Marco De Gasperi – Vertical Kilometer® Hints ‘n’ Tips

Marco De Gasperi ©iancorless.com

Marco De Gasperi is a legend of mountain and Skyrunning. At the age of 16 he gained special permission to climb Monte Rosa with ISF president, Marino Giacometti and a small group of like-minded adrenaline filled mountaineers. It was the birth of Skyrunning.

The rest his history, Marco has six-world titles and a list of victories from races all over the world. Today at 36-years old, Marco is still one of the few runners who can push Kilian Jornet all the way to the line. In 2013 he did just that with an incredible race at Mont-Blanc Marathon and once again at the Dolomites SkyRace.

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Born in Bormio (in the Alps) a hub for skiing and short-track skating. Living at 1200m provided Marco with advantages, however, he only found his true vocation at the age of 10-years. Marco had tried to adapt to Skiing and Nordic Skiing but the reality was soon apparent; he just didn’t have the required size and bulk required to be competitive. The mountains beckoned; daily he would leave the town, climb a peak and return in the same day.

At 12-years old an encounter with Adriano Greco introduced him to the winter past time of ski mountaineering and running in the summer months. Adriano was very much a coach and guide for Marco. He was introduced to a new aspect of sport, a new discipline that was at its birth. In 1994, Marco ran his first Vertical Kilometer® on the slopes of the Matterhorn.

Marco’s knowledge is invaluable in regard to mountains and how to run them! I chatted to the ‘legend’ while he was helping to coach future stars of the sport on a training camp in Portugal

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Do you do any specific training for a Vertical Kilometer®?

My season always includes mountain races and races with plenty of climbing, so, I like to devote myself with specific training in the gym to build strength. For example, I use leg extension, leg press and other exercises such as squats. I also do up and down reps on a large box (60cm high), this is great for strength and endurance. It is also important to apply yourself outside and of course finding a steep incline of 30% and running at a smooth and consistent pace is ideal; it’s difficult to run all the way but I always try.

The Vertical Kilometer® is very demanding and runners incorporate different techniques to reach the summit in the fastest and most efficient way. Hands-on-knees and ‘poles’ are two methods; do you have a preference?

Application very much depends on the individual needs and demands of each runner and the course. For example, you will find many VK specialists come from a Ski Mountaineering background and therefore they are very well adapted and practiced with the use of poles. Certainly, when slopes become much steeper, poles offer an advantage as they help balance the center of gravity and thus provide a more advantageous position. In principal though, I prefer to try and run!

Marco De Gasperi ©iancorless.com

Aerobically it is very easy to just ‘tip over the edge’ with a VK, do you have any special techniques in training to help to pace yourself?

You need to train and understand the muscular and mental aspects that are required to race a VK well. The correct pace is easy to find if your mind is prepared for the challenge ahead. Take long hills in training at an easy pace, try to keep running and enjoy the process have fun! If I don’t have the possibility to train on long steep hills I like to find a short hill that is steep and I do reps at a faster pace than racing… I walk back down to allow recovery and then repeat

Walking for many will be a key element of a successful VK. I am well aware that you will try to run as much as possible. However, do you practice walking?

Long and steep mountains are very difficult, it’s all about efficiency and yes, sometimes it is far more efficient to walk. It’s about balance; I run for as long as possible but a good climber knows when to switch to maintain rhythm and speed. You want to avoid building up too much lactic acid. I consider myself to be a good ‘walker’ and I am happy to switch as and when required. As for practice, no not really, just go out in the mountains and hike. It’s a perfect way to combine fun and training.

Marco De Gasperi ©iancorless.com

You have already mentioned indoor training and strength work. Have you ever trained on a treadmill and what about core and stability training?

Core and stability is very important, without doubt it provides benefits. Every week I do 3-4 sessions of five key exercises to work on this. In regard to a treadmill; it’s not the best way to train for a VK but maybe you have limited options? It can obviously be better than nothing. Just make sure you have it at an incline and work hard.

In regard to particular VK training, is it better to train on shorter or longer mountains; do you have a preference?

