Tromsö Skyrace 2015 Preview – “Soul running between the sky and the sea!”

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It’s the 2nd edition of the Tromsö Skyrace and although the 2 race directors won’t thank me for adding a spotlight onto them, one has to admit that Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet as RD’s really does add a plus to an event.

If you were a cynic, you may well think that the race just uses the two Skyrunning stars as a vehicle for promotion! If you do, you could not be more wrong! Just a glance at Facebook this last 2 weeks has provided us all with a real insight into how ‘hands-on’ Kilian and Emelie have been in getting this race off the ground and ready for an increased audience.

The duo brings a true love of the mountains and a desire for technical terrain to a larger audience and with the Tromsö Skyrace the challenge is a tough one! Edition 1 had many a runner saying that it was the most extreme and technical 45km’s they had ever run. That I am sure would place a big smile on Kilian’s and Emilie’s’ faces. Using inspirational race like Trofeo Kima as an influence on the Tromsö Skyrace, the race is set to be a classic that will run for a great deal of time.

Located in Tromsö, Norway, the race embraces the wilderness and 24-hour days with fjords and glaciers as a backdrop. In the words of Kilian and Emelie, it is “Soul running between the sky and the sea!”

In summary:

  • Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg: two world-class race ambassadors
  • Tromsö, a remarkable landscape
  • Three races
  • International yet familiar race
  • Eco-responsive race

300 runners in total will arrive in Tromsö for what I am sure will be an amazing, awe inspiring experience that they will hold and cherish for a long time to come. After all, the race does take place in the Norwegian Arctic Circle.

“First we just started to talk about how cool it was that in the north we can run 24 hours in light during the summer. And then we started to talk about what we think Skyrunning is and how we would like a race that includes all the key ingredients; trails, summits, ridges off trail aid stations, a consideration for the environment and so on! We decided to make a course that comes close to the city but still has all the key ingredients that we want in a race, summits, wilderness and technical parts! We are so happy about the route!”

 

Friday will start with a Blamann VK, 2.6km in length and 1044m of vertical gain make this race a true challenge for those who like to push themselves on a steep gradient.

The Tromsdalstind Skyrace has 19km length and 1600m elevation and the key race for the weekend is the Hamperokken Skyrace which is part of the Ultra Skyrunner® World Series and has 42km length and 4100m of vertical gain.

So who is running?

VK

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Nejc Kuhar heads up a strong VK race and as Skyrunner® World Series leader for the VK distance he is a firm favourite for the title in Tromsö.

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However, Eirik Haugsness and Thorbjorn Ludvigsen are almost certainly going to want to represent themselves highly and what is a ‘local’ race.

Rising star, Remi Bonnet will also be a key contender as will Ferran Texeido but the dark horse may well be Stian Hovind so keep an eye on him, he is my dark horse for the top of the podium.

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The ladies VK race is wide open and maybe not surprisingly, Emelie Forsberg may well be a hot favourite for victory.

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Azara Garcia will almost certainly contend the podium, as will Therese Sjursen and Ekatarina Mityaaeva.

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Mira Rai will also run but I think the Nepalese runner is still finding her feet in these short vertical races. I am sure she will be looking to the Ultra on Sunday for her best performance.

 

ULTRA

I fully appreciate that 42km is not an ultra, so please don’t email in and point this out! The Tromso Skyrace gains ‘ultra’ status due to the demanding course, technicality and because of the time it will take to complete the course. As we said earlier, this is NO easy race! If in doubt, the winning time from 2014 was 6:38:30!

Men

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Skyrunning World and European Champion for the Ultra distance, Luis Alberto Hernando will toe the line in Tromso and one has to say, he is the man to beat. He has been on fire in 2014 with victory and Transvulcania, Ice Trail Tarentaise and 2nd place at the IAU World Trail Championships.

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Franco Colle equally has been a revelation in 2015. His victory at Tor des Geants in 2014 placed him on the radar for any race over 100-miles but this year he has nailed Mont-Blanc 80km and Ice Trail Tarentaise. One to watch!

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Last years winner, Eirik Haugsness is going to have his work cut-out to top the podium in 2015 but Tromso is a race that holds a special place for him and that always adds so those essential extra percentages when you need to dig deep.

Philipp Reiter has had a quiet 2015; no doubt university has placed a demand on his time. Tromso however will suit the young Germans skill set and I am almost certain we can expect to feel his presence at the front of the race.

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Cristofer Clemente adds to the front-end action and has consistently performed well in 2015 with a string of top 10 placing.

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Salomon team manager, Greg Vollet can never be ruled out of the front end action and I see that Canadian Adam Campbell is on the start list but I am not sure if he will run after a sterling effort at Hardrock 100.

Local talent will provide a huge surprise factor and here Emelie provides me with some valuable inside information:

Lars Eirik Skjervheim is a member of the Norwegian ski mountaineering team and a very good runner. He has had a struggle with an injury but if he is in good shape he could be on the podium, I think?

Ola Hovdenak was 2nd in 2014 and loves technical trail.

Sven Are Paulsen is a Tromsö X- country skier, that last year got really into Skyrunning! Top 10!

Kristian Ulriksen is a fast roadrunner from Tromso; lets see how he handles the technical trails.

And finally,

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Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz, Zigor Iturrieta (in hospital for an operation), Florian Reichert, Jan Bartas and Stu Air will all figure in or around the top 10 and my dark horse tip goes to Dan Doherty who may well be the surprise package of the whole race.

 

Ladies

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Mira Rai may well excel in the tough and challenging conditions of Tromso. Her victory at Mont-Blanc 80km was a revelation but recent races at the Dolomites VK and Dolomites Skyrace were mixed. Maybe they were too short? Tromso may well be short in distance but in time, it’s a long race that will play into Mira’s hands.

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Maite Maiora is a Skyrunning specialist and specializes in the Sky distance. However, she nailed Transvulcania in 2014 and that therefore elevates her up the ‘one-to-watch’ to THE one to watch.

Australian rising star, Lucy Bartholomew will also run the race and this will be a big test. But I strongly believe it’s a test that she will rise too. The podium may well be a long shot this early in her career but I don’t think she will be too far off.

Malene Hakoy is a Norwegian ski mountaineer, she won Hornidal runt this year and placed second overall… one to watch!

Hilde Aders placed top 10 in the Dolomites VK and placed 2 in Hornidal Runt this year.

