andorra: the consistently strong Teixido and Casal brothers.

Canada: Land of great distances and Ultra runners:  Tina Lewis, Jason Loutit, and Adam Campbell.

Robust teams will participate from Japan with Dai Matsumoto and Torhu Myahara; from the Czech Republic starring Anna Straka (Pichrtova), five-time winner at Sierre-Zinal, and Robert Krupicka.

From Brazil, ultra runner Fernanda Maciel; from Switzerland Marc Lauenstein and Candide Gabioud among others.

Completing the ISF member countries participating with teams will be Greece, Poland and Russia and, for the first time in an international skyrunning competition: Australia, China, Netherlands, Portugal and South Africa.

 

Top runners from other countries are headed by Romanian Ionut Zinca, ranked 2nd behind Kilian in the Sky distance, and include Germany’s Philipp ReiterFlorian Neuschwander and Florian Reichert.  Interestingly, strong competition is coming from a number of countries new to skyrunning. Norway is showing great promise and will offer strong competition in the Vertical and Sky categories with talent like Thorbjørn Ludvigsen and Eirik Haugsnes who, in just one year, have made their mark in the sport.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1040540Sweden will support Emelie Forsberg, at the head of both the 2013 Sky and Ultra ranking, with a team. Countries stretching across the world from Ecuador to Nepal complete the picture of a truly international championship.

Overall, 46 athletes ranked in the top 20 across the three disciplines will take part – a historic first. The 2014 Championships represent the first time the Ultra distance will be disputed.

Some numbers for the record:
•    9 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.

On the launch of the announcement, Marino Giacometti, ISF President, commented:  “We’re proud to present the World Championships in Chamonix and, with the support of the Club des Sport, we’re confident the events will be a perfect showcase for skyrunning and draw the best athletes in the world for some intense competition.”

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Skyrunning World Championships 2014 – Important Information

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Since the creation of the Mont-Blanc Cross in 1979, the Mont-Blanc Marathon in 2003, the Vertical Kilometer in 2011 and the Mont-Blanc 80KM in 2013, the Club des Sports de Chamonix has never ceased to improve events. This year with the Skyrunning World Championships, the organisers once again confirm the quality of the event and announce new changes: a bigger race expo, the creation of a bridge at Tre Le Champs to secure the road crossing, a new finish line for the Cross and Marathon, and finally a more in-depth Web TV diffusion.

At the end of June 2014, 6500 runners and over 13000 of their supporters are expected in Chamonix for the Mont-Blanc Marathon weekend. The race expo that reunites sports manufacturers and the different trail races found throughout the world will open their doors on the Place du Mont-Blanc on June 26, 27 & 28 2014. The expo provides an area to purchase last minute items for the race and to also discover the latest summer trends.

The race-bib pick-up (previous years at the ENSA gymnasium) will be positioned at the Place du Mont-Blanc square in a big tent especially erected for the occasion.

Program

  • Race-bib pick up at the Place du Mont-Blanc in Chamonix
  • Thursday June 26, 2014: 10:00am – 20:00
  • Friday June 27, 2014: 3:00am – 4:00am for the 80KM and 10:00am – 20:00 for the other races
  • Saturday June 28, 2014: 7:00am – 20:00
  • Sunday June 29, 2014: 5:00am – 6:30am

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Friday June 27, 2014:

Place du Triangle de l’Amitié

4:00am : Start of the MONT-BLANC 80KM

18:00 – midnight : Meal offered to runners of the 80KM (sports complex)

16:00 : Start of the VERTICAL KM

From 18:00 onwards: Meal offered to runners of the Vertical KM (sports complex)

20:30: Awards ceremony

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Saturday June 28, 2014

Paragliding Landing Field

8:30am: Start of the MONT-BLANC CROSS

9:00am: Start of the MONT-BLANC 10KM (start in 3 waves)

11:30am: Mini- Cross (starts depending on age categories)