I have many years in the sport, in my opinion; I think that too many long mountains are not good for the specific demands of a VK. In particular, as a race approaches keep sessions in the 30-50 minute bracket.

Tricky question for you Marco, other than yourself (obviously) who do you regard to be the best runners at the VK distance?

You are very kind! I am going to split this. Urban Zemmer with poles, Berny Dermatteis without using poles and Valentina Belotti. I guess it comes as no surprise that these runners are all Italian but the records show that they have the fastest times.

Finally Marco, if you had to provide three invaluable tips for running a Vertical Kilometer® what would they be?

  1. Do 6-7 reps 3 times on a trail that is not too steep, rest by walking down.
  2. Make sure you have easier days between hard sessions
  3. To race and perform well on race day, your legs must be very relaxed and recovered.

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Marco De Gasperi is a true champion, not only on the trails and slopes of the mountains but also off them. A gentleman, professional and perfect ambassador for our sport, he gives of his time and experience freely.

As always, it’s a pleasure to speak and learn more about such a wonderful athlete. Thanks Marco!

SWS Vertical Kilometer® Calendar 2014

SPAIN: Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer® - May 8
FRANCE: VK Face de Bellevarde, Val d’Isère – July 11
ITALY: Dolomites Vertical Kilometer®, Canazei – July 18
USA: Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer® - September 12
ITALY:  Vertical Grèste de la Mughéra, Limone sul Garda – October 10

Links:

Skyrunner® goes nationwide

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Ten years on and the Skyrunner® World Series goes nationwide. The successful 15-race model with three distances, Vertical, Sky and Ultra, will be reproduced, where possible, in many ISF member countries, which currently count 27.

Earlier last year, France was the first country to launch the Skyrunner® National Series which includes some of the best races in the country in the 42 km to 80 km range.  USA followed in December with a full calendar featuring five Sky, five Ultra and four Verticals.

National Series Logo

South Africa launched with three SkyMarathons and the new, much acclaimed Lesotho Ultra Trail in November.  Two more races are to be announced.

The UK as we know, lacks the higher altitude common to skyrunning, but it lacks nothing of the tough, challenging courses that have produced skyrunning stars of the highest level.  The first race announced earlier this month has 4,000m of vertical gain over 80 km – enough to satisfy even the most demanding Skyrunner.

Today, Italy, birthplace of skyrunning, announces their calendar, which perfectly reproduces the World Series format with five races in each discipline – Vertical, Sky and Ultra. In a country that boasts over 120 affiliated races and 90 associations, the calendar is spoilt for choice.  The National Series was created to mirror the SWS format and includes some of the country’s top races, such as the Giir di Mont, the Trans D’Havet (last year’s European Ultra Championships) and the Cervino Vertical K, where the first Vertical Kilometer took place 20 years ago at the foot of the Matterhorn.  The Italian Championships (one race per discipline), will be announced at the end of the month.

The concept of launching National Series lies in promoting the skyrunning philosophy at grass roots level and to offer runners in many different countries an opportunity to experience the skyrunning concept on home ground – to participate in well-organised, quality events with the passionate support of organisers and supporters; to enjoy spectacular courses that embody the skyrunning spirit; to push themselves further and higher on challenging terrain; to enjoy strong competition and, to reap the rewards of race and Series’ prize money.  The winners of each Series will win a place in the 2014 World Series finals (or the first 2015 races) together with travel contributions and other benefits.

Particularly welcome has been the response from National Series organisers to create races and circuits that reflect the spirit and the values of skyrunning and where, no doubt, future stars will emerge.

 Other National Series are in the pipeline, starting with one of skyrunning’s most important countries for both races and runners, Spain and Andorra.

Following on will be announcements from Australia & New Zealand, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Russia…

Skyrunner® France Series

Skyrunner® USA Series

iRunFar - an in-depth article on the US Series launch

Skyrunner® South Africa Series

Skyrunner® UK Series

Spain’s Carreraspormontana - report

Skyrunner® Italy Series

100km del Sahara, April 2014

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An adventure, an experience, a stepping stone to something else… the 100km Sahara is multi-day race that will introduce you to a whole new world. Join the journey in April, 2014. 