Finally, a real dark horse shout out for Shiri Leventhal; I am sure she won’t thank me for pointing a spotlight at her but she made the podium at Everest Trail Race a few years ago and may well be a surprise package. Also, Heather Ohly from the UK may well make an impact on the top-10.

Needless to say, Tromsö Skyrace is going to over a seriously exciting weekend of running in an amazing part of the world and what almost certainly will be and incredible course.

I can’t wait!

You can follow the race in words and images here at iancorless.com on Facebook HERE on Twitter @talkultra and on Instagram @iancorlessphotography

also follow Skyrunning via the official facebook page HERE on Twitter HERE and via the website HERE

Tromso Skyrace logo

Episode 91 – Boulet Nichols Robbins Forsberg

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Episode 91 of Talk Ultra brings you with interviews Mont-Blanc 80km winner, Alex Nichols, we speak with WSER ladies winner Magdalena Boulet and we also chat with Gary Robbins about his FKT. Emelie Forsberg is back for a Smiles and Miles and this week Niandi Carmont co-hosts as Karl is getting ready for Speedgoat.

00:11:38 NEWS

Help Nepal – Nepal images ‘FACES of NEPAL’ – order a print and all funds donated to Nepal charities http://iancorless.org/2015/04/28/nepal-appeal-nepalearthquake/

HARDROCK 100

  1. Kilian Jornet 23:28 new CR and holds records both ways now
  2. Mike Foote 25:45
  3. Adam Campbell 26:49
  1. Anna Frost 28:22
  2. Darcy Piceu 28:57 won 3 times before
  3. Darla Askew 32:05

 

ICE TRAIL TARENTAISE article HERE

1 – Luis Alberto  HERNANDO 07:43:00

2 – Manuel MERILLAS MOLEDO 07:50:27

3 – Clement MOLLIET 07:54:29

1 – Emelie FORSBERG 09:17:21

2 – Magdalena LACZAK 09:30:37

3 – Anna STRAKOVA 09:48:46

FKT for Gary Robbins – In Washington on the 95-mile Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier, Gary Robbins ran 18:52 to cut just over two hours from Kyle Skaggs’s previous supported record, which had stood since 2006.

00:35:48 INTERVIEW

Gary Robbins

SCOTT JUREK completes the AT 46 days 8 hours 7 or is it 8 minutes? article HERE 

DOLOMITES SKYRACE article HERE

  1. Tadei Pivk 2:02:47
  2. Ionut Zinca 2:03:18
  3. Pascal Egli 2:03:46
  1. Megan Kimmel 2:25:57 – new CR
  2. Laura Orgue 2:26:58
  3. Elisa Desco 2:28:36

EIGER ULTRA TRAIL

  1. Caroline Chaverot 12:45
  2. Andrea Huser 12:52
  3. Francesca Canepa 13:13
  1. Urs Jenzer 11:44
  2. Jason Schlarb 11:50
  3. Davis Quelhas 12:27

MARCO DE GASPERI set a new FKT. He raced from Courmayeur up 15,780-foot Mont Blanc in 6:43:52, just under the previous 6:45:24 mark that had stood since 1995. The route covers nearly 50k while gaining 12,303 feet of elevation.

COLORADO 14ers RECORD After 9 days, 21 hours, and 51 minutes, Andrew Hamilton had climbed all 58 of Colorado’s 14000-foot peaks and was the new FKT holder.

01:27:00 INTERVIEW

AKEX NICHOLS

TALK TRAINING 

How to pick the correct shoe article HERE

02:11:26 INTERVIEW

MAGDALENA BOULET

02:54:23 SMILES AND MILES with Emelie Forsberg

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

New South Wales

Altra Centennial Park Ultra100km | 100 kilometers | August 02, 2015 | website

Altra Centennial Park Ultra 50km | 50 kilometers | August 02, 2015 | website

Queensland

Flinders Tour – 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 26, 2015 | website

Austria

Dirndltal Extrem Ultramarathon | 111 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Canada

Alberta

Canadian Death Race | 125 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Quebec

Pandora 24 Ultra X Trail 100M | 100 miles | July 25, 2015 | website

Ecuador

RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 | 250 kilometers | July 26, 2015 | website

Finland

Lapland

NUTS Midnight Sun Trail Ultra 125 km | 125 kilometers | July 24, 2015 | website

NUTS Midnight Sun Trail Ultra 55K | 55 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

France

Haute-Corse

Via Romana – 62 km | 62 kilometers | August 02, 2015 | website

Haute-Loire

La Loire Integrale | 1025 kilometers | August 05, 2015 | website

Haute-Savoie

Trail du Tour des Fiz | 61 kilometers | July 26, 2015 | website

Isère

Défi de l’Oisans | 200 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Trail de L’Etendard | 65 kilometers | August 02, 2015 | website

Jura

Tour du Lac de Vouglans | 71 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Savoie

Courchevel X Trail 54 km | 54 kilometers | August 02, 2015 | website

EDF Cenis Tour 50 | 50 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

EDF Cenis Tour 73 | 73 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

La 6000D | 63 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemgauer 100 k Mountain Ultra Run | 100 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Chiemgauer 100 mi Mountain Ultra Run | 100 miles | July 25, 2015 | website

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Juli | 108 kilometers | July 31, 2015 | website

Brandenburg

Berliner MauerwegNachtlauf | 62 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Lower Saxony

Süntel-Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Guadeloupe

Rèd Mammel | 50 kilometers | July 24, 2015 | website

Ultra Transkarukera | 120 kilometers | July 24, 2015 | website

India

Himachal Pradesh

The Himalayan Crossing | 353 kilometers | July 27, 2015 | website

The SPITI | 126 kilometers | July 30, 2015 | website

Indonesia

Les Foulées de la Soie en indonénie | 100 kilometers | August 06, 2015 | website

Mount Rinjani Ultra | 52 kilometers | August 07, 2015 | website

Ireland

Munster

Keith Whyte Waterfront Ultra Marathon | 36 miles | July 25, 2015 | website

Italy

Aosta Valley

Monte Rosa Walser Ultra Trail | 50 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Sicily

Etna Trail | 64 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol

Südtirol Ultra Skyrace – 121 km | 121 kilometers | July 24, 2015 | website

Südtirol Ultra Skyrace – 66 km | 66 kilometers | July 24, 2015 | website

Veneto

Trans d’Havet Ultra | 80 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Latvia

Cēsis ECO Trail 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Madagascar

Isalo Raid – Grand Raid | 80 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Mauritius