12:00pm: Mini-Cross Raffle

Richard Bozon Sports Complex

From 11:00am onwards: Buffet for Mont-Blanc Cross (free for runners of the cross)

From 18:30 onwards: Pasta Party for the Mont-Blanc Marathon

Place du Triangle de l’Amitié

15:30: Award ceremony for the Mont-Blanc 10KM

16:00: Award ceremony for the Mont-Blanc CROSS

16:30: Award ceremony for the Mont-BLanc 80KM

17:00 Raffle

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Sunday June 29, 2014

Place du Triangle de l’Amitie

7:00am: Start of the MONT-BLANC MARATHON

17:00: Raffle for the Mont-Blanc Marathon

Richard Bozon Sports Complex

From 11:00am onwards: Buffet for Mont-Blanc Marathon (free for marathon runners)

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Important Information:

New Finish Line & New Viewpoints!

The large mass of people the past few years at the finish line (Planpraz at Brevent) for the Mont-Blanc Marathon & Cross no longer offered a satisfactory experience for runners nor the public.

The finish line will now be on the plateau just before the top of the cable car station of Planpraz (near the paragliding take-off area).

To reach the finish line runners will take-on one final ‘wall’….the public will be in close proximity to support the athletes in their last effort as they benefit from the most beautiful view of the Mont-Blanc range.

Follow the events live via WebTV

In 2012, 10,000 connections were registered during the Vertical KM. In 2013 there were 125,000 connections during the weekend (diffused live for an average of 3 hours per day).

This year the organizers once again will be offering WebTV for users with a complete program, events diffused live, official presentations of athletes each evening, exclusive interviews with the world’s best, and many other surprises.

Even from the other side of the world people will be able to be at the heart of the event on www.montblancmarathon.fr

 

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Transvulcania La Palma 2014 – In-depth race preview

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It’s here… the long awaited Skyrunner® World Series kicks off with what has become, in just 2-years, the iconic Skyrunning Ultra Race, Transvulcania La Palma. The race has come a long way… now considered to be one of ‘the’ races to do, the 2014 edition of the race will only cement this reputation as runners travel from all over the world to take part.

It goes without saying that a quality line-up is guaranteed for this race, however, 2014 has my appetite whet for what I consider to be arguably the most exciting and competitive race we will have ever seen on the island of La Palma. What a line up!

A simple glance at the ladies race confirms one thing, showdown! 2012 Transvulcania winner, Anna Frost returns to the island she loves after missing the 2013 edition through injury. 2013 winner, Emelie Forsberg will toe the line and the trio would not be complete without the ever present and incredibly talented, Nuria Picas*. Add Silvia Serafini, Cassie Scallon, Uxue Fraile and Jodee Adams-Moore amongst others and we have a female melting pot that is going to boil over and may well explode on the trails of the GR131.

But hold on a minute, have you seen the men’s field…? Dakota Jones, like Anna Frost, returns to the island after a year a way and will be looking to take back that ‘President’ title bestowed on him in 2012. Kilian Jornet, 2013 winner will provide the stimulus to push Dakota to a new level but lets not rule out the incredible talent and line-up that will be chomping at the bit to dislodge the 2-previous winners. Luis Alberto Hernando will have prepared all winter to be in the best possible form come May 10th, Timothy Olson, Sage Canaday, UTMB winner, Xavier Thevenard, Ricky Lightfoot, Philipp Reiter… oh boy, how long have I got?

Take out your diary, block out the weekend of May 9th, 10th and 11th and prepare yourself for what will go down as an epic running of the Transvulcania La Palma.

In addition, 2014 will see the inaugural running of the Transvulcania VK. Weaving up the zigzag path from the port of Tazacorte, an exhilarating and awe inspiring test of leg and lungpower will unfold at 1600hrs Friday, May 8th

Please note: the 2014 edition of the race is now listed as 73km and not 83.3km as on the website. In real terms, runners have said for the last couple of years that they thought that the course was short, so, this may just well be an acknowledgement. Importantly though, the route from Tazacorte Port to the finish in Los Llanos has now changed. Runners will now run along the ravine and not along the road as in previous editions. It’s difficult to say at this stage what impact this will have on the race. My initial reaction would be that a fast road ultra runner could use the previous final section to his advantage (Sage Canaday?) to pull back some time, maybe this advantage will no longer exist!