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Irrespective of your experience, the 100km of the Sahara will provide every participant a definitive sporting accomplishment. For some it may well provide the ultimate challenge, while for others, it may become a launching pad for continued participation in highly demanding extreme running races. The spirit of the race combines many elements; travel, adventure, excitement and ultimately a challenge.
 Pursue your dreams, pursue your passions and let the 100km of the Sahara provide you with a gateway to a new world.

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An annual race taking place over multiple days, participants test themselves against the challenge of running against the desert, while accepting the minimal assistance that is needed. The Sahara is fascinating, however it is one of the least suitable environments for running. If it was easy, anyone would do it… take yourself to a new level, add a new stimulus to your running. The Sahara will not only test your physical parameters but your capacity to control your mind.

Achieve your finish line!

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DETAILS:

The “100 km of Sahara” maintains a departure from the oasis of Ksar Ghilane, in the great Eastern Erg for the 2014, 16th edition of the race. The arrival; the mythical oasis of Douz will be achieved after travelling 100 km’s in 4-stages with 3-nights undertaken in a tented camp.

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The race itinerary is 7 days 6 nights. This competition is designed to bring out the spirit of challenge for those who create their own adventure. The race will have all the necessary ingredients of the extreme, but provides a race structure and format that is accessible to all. It’s a tough race but a race that is possible for all levels of ability!

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The 100 km of Sahara is a qualifying race for the UTMB Race and will count for 2 points.

CourseQualificative2014_EN

Capacity, 150-people.

  • Program flight included € 1.840 Milan or Rome
  • Program without flight € 1.640 
  • Single supplement (3 nights in hotel) € 100

The participation fee includes:

  • Flight to and from Djerba from Italy (only in the program with flight),
  • Transfers by bus and by 4×4 cars,
  • Full board for the whole week,
  • 3 nights in hotel and 3 nights in tents (6 people each),
  • Medical assistance during the race,
  • Tourist assistance,
  • Insurance.

During the race, a catering service provides food for all participants. All produce comes from Italy with the exception of fresh fruits and vegetables; they will be sourced locally in Tunisia. The menu will be balanced and based around runner’s needs and requirements.

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  • Breakfast: 
Coffee, tea, milk, cookies, cakes, fresh bread, jam, honey, muesli, cereals, eggs, cooked ham, cheese, fruits
  • Light lunch: 
Pasta or rice, hot or cold dish of meet, hot or cold side dish, salami and cold pork meat, Parmesan cheese, tuna, tomato salad, fruits
  • Dinner: 
Appetizers, pasta, rice, vegetable soup and broth, hot dishes of meet, hot or cold side dishes, tomato salad, Parmesan cheese, fruits, dessert, wine on the table.

What is not included?

  • Drinks and beverages at the hotel and in the oasis of Ksar Ghilane.
  • Airport tax.

WALKERS

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Max number of participants: 20

A new addition to the race is a walking category. Just 20-places are available, allowing an opportunity to explore the emotions and landscape of the Sahara in a more relaxed way. A special program has been arranged and will be independent of the running race but will run in parallel.

Walkers will be accompanied with a guide, dromedaries and 4×4 vehicles. Dromedaries will carry small personal luggage and the vehicles will provide security and reassurance for all walkers.

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The treatment for walkers will be the same as for the runners; night accommodation will be nomadic tents with personal sleeping bags; breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided in the camp with the entire group of participants.

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ITINERARY

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

  • Flight Milan or Rome-Djerba
  • Transfer to the Hotel ****, dinner and overnight in hotel
  • It will be possible to leave the extra baggage in the hotel; it’s MANDATORY for all the participants to put everything you need in just one bag. Exceptions will not be allowed.