Trail des 7 Couleurs | 120 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Mongolia

Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset 100K | 100 kilometers | August 05, 2015 | website

Peru

Moyobamba Trail Running Festival | 80 kilometers | July 26, 2015 | website

Philippines

TransCebu Ultramarathon 105 Km | 105 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

TransCebu Ultramarathon 55 Km | 55 kilometers | July 26, 2015 | website

Portugal

Ultra-Trail Nocturno da Lagoa de Óbidos | 50 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Réunion

Trail du Grand Ouest | 60 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Russia

Elbrus Mountain Race by adidas outdoor | 105 kilometers | July 30, 2015 | website

Golden Ring Ultra Trail | 50 kilometers | August 02, 2015 | website

Golden Ring Ultra Trail 100 | 100 kilometers | August 02, 2015 | website

Singapore

50 km | 50 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Spain

Aragon

Calcenada Vuelta al Moncayo – 104 km | 104 kilometers | August 07, 2015 | website

Gran Trail Aneto-Posets | 109 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Vuelta al Aneto | 58 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Cantabria

Trail La Herradura de Campoo – 55 km | 55 kilometers | July 26, 2015 | website

Trail La Herradura de Campoo – Trail Etapas 28+32 | 60 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Catalonia

Ultra Catllaràs | 55 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Principality of Asturias

Ultra Trail DesafíOSOmiedo | 86 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Sweden

Tierra Arctic Ultra | 120 kilometers | August 07, 2015 | website

Switzerland

Grisons

Swiss Alpine Marathon K78 | 78 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Obwald

MOUNTAINMAN Ultra | 80 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Ticino

Ultra Race – 130 km | 128 kilometers | August 07, 2015 | website

Ultra Race – 80 km | 81 kilometers | August 07, 2015 | website

Valais

La Spéci-Men | 72 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Turkey

RunFire Cappadocia Ultra Marathon | 220 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

East Riding of Yorkshire

The Montane Lakeland 100 | 100 miles | July 24, 2015 | website

The Montane Lakeland 50 | 50 miles | July 25, 2015 | website

England

Round the Rock | 48 miles | August 01, 2015 | website

Round the Rock Ultra Marathon | 48 miles | August 01, 2015 | website

Hampshire

Oxfam Trailwalker GB (South) | 100 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Stirling

Devil o’ the Highlands Footrace | 43 miles | August 01, 2015 | website

USA

Alaska

Resurrection Pass 100 Mile Ultra Trail | 100 miles | August 07, 2015 | website

Arizona

Vertigo 63K Night Trail Run | 63 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Arkansas

Full mOOn 50K | 50 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

California

Angeles Crest 100 mile endurance run | 100 miles | August 01, 2015 | website

Badwater 135 | 135 miles | July 28, 2015 | website

Big Basin Trail Run 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 26, 2015 | website

Harding Hustle 50K | 50 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Montaña de Oro 50km | 50 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

San Francisco Ultramarathon | 52 miles | July 26, 2015 | website

Colorado

Grand Mesa 100M | 100 miles | July 25, 2015 | website

Grand Mesa 37.5M | 60 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Grand Mesa 50M | 50 miles | July 25, 2015 | website

Never Summer 100km | 100 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Ouray 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | July 31, 2015 | website

Ragnar Relay Colorado | 200 miles | August 07, 2015 | website

Wild West Relay | 200 miles | July 31, 2015 | website

Idaho

Wild Idaho 50K Enrudance Run | 50 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Wild Idaho 50M Enrudance Run | 50 miles | August 01, 2015 | website

Maine

Down East Sunrise Trail Team Relay | 102 miles | July 24, 2015 | website

Maryland

Catoctin 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Minnesota

Minnesota Voyageur Trail 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | July 25, 2015 | website

Montana

HURL Elkhorn 50 K Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

HURL Elkhorn 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | August 01, 2015 | website

Nevada

Ruby Mountain Relay | 184 miles | July 31, 2015 | website

North Carolina

Mattamuskeet Death March | 100 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

The March | 50 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Ohio

Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | July 25, 2015 | website

Burning River 50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | July 25, 2015 | website

Oregon

Cascade Lakes Relay | 132 miles | July 31, 2015 | website

Elkhorn Relay | 203 miles | August 07, 2015 | website

Relay | 132 miles | July 31, 2015 | website

Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run 50M | 50 miles | July 25, 2015 | website

Pennsylvania

Viaduct Trail 100 Mile Ultramarathon | 100 miles | August 01, 2015 | website

Viaduct Trail 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | August 01, 2015 | website

Texas

50K | 50 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Utah

Kat’cina Mosa 100K Mountain Challenge Run | 100 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Speedgoat 50K Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | July 25, 2015 | website

Ultra Adventure Tushars 100 Mile | 100 miles | July 31, 2015 | website

Ultra Adventure Tushars 93K | 93 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Vermont

Moosalamoo Ultra – 36 M | 36 miles | August 01, 2015 | website

Virginia

Dahlgren Heritage Rail Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

Washington

Bigfoot 200 Mile Endurance Run | 205 miles | August 07, 2015 | website

Grand Ridge 50K Trail Run (August) | 50 kilometers | August 01, 2015 | website

White River 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | July 25, 2015 | website

03:11:15 CLOSE

03:14:45

Show links:

Website – talkultra.com

Emelie Forsberg to race the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline

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It’s with great pleasure that I can announce that Salomon International Athlete, Skyrunning Ultra World Champion and recently crowned Skyrunning Ultra European Champion, Emelie Forsberg, will run the first edition of the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline (Scotland) in August 2015.

Speaking after the Dolomites VK and just before the Dolomites SkyRace (where she placed 4th) Emelie confirmed that she will travel to the UK on August 20th to participate in the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline.

Emelie in recent years has become one of the most important mountain/ skyrunners in the world after a string of high profile victories and podium performances in distances ranging from VK to 100-miles.

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Ironically, it all started in 2012 when Emelie raced The Three Peaks (UK) where she placed 2nd behind Sarah O’Neil. This race was quickly followed by running the iconic Zegama-Aizkorri where she placed 3rd after an incredible display of downhill running behind Oihana Kortazar and Nuria Picas. We knew then that Emelie was special!

Arguably, Emelie was unstoppable in 2013 and victory at Transvulcania Ultramarathon, Trans D’Havet and other high profile races only confirmed that a new multi-talented star was amongst us.