So, who’s going to win?

Ladies

The ladies race has real quality at the front but barring a disaster, I don’t think we will see any real surprises. A select group of 4-6 are outright favourites for the win and my outside tip goes to Maite Maiora Elizondo for surprise performance.

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Emelie Forsberg was unstoppable in 2013. Notable for the diversity of her racing; Emelie started the season with a win at Transvulcania and whilst also racing and winning at VK and SKY distances, Emelie crowned out her year with 2nd pace behind Nathalie Mauclair at the super tough, Raid de la Reunion, Emelie’s first ever 100-mile race. Since then, Emelie like Kilian pretty much hangs up her run shoes and spends her time on ski’s. Other than the occasional 20-30min jog and a week of running at the Salomon athlete retreat in Limone, Emelie will arrive on the start line of Transvulcania thinking to herself, ‘I wonder how this will go?’ Emelie had the same thoughts last year and secured an incredible victory over Nuria Picas. Dare I say that she almost made it look easy? I have no reason to think that 2014 will be any different and therefore Emelie is my no1 tip for the crown and a potential new course record.

©iancorless.com.IMG_2858Nuria Picas* fresh from another victory (just this last weekend) will join the ladies on the island and will without doubt bring her incredible talent, dedication and entourage to ensure that the best possible performance can be guaranteed. However, and this is a big however, her recent win at Transgrancanaria and more importantly, her win at the 105-mile UTMF in Japan on April 26th must leave the Catalan feeling a little tired and jaded. Anyone else and I would say that the occasion, fatigue and tiredness would take a heavy presence and a potential lackluster or under par performance can be expected. But I just can’t rule Nuria out… Anna and Emelie know only too well what a talent Nuria is and equally, Nuria will understand the challenge ahead. I can’t wait! Nuria has decided to rest and recover after UTMF and will not race at Transvulcania. She will prepare for Australia.

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Anna Frost arrived on the island of La Palma weeks before the 2013 edition of the race and the reality struck that she was going to have to miss the race due to ongoing injury. It was a tough decision and what followed was a year fighting with injury that forced Frosty to look within and find out what was really important. Even in February 2014 whilst attending The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, Anna was forced to reassess her objectives and take more rest. However, a recent win at the marathon distance at the Buffalo Stampede in Australia may well mean that our beloved Frosty is on her way back! Already on the island of La Palma, Frosty will be preparing mind and body for the challenge ahead. Can she win? A b s o l u t e l y! You can never rule out an inform Frosty, particularly on this course. However, it’s early days on the comeback trail and I am going to sit on the fence not wishing to add any additional pressure. Finishing healthy and uninjured will be a major victory.

Cassie Scallon has already had 2-victories in 2014. Most recently at the MSIG Sai King 50 in March and the Ray Miller 50 in February. Dating back to 2006, Cassie has been a force to be reckoned with at the 50k to 80km distance. A victory at the 100km Bandera in 2012 shows that endurance is not a problem for the Boulder based athlete. Transvulcania and its trails will suit Cassie and we will without doubt see her at the front of the race.  Cassie posted on Facebook I am terrible at recognizing broken bones in myself. This is bone #2 that I decided didn’t hurt enough to be a break, so I continued to run on it. Again I thought it was getting a little better every day, but it was actually getting worse. Not awesome.’

Jodee Adams-Moore, had a great 2013 and has showed form in 2014 at the 50k and 50-mile distances with 6 top-4 places. Jodee won Orca Island 50k in 2013 and 2014 and the Chuckanut 50k. Just recently, Jodee placed 2nd behind Ellie Greenwood at Chuckanut 50k and placed 4th at Lake Sonoma. The trails of La Palma will offer a new challenge and although we can expect to see Jodee pushing towards the front end of the race, I don’t see her making the podium.