Monday, April 28th, 2014

  • Wake up at 7.30 am, breakfast in the Hotel and transfer to Ksar Ghilane by bus for the opening ceremony
  • Arrival in the oasis, accommodation in the tent camp equipped with common
  • Rest rooms and showers
  • Lunch at the camp with local food specialties
  • 3.00 pm opening of the shop “merchandising 100 km del Sahara”
  • 5.00 pm designation of race bib numbers and assignment of tent
  • groups.
  • 6 people per tent
  • Dinner made by the Zitoway staff and overnight stay in the tent of the oasis

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 – 2nd and 3rd stage 26km + 9km (night stage)

  • 7.00 am breakfast and baggage delivery
  • 7.30 am start of walkers
  • 8.30 am start of the 2nd leg
  • Arrival at the camp, open lunch, relax in the afternoon
  • 7.00 pm dinner at the camp
  • 9.00 pm start of the night leg
  • Overnight at the camp

Thursday, May 1, 2014 – 4th stage marathon 42km

  • 6.00 am breakfast and baggage delivery
  • 6.30 am start of walkers
  • 7.00 am start of the 1st group
  • 8.00 am start of the 2nd group
  • 9.00 am start of the 3rd group
  • Arrival at the Hotel****Sahara Douz, end of the race
  • Lunch by the hotel restaurant
  • Relax in the afternoon

Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Wake up and breakfast
  • Transfer to Djerba, lunch at the hotel
  • Afternoon in relax by the pool
  • 8.00 pm dinner in the hotel and slide show of the race/li>
  • Overnight in hotel

Saturday, May 3, 2014

  • Wake up and breakfast
  • Transfer to the Airport of Djerba, on the way free lunch
  • After lunch transfer in airport for the flight back
THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM MAY CHANGE AND IS SUBJECT TO FINAL CONFIRMATION

PRACTICALITIES:

BAGGAGE

The backpack will be the only hand luggage on the plane, which should contain just what is necessary for the race – running shoes, shorts, t-shirt, and survival kitWe have already had an incident where someone’s personal luggage was in delay and they were at risk for not being able to participate in the race. If you have the necessary items in your backpack, you can run with no problem until your baggage arrives.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

  • I.D. is required to go in Tunisia for Italian people.
  • A valid passport is required and no vaccinations are needed at this time. It’s always recommended to check with your Embassy for any travel advisories.
  • A medical certificate issued by a sports medical center facility with a test of physical efforts confirming that the athlete is physically fit for this race is absolutely MANDATORY. Without this certificate, you will not be allowed to participate.
  • No certificate is required for walkers.

RACE CLOTHES

  • Shoes should be suitable for off road running, and should be a little oversized to allow for sore and swollen feet.
  • It is advisable to use gaiters for the sand, but make sure they are good quality and don’t impede performance.
  • If you tend to burn easily in the sun, it is not advisable to wear a singlet or tank top during the race.
  • T-shirts should be made of a suitable anti-sweat material like dryfit, etc.
  • It’s strongly recommended  to bring a Saharan scarf, called a “cechès”, that can be useful to protect nose and mouth in case of wind or sand storm as well as motorcycle glasses.

RACE BACKPACK

For safety reasons it is MANDATORY that participants have a race backpack that contains the following items:

  • A minimum of 1-litre of water (inside the backpack or in flasks around the waist), salt tablets, survival blanket, whistle, lighter and chemical light .
  • A hat, sunglasses, protective sun lotion, a small knife and some Compeed plasters are also recommended.
  • The mandatory equipment may be verified at any moment and if an item is missing a penalty will be immediately applied per regulations.
  • The survival kit can be purchased from the Organisation.

MEDICAL CERTIFICATE

  • A medical certificate issued by a sports medical center facility with a test on physical efforts confirming that the athlete is physically fit for this race is absolutely MANDATORY.
  • No certificate is required for walkers.

SAFETY KIT

For safety reasons it is MANDATORY that participants have a race backpack

that must contain the following items:

  • A minimum of 1-litre of water
  • Salt tablets
  • Survival blanket
  • Whistle and lighter
  • Chemical light
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Protective sun lotion
  • Small knife
  • Compeed plasters

The mandatory equipment may be verified at any moment and if an item is missing a penalty will be immediately applied per regulations.

Test yourself!

If it was easy, anyone would do it… take yourself to a new level, add a new stimulus to your running. The Sahara will not only test your physical parameters but your capacity to control your mind.

Achieve your finish line!