Known for her incredible strength, endurance and break neck downhill running, she has also become an inspiration to men and ladies all over the world by her infectious passion and love of life which she daily shares via social media. No matter how hard the race, no matter how tough the conditions are, no matter how bad she is feeling, Emelie is guaranteed to provide a smile.

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Emelie recently has an incredible start to 2015. A last minute decision to run Transvulcania Ultramarathon (off skis) was rewarding once again with a dominating victory. This was followed with a new course record and victory at the iconic Mount Marathon in Alaska.

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Just days after the Mount Marathon victory, Emelie raced the VK Face Bellevarde in Val d’Isere (as a loosen up) and then 2 days later won the 65km Ice Trail Tarentaise and was crowned Skyrunning European Champion 2015.

What a week! Mount Marathon and now European champion in ultra-distance Skyrunning! I’m really happy. I climbed summits and glacier and ran on beautiful trails. Thank you everyone standing along the course talking to me and cheering me on.”

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Never one to rest, 5 days after the ITT, Emelie ran the Dolomites VK and then placed 4th at the highly competitive Dolomites SkyRace just 2 days later.

“I need a little rest now but I am so looking forward to Scotland and this incredible course!”

Emelie’s presence in the UK is something that fans of mountain and trail running have wanted for some time, so, to finally have this come to fruition is extremely exciting. From day one my aim and desire with Skyrunning UK has been driven in providing UK runners challenging courses that would give them an insight into what is available in Europe. However, with careful planning and some great work with quality race directors, we are slowly but surely building a series of races that can offer a challenge to anyone! This was proven in 2014 when Stevie Kremer raced the Mourne Skyline MTR. Emelie’s presence in Scotland later this year is a dream come true but it’s only the beginning. I had a plan that in 3 years we would bring a host of world class talent to the UK to race and I can now see that coming to fruition, it’s a really exciting time!

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Shane Ohly form Ourea Events along with Gary Tompsett have worked tirelessly to put the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline race together and it hasn’t been without some raised eyebrows and concern (excellent article HERE). But the plan has been very clear from the start:

“We are not creating another mass participation fell or trail running event, but rather a world class Skyrunning course for experienced and competent participants. The Glen Coe Skyline is a fusion of mountain running and alpinism where competitors need to be skilled at both disciplines to negotiate the course.”

On hearing that Emelie would run the inaugural Salomon Glen Coe Skyline, Shane was very clear in his thought process:

“It is an honor that Emelie has decided to race at the inaugural Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and I am delighted that this world class Skyrunning course we have conceived has attracted a Skyrunning World and European Champion.”

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Emelie will not have an easy race! Finlay Wild, Es Tressider, Jim Mann and Dragons Back Race 2015 ladies champion (also 2nd overall) Jasmine Paris will also run the race.

‘We sincerely hope that aspirational races like the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline will contribute to the growth of the sport both in terms of participation and general awareness within the wider running and outdoor community within the UK,” said Ohly.

 

“I would love to see the same kind of community engagement and atmosphere at a UK SkyRace as I have personally experienced at European skyRaces like Zegama-Aizkorri. Certainly this is my goal for the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and we will be working hard to achieve this.”

The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ follows in the finest tradition of the most prestigious Skyrunning races, fusing mountain running and alpinism in a pure test of speed, endurance and skill on an uncompromising, world-class course.

The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ will take place on Saturday 22nd August 2015 and will be part of the Skyrunner UK Series. The event is only suitable for highly experienced competitors and all aspirant entrants will be vetted for experience.

Entries are limited to 200 max. The current entry list is HERE.

Information

Skyrunning UK can be found at www.skyrunninguk.com

The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline can be found at www.glencoeskyline.com

Contacts

Ian Corless – iancorless@skyrunninguk.co.uk

Shane Ohly – shaneohly@oureaevents.com

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Skyrunning Dolomites SkyRace 2015 – Race Images and Summary

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What an incredible day in the Dolomites as the 18th edition of the Skyrunning Dolomites SkyRace took place. At just 22km, this race has always been fast and furious and although great climbing ability is essential, the race can only be won with a great downhill too.

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Saul Paul Rodriguez and Laura Orgue (2014 champion) were the first 2 runners to reach the high point of the course, the summit of Piz Boe. In many respects, it was no surprise! These 2 athletes are VK specialists and this course without a doubt played into their hands.

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Megan Kimmel was always going to be a dark horse coming into this race, the American has excelled in Skyrunning races before, in particular the Mont-Blanc Marathon. At the summit, Kimmel trailed Orgue by a couple of minutes bet she unleashed an incredible display of downhill running to not only win the race but set a new course record in 2:25:57. Orgue after the race said she felt great, much better than in Friday’s VK and therefore she was happy, ‘I made a slight navigational mistake on the descent and lost time but I am happy!’

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Elisa Desco and Emelie Forsberg both made up ground and time on the descent and finished 3rd and 4th respectively.

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Race revelation, Pascal Egli follows Rodriguez up the climb and behind we had the usual contenders; Aritz Egea, Ionut Zinca and Tadei Pivk. Unfortunately, Rodriguez can’t descend as strongly as he climbs. Slowly but surely he was caught and passed by Egli, Zinca and Pivk.

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At break neck speed, these elite runners descended like stones rolling down a mountain and Pivk closed from 4th to take an impressive victory over Zinca 2nd and Egli 3rd. Rodriguez finally finished 4th.

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The Dolomites SkyRace is a classic Skyrunning race following the ethos and principles created by Giacometti in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Start low, run to the summit and come back down in the most direct and fastest way possible.

Long may the Dolomites SkyRace continue.

Results:

  1. Tadei Pivk 2:02:47
  2. Ionut Zinca 2:03:18
  3. Pascal Egli 2:03:46
  1. Megan Kimmel 2:25:57 – new CR
  2. Laura Orgue 2:26:58
  3. Elisa Desco 2:28:36

All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Skyrunning Dolomites VK 2015 – Race Summary

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The stunning VK course in Canazei was greeted with clear skies and warm sun as runners assembled at the start today for the 8th edition of the Skyrunning Dolomites VK.

 

First runners departed at 0930 but the elite runners had to wait till 1130 for the men and 1135 for the ladies before they were un-leashed on the tough, steep gradients that finish 1000m in the Sky!

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Urban Zemmer was the odds on favourite for the race and he started as he meant to go on; pushing from the front at a relentless pace that defied the gradient. However, Zemmer was not alone. Philip Goetsch slotted in behind him and marked him step-by-step.