Silvia Serafini copyright iancorless.com

Silvia Serafini is an incredible talent and has always been there or thereabouts at many of the big races. A highlight of 2013 would have been placing 2nd behind Emelie Forsberg at Matterhorn Ultraks. Silvia is not without race victories; in actual fact, her consistency has been incredible. Like so many other runners, Silvia just needs a little luck on one of the big occasions and this will elevate her and her confidence to a new level.  Silvia has injury issues and tells me that she may actually not race at all in 2014. A real shame… get well soon Silvia!

Uxue Fraile placed 5th at Transvulcania 2012 and 3rd in 2013. Add to this, top performances at Cavalls del Vent, Trans D’Havet and a recent 6th place at Transgrancanaria and you can’t rule out that Uxue will be looking for an opportunity and an opening to dislodge one of the hot favourites should they falter. On paper, Uxue does not have the outright speed to contest the podium (she was 60-min behind Emelie in 2013), however, she does have the patience and endurance for the survival game.

Maite Maiora Elizondo – my rank outsider for a surprise and potential shock in the overall classification and standings. Maite is a pure mountain runner with a reputation for performing at a high level over the SKY distance. Transvulcania at 73km will be a stretch, however, class is permanent and I predict a surprise.

Ones to watch:

  • Krissy Moehl – Not sure she is racing?
  • Alicia Shay – 3rd at Chuckanut 50k in 2013
  • Alessandra Carlini – 2nd at MSIG Sai Kung 50 in 2014
  • Natalie White
  • Maxime Cazajous
  • Hiroko Suzuki

Men

So, if you thought the ladies race was a tough one to call. Look at the quality of the men’s field. It’s a who’s who of mountain runners.

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Kilian Jornet like Emelie Forsberg will step off his skis and make the transition to running with the flick of a switch. In 2012, Kilian lost out to Dakota Jones and Andy Symonds at Transvulcania, it was a combination of elements that influenced his performance, not enough running, dehydration and a particularly hot day! In 2013, Kilian corrected these mistakes and secured victory ahead of Luis Alberto Hernando. Post the 2013 race, I asked him what he had done different? ‘I ran for 7-days before the race instead of just 3!’. Need I say more… no matter how stacked the field you can’t rule out victory for the Catalan, however, he won’t have an easy day! Many of the competition see ‘this’ race as the perfect opportunity to beat the master as he makes the transition from snow to trail.

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Luis Alberto Hernando is without doubt looking for that opportunity to take the crown away from Kilian. Luis, for me, is one of the greatest mountain runners in the world. Modest, professional and pure class; he is without doubt one of the few runners who can take Kilian to an edge and hold him there. Luis, along with Marco De Gasperi pushed Kilian to better performances in 2013. It was down to the line at Zegama-Aizkorri and a hand-in-hand finish at Trans D’Havet after personal circumstances dictated a truce between the two warriors. At Everest Trail Race in November, Luis picked up an injury that forced him to only walk, he told me then, I have time, I only have one thing I need to be ready for… Transvulcania! Excited is an understatement.iancorless.orgIancorless_TVraceday_424

Dakota Jones went ‘AWOL’ in the early part of 2013 seeking new experiences. A red-hot performance at San Juan Solstice 50m was followed with ‘dns’ at TNFUTMB, as he didn’t feel as though he had adequate preparation time. Dakota re-focused and concentrated on UROC. Victory seemed secure in Colorado; however, a charging Rob Krar stole Dakota’s glory in the latter stages of the race. Since then, Dakota has travelled racing at low-key multi day races and a recent quality performance at the Buffalo Stampede in Australia. Dakota’s return to Transvulcania is eagerly anticipated. It’s a re-match of Balboa and Creed proportions…