More information or booking here:

GALLERY:

Organisation:

ZITOWAY Sport & Adventure
P.I. 02510760362
Tel. +39 059 359813
Fax +39 059 2920013
Port. + 39 337 573662
Skype: Adrizito

Kilian Jornet – Summits of my Life – Mont Blanc

Image ©kilianjornet ©summitsofmylife

Image ©kilianjornet ©summitsofmylife

Nº2 2013: EUROPEAN SUMMITS – MONT-BLANC

Mathéo and I synchronised our watches, switched on the stopwatch and gave each other five for luck before starting to run. It was 4:50 am, and it wasn’t cold in the church square in Chamonix. We were in shorts and thermal T-shirts, but nerves and excitement probably did not let us think about anything other than the challenge ahead. Mont Blanc, as majestic as ever, was just waking up and, from the square, we could spot the headlamps of those who had spent the night at the mountain refuge and were now preparing to reach the summit.

We are ascending well, within the estimated time. Upon arriving at the crack of Grands Mulet, we rope together for safety reasons as large amounts of snow have accumulated there this year. Halfway up, we spot Seb and Vivien, who have come to give us support and to film us. The sun is barely rising and the scenery is breathtaking. We are both using sticks to help us to climb and move faster. The marks we gouged into the ground a few days ago have lasted, and we follow them, so we can move fast and carry on with the ascent.

Read the full report HERE

 

Salomon Running TV Season 3

Kilian Jornet and Stevie Kremer Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

 

An all new season of Salomon Running TV! On October 30th, 2013 season 3 of Salomon Running TV begins and it promises to offer a completely new look on the sport we love so much. With a variety of characters and stories that span the globe — join us on our journeys and adventures!

Follow us:

http://www.salomonrunning.com
http://www.facebook.com/salomonrunning/
http://www.twitter.com/salomon_running/
http://www.instagram.com/salomonrunning/

©salomonrunning

Limone Extreme SKY race report

Kilian Jornet and Stevie Kremer Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

It was always going to be a classic race… the male SKY Skyrunner World Series title was sewn up with a dominant Kilian Jornet securing maximum points form three out of five qualifying races. However, the ladies race was a completely different story. Just ten points separated the leader, Emelie Forsberg from fellow Salomon teammate, Stevie Kremer.

Kilian Jornet Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

At the finish line on the shores of Lake Garda, Kilian Jornet once again proved his supremacy with another stunning victory. For the ladies, Stevie Kremer confirmed her incredible mountain running and descending ability to take not only the victory in Limone but also the Skyrunner World Series title.

Stevie Kremer Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

We have witnessed some incredible performance in the 2013 Skyrunner World Series over three distances; VK, SKY and ULTRA. Limone Extreme provided a stunning close to the 2013 season and we are left with some well-established names confirming that they are true champions but in addition, we have several new names on the Skyrunning scene that will most certainly build anticipation for the 2014 season.

Antonella Confortola leading on the first climb

Antonella Confortola leading on the first climb

Antonella Confortola after taking second place in the VK on Friday night had been unsure if she would start the Sky race on Sunday. Start she did and using her impressive abilities at climbing she led the way on the long steep and technical climb. Stevie Kremer followed closely in second and Emelie Forsberg was third and already loosing some ground. Emelie has had an incredible season and just over one week ago took victory and the overall Skyrunner World Series title for the Ultra distance. UROC in Colorado was Emilie’s first 100k-race and as such, she openly admitted it had taken far more out of her than she anticipated.

Emelie Forsberg Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

Stevie by contrast had raced a couple of shorter races the weekend before and arrived at Limone ready for action. After alternating the lead with Antonella, Stevie finally made her move and although she says that she can’t descend very well, she used every ounce of her ability to hold off Antonella and Emelie to win by over seven minutes. On the line Stevie said, “I was running down that final descent scared, it was twisty and technical but I just didn’t want to look back. I ran as fast as I could. It worked!”

Stevie Kremer with Skyrunning legend and Limone course designer, Fabio Meraldi

Stevie Kremer with Skyrunning legend and Limone course designer, Fabio Meraldi

Kilian Jornet bided his time in the men’s race but when he made his move he just pulled away and secured not only another impressive victory, but also another World Series title. Kilian didn’t have it easy though.