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As they approached the final 150m, Goetsch was tucked in behind Zemmer drafting like a cyclist. In the finale 50m or so, he made his move and unleashed a devastating sprint that one would have though impossible on such a steep and rutted incline. So impressive was his performance that it resulted in a new course record!

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Zemmer held on for 2nd place with a clear margin and Saul Padua Rodriguez also jumped a place in the closing stages and moved from 4th to take the final podium place.

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Just as Zemmer was expected to dominate the men’s race, Laura Orgue was also hotly tipped as the ladies’ winner. Christel Dewalle didn’t agree with this prediction! Fresh from the Val d’Isere VK where she podiumed, Dewalle pushed this VK course to its limits and it was clear to see the determination and dedication in her eyes. She was victorious over surprise 2nd Eli Ann Dvergsdal and Laura Orgue placed 3rd.

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Attention now turns to the SkyRace on Sunday. Preview HERE

The field is stacked and we anticipate a battle royal in the men’s and ladies’ races.

  1. Christel Dewalle 00:38:21
  2. Eli Anne Dvergsdal 00:39:34
  3. Laura Orgué 00:40:02
  1. Philip Goetsch 00:32:38 – new CR
  2. Urban Zemmer 00:32:54
  3. Saul Padua Rodriguez 00:34:03

all images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Skyrunning Dolomites SkyRace 2015 – Race Preview

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600 athletes will take on the iconic Skyrunning Dolomites SkyRace on Sunday 19th July as the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series picks up pace hot on the heels of Zegama-Aizkorri. Azara Garcia and Tadei Pivk took top honours in Spain and they return to Italy looking for maximum points in the hope to win the 2015 series.

It’s going to be a serious battle though and one that will be hard fought.

The line up for the 2015 edition of the race is seriously impressive and we can guarantee a hot race both for the men and ladies as they race to the summit of Piz Boe and then descend as fast as possible back to the stunning Canazei.

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Christel Dewalle (4th last year) has been injured recently but turned up at the last min in Val d’Isere just last weekend and raced the VK and made the podium. It’s an ominous sign, Christel is a fierce competitor over the shorter distances and you can expect her to contest the front of the race ‘IF’ her level of fitness is back on track.

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Azara Garcia nailed Zegama-Aizkorri and therefore one has to expect her to be firing on all cylinders in Canazei. She raced the VK at Ice Trail Tarentaise last weekend but was out of the top 5, is that a sign that she may not be in 100% form?

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Megan Kimmel ran a stunning race at Mont-Blanc Marathon last year and may well be a surprise package. She doesn’t race in Europe often and this therefore will make her a dark horse. One to watch!

Anna Comet Is on the start list but I don’t think she will run after placing 5th at Ice Trail Tarentaise just last weekend. She said it was a below par performance and that she said she felt tired the whole race. No surprise after 2 great performances at Transvulcania Ultramarathon and Mont-Blanc 80km.

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Emelie Forsberg (2nd last year) has won Transvulcania Ultramarathon and last weekend won Ice Trail Tarentaise convincingly. If Emelie races (likely I think) she has all the potential to make the podium but if she does, it will be because she can descend so well. This race is a pure up and down race and a short one (22km) for Emelie. She will have a real fight on her hands to make the podium. Expect a blistering descent as we saw at Mount Marathon in Alaska recently.

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Laura Orgue (last years winner) may very well be the first lady to the summit of Piz Boe. Her climbing ability is quite incredible as she has shown time and time again on the VK circuit. However, her descending is not as good as some of the other ladies in the race and that is what makes this race so exciting. Should Laura be first to the summit, will she have enough of a gap to hold off the challengers? One year on from last years race and I am sure Laura has worked on this. A hot contender for victory and defending champion!

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Elisa Desco climbs and descends with the best in the world and is a consistent performer over the Sky distance. This race at 22km is an ideal distance for her but I think she would like some flatter run sections to use her speed. At Zegama-Aizkorri she had a tough race and gave it everything, expect no less here!

Hanny Allston is the surprise package from the Southern Hemisphere and all my Aussie friends have been telling me ‘keep an eye on this lady!’ So, keep an eye on this lady. Hanny has had success early season and she will be looking to build on that in a European race.

Mira Rai is the Nepalese sensation who just won the Mont-Blanc 80km on the back of a string of other top 5 places. An incredible talent, this 22km race will almost certainly test her. Fast and furious is what is required and the learning curve may well be a steep one. One thing is for sure, Mira’s talent and smile will sine through.

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Oihana Kortazar another hot contender for the podium who loves to race shorter distances. She can climb and descend with the best as her performances at Zegama-Aizkorri in recent years have shown. She placed 3rd at the latest edition behind Azara Garcia and Paula Cabrezo.

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Kasie Enman is the last hot contender and key podium challenger. Kasie has been racing in the US recently and just had a joint victory with Stevie Kremer at one of the latest US Skyrunning races – White Face SkyRace. Kasie won Trofeo Kima in 2014 and was pushing the pace in all the other Skyrunning races. An abundance of speed is key and the addition of great technical skills make Kasie a potential winner.

Magdalena Kozielska (5th last year) is not someone I know a great deal about. But the numbers speak for themselves, 5th last year!

Finally, Stephanie Jimenez (7th last year) is a consistent performer and strong performer over the shorter distance races. The Dolomites SkyRace is a stacked field and although we can expect a performance that adds to pressure to the front of the race, it would take a great performance to impact on the podium.

Maite Maiora may run? This hasn’t been confirmed yet. If she does, I would add her to one of the hot contenders for victory. In the last 18 months, Maite has learnt to race over the longer distances as well as excelling over the shorter distances. She placed 3rd last year in Canazei.

This race is too close to call! Below is a list of the entire elite field, I may have missed someone?

 

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Manuel Merillas (4th last year) raised heads in 2014 and in 2015 we are all fully attentive of this young talent. A great run at Zegama-Aizkorri compensated Manuel for a below par performance at Transvulcania Ultramarathon. His recent 2nd place behind Luis Alberto Hernando at Ice Trail Tarentaise (last weekend) confirmed his ability. However, does the Dolomites come too close from a big effort in Val d’Isere? I would normally tip Manuel for the win, especially in a race this short, I just wonder though if he will have that extra 5% missing?

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Aritz Egea (8th last year) is on fire this year and his performances have gone up a notch. He has an outside chance of a podium place (3rd) here at the Dolomites and if he has one of those days, he may well win. But the competition is fierce.