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Sage Canaday I think was still learning last year. Sage had plenty of natural speed and wanted to run every ultra in the same way he would run a marathon… go out hard, hold on and finish in glory. On many occasions this worked; Bandera 100km, Lake Sonoma, Cayuga Trails and Speedgoat 50k, however, it was a tightrope existence. At Tarawera he just about held off a charging Timmy Olson and at Transvulcania, Sage slowed along with Cameron Clayton and opened the door for Kilian and Luis Alberto. One year on with a repeat victory at a shortened Tarawera and 3rd place behind a dominant Zach Miller at Lake Sonoma, I think we will Sage run a more cautious first half of TV and look to be more in the mix in the latter stages. He can win for sure!

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Timothy Olson 8th at Ray Miller 50 and 3rd at the recent Transgrancanaria knows all about peaking for a race. A repeat back-to-back victory at Western States in 2013 confirms this. The question for me is Timothy looking for a Transvulcania victory or is he looking for another solid and consistent performance on the road to Hardrock 100? Don’t get me wrong, I am not questioning Timothy’s ability, performance or dedication, on the contrary, I am actually saying that his focus can very often be at the sacrifice of other races. Of course, if a podium place or win is up for grabs, Timothy will dig deep and seize the opportunity. I expect top-5 and wouldn’t be surprised with an out and out win. What do you think?

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1010566Xavier Thevenard was the surprise winner of the 2013 TNFUTMB, a result, considered by many to be one of the performances of the year! It would be fair to say, that Xavier, to many, was an unknown runner. However, this would be a great injustice. In 2013 alone, Xavier placed 11th at Transvulcania, 3rd at 80km du Mont-Blanc and closed out the year with 2nd at Templiers. His 2013 performance at Transvulcania was 1-hour behind the lead men; one year on one can’t help but think that with renewed confidence the gap will be much less.

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Tofol Castaner is a great mountain runner and on his day can push with the best in the world. His record at Cavalls del Vent proves this, 2nd in 2013 and 2011. However, he shot to worldwide ultra fame with his dominant CCC performance at the 2012 edition of the race covering the distance in 8:57:04. He will be in the mix.

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Philipp Reiter placed 11th in 2012 and 12th at the 2013 edition of Transvulcania. Always on the verge of a big result, his 2012 season was beginning to look like the big time was just around the corner… victories at the Maxi Race in Annecy, Zugspitze Supertrail and Salomon 4 Trails. Add to this Gore-Tex Transalpine and 5th at a stacked Cavalls del Vent and 2013 was a season to be grasped. However, the season lacked any big victories that many of us had expected, arguably his best performance came at Ice Trail Tarentaise placing 3rd behind Kilian Jornet and Francois D’Haene. 2014 started well with some great running at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. At Transgrancanaria (82kmr race) Philipp placed 8th, a disappointing performance for him. A constant issue whilst racing has been his stomach and getting this to cooperate with the intensity of racing. If Philipp gets this inline, we will see him regularly back in the top-10, more likely the top-5 and every now and again, the top-3.

Ricky Lightfoot for me has the no1 slot to cause a massive upset on May 10th and come away with a surprise top-3 and even victory. I personally think Ricky has all the right combination of abilities to take the rest of the field on and just as Andy Symonds did in 2012, rock them all to the core. His course record at The Otter in South Africa was a sublime run and when you add to that an IAU World Trail title, you have all the necessary elements of speed, technical ability and endurance that will make a difference on La Palma. Just this last weekend, Ricky took the crown at the iconic Three Peaks fell race in the UK. The only negative has been a recent knee injury that may very well take the edge of what may have been possible at Transvulcania.

Tom Owens was missed in the 2013 season. After an inspirational year in 2012 were Tom really did chomp at the heels of Kilian Jornet, 2013 was always going to be, what can Tom do next? It soon transpired to be very little… Tom was plagued with injury and lost a year. Playing the patience game, Tom is back. He has had a couple of good trail marathon wins recently and placed 2nd behind Ricky Lightfoot at Three Peaks. Transvulcania will be a long race for Tom and that for sure will count against him, however, I have seen him race and seen the skill set this guy holds. If he has a good day, don’t be surprised to see him create a shock!