Kilian Jornet Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

On the first climb, new signing for inov-8, David Schneider led the way followed by Aritz Egea and Ionut Zinca. Salomon team manager, Greg Vollet (finally finished eleventh) was showing some stunning climbing ability holding a top five place along with up and coming star, Zaid Ait Malek from Morocco all the way to the summit.

Greg Vollet leading Zaid Ait Malek

Greg Vollet leading Zaid Ait Malek

One of the pre race favourites and second overall in the Skyrunner World Series, Luis Alberto Hernando was having a tough day protecting an injury, however true to his great sportsmanship he soldiered on knowing full well that I had no possibility to make a top ten position. A true champ!

Luis Alberto Hernando

Luis Alberto Hernando

Kilian made his move and a battle followed for the second and third podium places. Ionut Zinca finally pulled away from Aritz Egea and finished just one minute behind Kilian and thirty seconds ahead of Artiz. Showing great potential for 2014 season, David Schneider turned a few heads with a great fourth place with Zaid Ait Malek fifth.

Ionut Zinca second place

Ionut Zinca second place

The 2013 season has shown some incredibly diverse and consistent performances, Alex Nichols from the US in his first season participating in the Skyrunner World Series placed eighth at Limone Extreme and this elevated him to third overall in the World Series.

Alex Nichols third overall in the Skyrunner world Series

Alex Nichols third overall in the Skyrunner world Series

A similar story for Arc’teryx athlete, Tessa Hill, not only did she have a great VK on Friday but she placed fourth on the day. Anna Lupton (inov-8) from the UK also proved that fell/mountain runners can perform with the best on high and technical mountain courses in Europe.

Tessa Hill with fellow Brit, Anna Lupton

Tessa Hill with fellow Brit, Anna Lupton

The influx of new names such as Thorbjorn Ludvigsen and Leire Aguirezabala and responding great performances show all of us that Skyrunning is not only in a great place for the future but that the participants are eager for true mountain courses that test the mind as well as the body,

Roll on 2014!

IMAGES from the Limone Extreme race are available to view HERE or purchase HERE

Skyrunning website HERE

WIN, Stevie Kremer’s signed race number HERE

Results taken from ISF website:

Limone Extreme race results

Men

1. Kilian Jornet (ESP) Salomon –  2h17’03

2. Ionut Zinca (ROU) Valetudo Skyrunning Italia – 2h18’27”

3. Aritz Egea (EMF) – 2h18’53”

4. David Schneider (AUT) inov-8 – 2h20’40”

5. Zaid Ait Malek –  2h21’09”

Women

1. Stevie Kremer (Salomon Agisko) – 2h46’13”

2. Antonella Confortola (GS Forestale) – 2h53’58”

3. Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) – 2h54’54”

4. Tessa Hill (Arc’teryx) –  2h58’20”

5. Leire Aguirrezabala (EMF) – 2h58’54”

Sky Series Final Ranking (provisional)

Men

1. Kilian Jornet (ESP) – Salomon

2. Luis Hernando (ESP) adidas Trail Running

3. Alex Nichols (USA) invo-8

4. Jokin Lizeaga (ESP) – EMF

5. Aritz Egea (ESP) EMF

Women

1. Stevie Kremer (USA) – Salomon Agisko

2. Emelie Forsberg (SWE) – Salomon

3. Silvia Serafini (ITA) – Salomon Agisko

4. Nuria Dominguez (ESP) – Buff

5. Anna Lupton (GBR) – inov-8

Teams

1. FEEC

2. Salomon

3. EMF

4. inov-8

5. Salomon Agisko

Limone Extreme Race Preview – the 2013 Skyrunner VK and SKY World Series final.

ISF Logo 2013 ORNG+GREY TRANS

The 2013 Skyrunner World Series comes to an end in Italy this coming weekend at the Limone Extreme amidst the stunning backdrop of Lake Garda. It has been an incredible year, three disciplines; VK, SKY and ULTRA have been raced throughout the world over a total of fifteen races (five in each discipline). The ULTRA championship was decided in Vail, Colorado where Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg were crowned Skyrunner Ultra World Champions. This coming weekend, world champions will be announced in the VK and SKY disciplines.