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Michel Lanne produced a stunning run at Mont-Blanc Marathon last year and embraces a pure mountain race with the best of them. I do think that 22km is an ideal distance for him, maybe a little too short? He is a contender for sure.

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Alexis Sevennec (5th last year) is always there or thereabouts and we can expect his presence to be felt almost certainly within the top 10, I am just not sure he has all that that is required to add pressure to the top 3 in this field but top 5 as last year is possible.

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Ionut Zinca is one of the hot favourites for the victory as he was 2nd behind Kilian Jornet. A consistent performer over the Sky distance, he has the climbing and descending ability to dominate this race has he has done in the past. Odds on favourite for victory!

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Tadei Pivk (3rd last year) nailed Zegama-Aizkorri and that elevates his odd for Canazei as a likely contender for the podium. Can he win? Of course he can.

Pere Rullan was a surprise 3rd place at Zegama-Aizkorri and with valuable SWS points gained, we can be sure that he will be looking to keep that consistency going in Canazei.

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Thorbjorn Ludvigsen (7th last year) may well push the front of the race. He excels at going uphill extremely quickly as he has proven at multiple VK’s on the circuit, particularly in Canazei. In addition, he raced the Dolomites SkyRace in 2014 and placed 7th.

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My last hot favourite for the podium and victory is Brit, Tom Owens (12th last year). This race has Tom’s name written all over it. Straight up, straight down, as fast as you can. It’s just like a fell race which Tom excels at. Recently though, Tom has been racing the longer Skyrunning events which may impact on his short distance speed? I still think though that he is a podium contender and potential winner should all things go well.

Like the ladies’ race, the Dolomites SkyRace is bringing in a plethora of top male talent. There are 10 names below to keep an eye on and a full elite start list is listed below this post just in case I have missed anyone.

  • Hassan Ait Chaou
  • Jokin Lizeaga
  • Inaki Uribe-Etxebarria
  • Jessed Hernandez
  • Francesc Soler
  • Nil Cardona
  • Paolo Longo
  • Blake Hose  will not run
  • Martin Gaffuri
  • Dai Matsumoto

As per usual you will be able to view images from the race with results and report on this website.

Follow on Facebook at facebook.com/iancorlessphotography on Instagram @iancorlessphotography on Twitter @talkultra 

Skyrunning.com is the official resource for all things Skyrunning and you can access the website HERE, Facebook page HERE and Twitter HERE

*****

Lauri van Houten from the ISF writes about Friday’s VK below and your can read the ISF post HERE:

Tomorrow’s Vertical Kilometer® is headed by reigning world champion and 2014 record holder, Laura Orguè, fresh from her win at the recent Face de Bellevarde VK. The men’s field is led by Urban Zemmer, on the top rung of the 2014 ISF ranking.

The deep women’s field continues with Emelie Forsberg together with Salomon team mates Oihana Kortazar, Stephanie Jimenez, Kasie Enman and Paula Cabrerizio, the new Skyrunning European Vertical Champion; and top names Christel Dewalle (adidas) and Azara Garcia (Compressport) among others.

Urban Zemmer is accompanied on the La Sportiva team by top vertical specialists, Nejc Kuhar, Marco Moletto, Nadir Maguet and William Bon Mardion. Salomon will contribute Thorbjorn Ludvigsen and Remi Bonnet, and other top runners include Ferran Teixido (FEEC), Saul Padua Rodriguez, Eirik Haugsness (inov8) and many more…

*****

Elite Start List for the SkyRace:

CHRISTEL DEWALLE
AZARA GARCIA DE LOS SALMONES MARCANO
MANUEL MERILLAS
LUCA CARRARA
MATTEO PILLER HOFFER
PAOLO LAZZARA
MICHELE VICARIO
FABIO DELLA PIETRA
ANDREA DE BONA
OSCAR CASAL MIR
MARC CASAL MIR
MEGAN KIMMEL
EVA MARÍA MOREDA GABALDÓN
ANTONIO ROLDAN MERCADAL
JAN HAVLICEK
ANETA KOCOURKOVA
IVONA KREJCIRIKOVA
TOMAS LICHY
PETR MIL
HASSAN AIT CHAOU
DABID GARCIA
IBAN LETAMENDI
JOKIN LIZEAGA
IÑAKI URIBE-ETXEBARRIA
NAHIA QUINCOCES
AITZIBER IBARBIA
LEIRE AGIRREZABALA
ELENA CALVILLO
UXOA IRIGOIEN
ARITZ EGEA
JESSED HERNANDEZ
PERE RULLAN
PERE AURELL
FRANCESC SOLER
NIL CARDONA
ERIC MOYA
FRANCESC MARTI
DIEGO ARROYO MAZORRA
PALOMA LOBERA
ANNA COMET
MARTA MOLIST CODINA
RAGNA DEBATS
PAOLO BERT
LISA BUZZONI
CHIARA GIANOLA
PAOLO LONGO
MICHELE TAVERNARO
CHRISTIAN VARESCO
MAGDALENA KOZIELSKA
ALEXANDER CHERVYAKOV
NADEZDA KOROLYATINA
EVGENY MARKOV
DMITRY MITYAEV
EKATERINA MITYAEVA
NATALIA NESCHERET
STANISLAV SABOKAR
EMELIE FORSBERG
BLAKE HOSE
MICHEL LANNE
THORBJORN LUDVIGSEN
LAURA ORGUE
TOM OWENS
MIRKO BERNER
ELISA DESCO
MARTIN GAFFURI
ALEXIS SEVENNEC
IONUT ZINCA
HANNY ALLSTON
ANDREAS KLINGLER
TADEI PIVK
MARIA DIMITRA THEOCHARIS

 

Bruno Brunod – Meeting a Skyrunning Legend

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I left Val d’Isere yesterday in the shadow of the stunning Grand Motte. An exciting weekend of racing over, VK on Friday and Ultra on Sunday. This weekend I am in the Dolomites for the Dolomites VK and the legendary Dolomites SkyRace. With several days to kill but plenty of work to do, it was decided we would transit via Cervinia and the Matterhorn. After all it’s the home of Skyrunning.

Driving up through the valley leading to the impressive and dominating mountain, Marino (ISF President) pulls over to the right of the road and stops abruptly. “I think Bruno is working here?”

Bruno Brunod (along with Meraldi and of course Giacometti) is a legend in Skyrunning. He was and is the pioneer of the sport that Marino Giacometti created way back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. A builder by trade, Bruno moved away from running for 7 years but he is now back and in recent years he has run the Tor des Geants twice and returns again this year!