Giuliano Cavallo placed 9th at Transvulcania in 2012 against a top quality field. He had injury issues in 2013 but still managed victories at Alpago Ultratrail and Gran Trail Courmayer. Top-10 once again is a distinct possibility.

Martin Gafurri had a great 2013 Skyrunning season and although he placed just outside the top-20 at Transvulcania, based on his recent top-10 at Tarawera, I think we will see Martin make more impact this year. *running the marathon not the ultra

Jason Schlarb had a break through run at Run Rabbit Run 100-miler taking out the win in 2013. Add to this, top-3 places at Speedgoat 50k, San Juan Solstice and Leona Divide one can conclude that Jason has the required speed and endurance to compete with the best. Ultimately though, Jason’s Transvulcania performance will all come down to how he manages the lava trails, the technical caldera and the 18km descent to Tazacorte. If all those elements fall into place, Jason will be up amongst the top-10.

Vajin Armstrong is an ever present podium hogger in the Southern Hemisphere. Always top-3, the big win has somehow eluded him. For the past 4-years Vajin has raced Tarawera for example and placed, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd and 3rd. He has plenty of speed and on his day will be in the mix at any race. In 2013, Vajin spent a great deal of time in Europe placing 2nd at Zugspitz and the Swiss Alpine Marathon all good preparation for what a Skyrunning race will throw at him. However, at TNFUTMB his race didn’t go too well. Transvulcania and the quality of the field will provide Vajin with a real test and if he’s having a good day he may well be in the mix but I don’t see him on the podium.

Fulvio Dapit placed 4th at Ice Trail Tarentaise in 2013. Transvulcania will be a test for sure but he does have the ability to create a stir up at the front.

Robbie Britton gets the final nod. He has been on La Palma for over a month preparing. He has endurance and speed but lacks the climbing and descending ability to compete with the best Skyrunners. In addition, this will be Robbie’s first Skyrunning race. Without doubt it will be a learning curve but he does have the ability to make waves should all go well.

Ones to watch:

  • Jordi Bes Ginesta winner of the CCC in 2013
  • Josh Arthur 4th at Run Rabbit Run and 7th at the recent Ray Miller 50
  • Luke Nelson 11th at UROC and 6th at Speedgoat
  • Stu Air 8th at Tor des Geants and 18th at Ice Trail Tarentaise (*recently injured)
  • Johan Lantz 9th at Rocky Raccoon 100-mile in 2014
  • Ty Draney 8th at Ronda dels Cims
  • David Laney 2nd at Bandera 100km and Chuckanut 50km
  • Ryan Ghelfi 4th at Chuckanut 50k and 6th at Lake Sonoma.
  • Sylvain Couchaud 23rd at Transvulcania in 2013 and 4th 80km du Mont-Blanc
  • Santiago Obaya 5th at Transgrancanaria in 2013
  • Stu Air – Top 10 at Ice Trail Tarentaise and Tor des Geants finisher
  • Kim Collinson won the Fellsman in the UK recently
  • Oscar Casal
  • Marc Casal
  • Dani Tristany
  • David Lopez
  • Marcin Swierc
  • Valentin Vergilyush
  • Isaac Riera
  • Nil Gurt
  • Xavier Musach
  • Adriana Grosu
  • Roberto Sancho Martin
  • Maxime Cazajous
  • Yoann Stuck
  • Ryan Bak

One thing is for sure. A great weekend of racing lies ahead on the island of La Palma

I will be on the island reporting, photographing and providing news as it happens.

Make sure you follow on Facebook, Twitter and of course, here, on this website.

Links:

Transvulcania website HERE

Skyrunning HERE

Transvulcania La Palma – A Guide HERE

Transvulcania VK HERE

Transvulcania 2013 Images HERE

Transvulcania 2013 preview HERE