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The Limone Extreme course was designed by Skyrunning legend, Fabio Meraldi. As one would expect, it is a true Skyrunning race with steep, sharp vertical over technical terrain. For example, the VK has 1,100m gain in 3km, climbing from the shores of Lake Garda, the race is extremely unique as it takes place as light fades and the course becomes illuminated by torches.

The SKY course by contrast is very similar to the course in Canazei. At 23.5km it is a short race, however, in contrast to the Dolomites race it does have less vertical ascent. Starting at Lake level runners will tackle 2002m of vertical ascent over a looped course. At the summit, stunning views of the surrounding area and lake are offered, however, participants will have no time to enjoy the view; a long and technical descent to the lake awaits. Often open and exposed, this course requires 100% concentration. Skyrunning legend, Marco De Gasperi set the men’s record of 2:13:34 in 2012 and Deborah Cardone holds the ladies best in a time of 3:02:08.

THE SKY RACE

MEN’S RACE

Kilian Jornet ©iancorless.com

Kilian Jornet (Salomon) irrespective of his performance at Limone will be crowned World Champion. His three victories in previous races means he is unbeatable. It once again proves Kilian’s ability as a runner but also his ability over multiple distances. One thing is for sure though, he likes to win and he likes to race. The Limone Extreme course will suit his skill levels and it will also fulfill his desires to be at one with the mountain. Without doubt he is an outright favourite for the win.

Luis Alberto Hernando ©iancorless.com

With the absence of Marco De Gasperi due to injury, Kilian will have his hands full with Luis Alberto Hernando (adidas). Kilian and Luis have had an incredible season pushing each other to new levels and better performances as they both attempted to win the ULTRA and SKY series. Luis currently second overall on the SKY series will be looking to consolidate that position and coming from a recent win at Cavalls del Vent he will be looking to maybe topple Kilian and finish the series by topping the podium ahead of the Catalan.

Tofol Castanyer ©iancorless.com

Following Luis at Cavalls del Vent, Tofol Castanyer (Salomon) will join the party on Lake Garda. Tofol has had a very mixed season. Plagued with injury and bad luck, the latter half of his season has seen a return to form. The Limone course suits his natural abilities. *not racing 08/10/13

Alex Nichols ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols (inov-8) has the skill level and speed to move up from 4th overall on the SKY series and move ahead of Jokin Lizeaga Mitxelena (EMF). The two are separated by just 32-points. It will require a top performance by Alex. In the past, Alex has often commented that his descending has let him down, however, just recently he flew down the descent at Pikes Peak proving that he has been working on this!

Erik Dagsson Haugsness inov-8

Erik Dagsson Haugsness inov-8

Unfortunately, Nicola Golinelli (Arc’teryx) who is currently 5th on the ranking will not perform due to injury; this leaves the door open for Erik Dagsson Haugsness (inov-8) to chase his teammate, Alex. Whatever the outcome, UK brand inov-8 will be extremely happy to have two runners in or around the top five in the first season competing in the Skyrunner World Series.

Zaid Ait Malek - Haria Extreme

Zaid Ait Malek – Haria Extreme

One name to watch and look out for in the Limone race is Zaid Ait Malek. This quiet Moroccan has had an incredible season consistently making the podium, often behind Luis Alberto Hernando, however he is without doubt a star for the future. He raced earlier in 2013 at Zegama-Aizkorri and placed an excellent 4th but he has progressed and matured in the following months.

Finally, David Schneider is making a first time appearance for inov-8 at Limone Extreme and it shows how as a brand, inov-8 are looking to the future. They are already committed to a 2014 season and they are laying the foundation now. David is an accomplished runner and comes from a strong orienteering background. He attracted the attention of inov-8 with an 11th overall at the highly respected Sierre-Zinal race earlier this year. Limone will be a great initiation into Sky racing and the technicality it brings.

Other names to watch:

Dai Matsumoto, Ryan Bak, Florian Reichert, Eric Diaz Martin, Didier Zago

Fulvio Dapit, and Nicola Golinelli.