Monte Rosa, Aconcagua, Monte Elbert, Kilimanjaro and of course the Matterhorn. Bruno’s history in the sport has been a direct influence on the career on Kilian Jornet. In real terms, Bruno was instrumental in Kilian’s successful Matterhorn record in 2013. Bruno predicted (down to the minute) that Kilian would run 2 hours and 52 minutes. As we all know, Kilian hit the mark on the head (read my in-depth interview with Kilian HERE).

View Skyrunning records HERE

I have met Bruno before, but it was more in passing.

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Bruno and Marino embrace each other as brothers, old friends, partners in crime; a mutual appreciation for what both have achieved in life.

“I am just going to go for a run,” says Bruno.

The two chat and I seize an opportunity to finally capture a couple of impromptu portraits. Bruno is a simple man and some would say shy, certainly when a camera is concerned.

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It’s a case of seizing a moment but seizing a moment in a natural environment. In a ‘safe zone’ so to speak.

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Having started work at 0700, grafting on a mountain house for 12 hours, Bruno will now head off on to the trails for a 90 minute run.

Tor des Giants is not far away!

And with a ‘Ciao!’ he is gone.

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Ice Trail Tarentaise 2015 – Skyrunning European Championships

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Emelie Forsberg & Luis Alberto Hernando

2015 Skyrunning European Champions

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Luis Alberto Hernando and Emelie Forsberg do the double! Skyrunning World Champions (2015) and now 2015 Skyrunning European Champion at the Ice Trail Tarentaise, Val d’Isere.

Following on from respective Transvulcania Ultramarathon victories, the dynamic duo of Hernando and Forsberg once again showed the Skyrunning ultra runners that they are the ones to beat.

Hernando was pushed close by rising star Manuel Merillas whereas Forsberg had a clear run to the line despite finding the conditions tough.

Magdalena Laczak fulfilled her potential by taking the 2nd place on the ladies podium and it was a blast from the past Anna Strakova put in a final surge for the final podium spot.

In the men’s race, Fulvio Dapit looked certain to take the final podium place but complained his legs were shot on the final climb.  Clement Molliet seized an opportunity and relegated Dapit off the podium.

RACE LEADERS

1 – Luis Alberto  HERNANDO 07:43:00

2 – Manuel MERILLAS MOLEDO 07:50:27

3 – Clement MOLLIET 07:54:29

WOMEN RACE LEADERS

1 – Emelie FORSBERG 09:17:21

2 – Magdalena LACZAK 09:30:37

3 – Anna STRAKOVA 09:48:46

More news and a detailed race report to follow.

Here is a selection of images from the day all ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Kilomètre Vertical Face De Bellevarde 2015 – Val d’Isere

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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 and Val d’Isere re connected with the ethos of the VK using the Olympic Bellevarde Face in 2014. 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.

Previous Records: 

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

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

GONON and ORGUE shine on a sunny day in Val d’Isere

Following on from the Chamonix vertical kilometre, François Gonon today once again showed his competition a clean pair of heels to take victory in the 2015 Kilomètre Vertical Face De Bellevarde. Powering up the climb with hands-on-knees, Gonon was one of the few participants in the race not using poles. A disadvantage many thought but Gonon proved everyone wrong and won the race in true style in a time of 35:09.

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Yoann Sert placed 2nd and 2014 winner Nejc Kuhar placed 3rd but it was a close race, the duo were separated by seconds! 35:53 to 35:58.

VK races often have different start procedures. For example in Chamonix, runners depart every 30-seconds. In the Dolomites (next weekend) a series of small group starts will take place with approximately 25 runners per group. In Val d’Isere it was an individual start. This can prove difficult! Similar to the race of truth in the Tour de France, the runners must pace themselves and judge their effort over 1000m not knowing if they are gaining or loosing time.

In the ladies race, Laura Orgue one again showed supreme climbing ability in winning the ladies race and in doing so set a new course record! Antonella Confortola’s 2002 time of 42:48 has now been reset at 40:57.

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Christel Dewalle has been struggling with injury recently and although on the start list we were under the impression that she would not start. Her decision to race was a good one! Dewalle placed 2nd in 41:16 which also broke the old course record.

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The final ladies podium place went to Vanesa Ortega who completed the distance in 44:05.

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 2015 Skyrunner® World Series and will be followed by the Ice Trail Tarentaise 2-days later (preview for the ITT HERE)

Skyrunning Ice Trail Tarentaise 2015 Race Preview #ITT2015

 

©iancorless.comIMG_0945The stunning alpine village of Val d’Isère is the official home of the next two races in the Skyrunner® calendar, the Ice Trail Tarentaise which is the Skyrunning Continental Championship for the Ultra distance and the Bellevarde Vertical Kilometer the first VK in the Skyrunner® World Series.

Val d’Isere is a haven for alpinists wanting to test themselves on the iconic slopes of Meribel, Val Thorens, Courchavel; it is affectionately known as the ‘Le Trois Vallees’. The Ice Trail Tarentaise (ITT) starts and concludes in this beautiful mountain retreat.

The ITT has over 60 km’s above 2000m altitude and with a highest point of 3653m at ‘Grande Motte.’ In just a couple of years, the race has gained a reputation for being one of the most ‘extreme’ races in the Skyrunner® calendar, it is a race not to be taken lightly!

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Traversing glaciers, ascending and descending summits such as ‘Aiguille Pers’ at 3386m, ropes, ladders, way markers, peaks at over 3000m and 5000m +/- ascent and descent guarantees that not everyone will see the finishing tape. The ITT is very true to the heritage of Skyrunning and it harks back to the late 80’s and early 90’s when ISF President, Marino Giacometti pioneered a new form of Alpinism.

 

Who is running?

Men

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ITT has always had a high quality field assemble and 2015 is no different. Luis Alberto Hernando heads up the men’s field after his recent victory at Transvulcania Ultramarathon and placing 2nd at the IAU World Trail Championships. Luis ran ITT last year but pulled out whilst in 2nd place. I am convinced that we won’t see that happen this year and for me, Luis is the hot favourite for victory. He is without doubt in his element on tough courses (with snow) between the 50-100km distance.

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Manuel Merillas is a rising star in Skyrunning and had an incredible 2014. He placed 5th at ITT in 2014, which will most definitely provide him with a great deal of experience coming into the 2015 edition. The recent Transvulcania Ultramarathon did not go well for Manuel; he looked primed for the podium in the first half of the race but then struggled in the latter stages to finish outside the top 10. He showed amazing powers of recovery by bouncing back just 1 week later at Zegama-Aizkorri and placing 2nd. One to watch!

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Fabien Antolinus had a great race in 2014 and placed 2nd behind Francois d’Haene. He does however seem to blow hot and cold and can be a little unpredictable. For sure, he has all the skills and talent required to perform at the highest level. He may well be a podium contender but I don’t see him toppling Luis.

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Pablo Villa shot to our attention in 2014 when he had a great run at Transvulcania Ultramarathon. Shifting sponsors (now Salomon) he backed that performance up with 8th at the 2015 edition of the race. Pablo is a top 10 contender and should he have a great day, the top 5 may well be a possibility.

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Fulvio Dapit has all the potential to make the podium at ITT. On his day, he is a superb mountain runner and he excels when the terrain is ‘challenging.’ He placed 4th at ITT in the last edition. Recently though he had a tough performance at Lavaredo, however, he did pull out and that may well have saved his ITT performance.

French champion (2013), Sebastien Spehler had victories at TTN and 6000D in 2014. His recent form is a little unknown but he may well make the top 10?

Benoit Cori placed 13th at the IAU World Trail Championships and won Templiers in 2014. The ITT course is far removed from both those courses but Benoit obviously has speed.

Marcin Swierc is another runner who will make his presence felt in the top 10. He placed 8th at Mont-Blanc Marathon and 9th at Templiers and 4th at the recent Mont-Blanc 80km. So it is clear to see that he has speed and strength. ITT adds other aspects and his final result will very much depend on how he can handle snow, ice and additional technical running.

Christophe Perillat is not a runner I know a great deal about. However, he did place 2nd at the 2014 CCC. So with that in mind, he is no slouch in the mountains.

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Cyril Cointre may well start the race? I need to have this confirmed. If he does, he will be a contender at the front of the race. He races extensively, some may say too much but despite this, he always pulls out the results. Recently he finished ahead of Anton Krupicka at Transgrancanaria.

Franco Colle knows how to run in the mountains; look at his results at Tor des Geants. The ITT terrain will suit him but will it be too short and too fast? He certainly performed exceptionally well at Mont-Blanc 80k when he placed 2nd behind Alex Nichols.

Several other names on the start sheet jump out at me:

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Zigor Iturrieta has been there and done it in racing. I was last at a race with him in Nepal when he ran Everest Trail Race (he placed 3rd) and he always manages to pull out the stops for strong consistent results.

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Pavel Paloncy is a renowned adventure racer, 2-x winner of the UK’s Spine Race and recently raced The Dragons Back and would have placed well overall had it not been for a bad fall on day 1. Pavel is a strong and gritty runner. I do wonder though if this race may be too short and too fast for Pavel?

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Stuart Air from the UK has run well at ITT before and top 10 would be a great result.

Ones to watch:

Daniel Garcia, Jessed Hernandez, Robert Niewland, Pawel Dybek,

 

Ladies

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Emelie Forsberg has won ITT 2 x and I have no reason to doubt or question that she will do it again. It’s a course she loves, the terrain suits her and she has great memories. Last weekend she won and set a new course record in Alaska at Mount Marathon. It was 50-minute race but just today (Tuesday) she said her legs are tired! I think they will be okay for the weekend. Her performance and victory (off ski’s) at Transvulcania Ultramarathon in 2015 confirms that Emelie is the one to beat!

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Anna Comet Pascua is on fire at the moment. I witnessed Anna win Everest Trail Race at the end of 2014 and she said then that she planned to race the Skyrunning circuit in 2015. A podium place at Transvulcania Ultramarathon and then a follow up podium behind Mira Rai at Mont-Blanc 80km confirms that Anna is doing something right. Just as in La Palma, I don’t think Anna has the race to beat Emelie but anything can happen?

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It will not be an easy ride for Emelie and Maud Gobert will make sure of that. Maud placed 2nd at ITT in 2014 and although she races lees now than in the past, on her day she can still make her presence felt.

Anne Lise Rousset placed 4th at the IAU World Championships and although she has great potential for top 5 or maybe even the podium, I don’t see her coming close to Emelie on a course like this.

Magdalena Laczack however may well prove to be the dark horse of the race and is my top tip for 2nd place and should Emelie falter, Magdalena could possibly take the victory? Her 3rd place behind Emelie and Frosty at the Skyrunning World Championships (80km) in Chamonix confirms this.

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Nuria Dominguez is an ever present on the Skyrunning circuit and always gets the job done. She has placed top 10 at Transgrancanaria, Zegama-Aizkorri, Dolomites SkyRace, Trans D’Havet, Limone Extreme and so on. Top 5 is a distinct possibility and most certainly a podium contender on a good day!

Beth Cardelli is one of the strongest runners in the Southern Hemisphere and won one of the shorter races at ITT in 2013. Climbing and long distance running is her forte and I am sure if she is making the journey from Australia she will be fired up for a great run. Recently she placed 4th at Mt Difficulty and 3rd at Buffalo Stampede when Landie Greyling topped the podium.

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Ester Alves seems to be running everything at the moment. I would say ‘too much’ for her to have any potential for the podium at ITT but she may well make the top 5 and top 10 should be guaranteed if all goes well. Recently she placed 2nd behind Stevie Kremer at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira.

Ones to watch:

Ragna Debats, Frederica Boifava, Anna Strakova, Sarah Vieuielle and Virginie Govignon.

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The Ice Trail Tarentaise weekend is also renowned for the Bellevarde Vertical Kilometer, which was reintroduced in 2014.

The course is a tough one, which may include snow although this looks unlikely after recent high temperatures throughout Europe. This race may well prove to be very exciting, as Francois Gonon will run after his recent excellent CR on the vertical slopes in Chamonix.

Ones to watch:

Men

  • Francois Gonon
  • Nejc Kuhar
  • Marco Moletto
  • Ferran Teixido
  • Xavier Teixido
  • William Bon Mardion
  • Eirik Haugsness
  • Remi Bonnet

 

Ladies

  • Laura Orgue
  • Stephanie Jimenez
  • Emelie Forsberg (tbc)
  • Azara Garcia
  • Therese Sjursen
  • Erika Forni
  • Serena Vittori
  • Ekaterina Mityaev
  • Zhana Vokueva

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