LADIES RACE

Emelie Forsberg ©iancorless.com

It is very much a Salomon showdown for Limone with Emelie Forsberg, Stevie Kremer and Silvia Serafini going head-to-head not only for the final race win but the overall title. In real terms, the outright world title will be decided between Emelie Forsberg and Stevie Kremer. These two pocket rockets have had an incredible season and excitement is most certainly building as we anticipate who will come out on top in Italy. Separated by just ten points, 288 to 278, Stevie and Emelie will have a battle royal ahead. I for one can’t wait to see how this one unfolds. Emelie has been Miss Consistent in 2013 showing a skill and ability level beyond her years.

Stevie Kremer ©iancorless.com

Stevie Kremer has been equally impressive. Stevie produced maybe one of the performances of the year with an incredible win and course record at Mont Blanc Marathon. Stevie’s biggest issue may very well be out of her control, she can actually make the long trip from Colorado just two days before the race.

Silvia Serafini ©iancorless.com

Silvia Serafini has blossomed into an incredibly consistent and dominant runner. She gives herself quite a punishing schedule, regularly racing and regularly winning at all disciplines. Currently 3rd in the SKY ranking with 226 points she would need a podium finish and Emelie and Stevie not to finish or finish outside of the points to move up the classification. Irrespective of overall positions, Silvia, racing in Italy will be looking to push as hard as possible and hopefully win the race outright.  *injured 08/10/13

Oihana Kortazar ©iancorless.com

Oihana Kortazar returns to SKY racing after a quiet 2013 and has all the ability and talent to push her Salomon teammates all the way and don’t be surprised if she is on the podium at the finish. *not racing 08/10/13

Anna Lupton ©iancorless.com

Anna Lupton (inov-8) currently placed 6th overall will be looking for a strong and consistent performance to consolidate her 2013 season. The podium may just be out of reach but keep an eye on her.

Finally I am going to tip a hat to Brit, Tracy Dean. This will be her first ever Skyrunning race. Tracy is a strong fell runner and has recently represented GB at the world trail championships. I don’t think we will see her up at the front end but it will be interesting to see how she performs.

Other names to watch:

Maud Gobert and Tessa Hill.

THE VERTICAL KILOMETER

A race within a race! Our attention splits for the Limone VK, for once, Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg are not in contention for the overall World title. However, they will both most certainly be looking for outright victory in the Limone race. Emelie and Kilian have not placed an emphasis on the VK circuit this year and therefore have not accumulated enough points to qualify, however, when they have raced the VK distance they have performed consistently well. Kilian won in Canazei and placed 2nd at Mont Blanc, Emelie by contrast was 4th at Mont Blanc and 2nd at Canazei; both will be up at the front in Limone.

Urban Zemmer leading at Canazei VK

Urban Zemmer leading at Canazei VK

The men’s race is a who’s who of VK racing with the top seven in the rankings performing. Marco Facchinelli is currently leading with 236-points followed by Ferran Teixido Marti Ventosa 2nd with 216-points. In 3rd Joan Freixa Marcelo, 180-points and then the real interest starts, Urban Zemmer, 2012 champion and current VK world record holder is chomping at the bit with 168-points. Interestingly, Marco Facchinelli will need to finish in the top three if he wants to keep the world title, however, should Urban Zemmer win and Facchinelli drop to 4th, the title could be Zemmer’s. It is going to be an interesting race.

Other names to watch:

Oscar Casal Mir 5th, Xavier Teixido Marti Ventosa 6th, Marco Moletto 7th. And in addition, Erik Dagsson Haugsness (inov-8) will compete in the VK in addition the SKY race.

Antonella Confortola at Canazei VK

Antonella Confortola at Canazei VK

Vanessa Ortega Trancon currently leads the VK series with 236-points closely followed by Alba Xandri Suets on 228-ponts and the 2012 VK champion, Laura Orgue is 3rd with 188-points. Brit Tessa Hill is 4th with 156-points and it is all to play for. The addition of Emelie Forsberg and Antonella Confortola will add an interesting element to this race as they are both more than capable of taking the 1st and 2nd places, if this happens, 3rd place and the points awarded will be very important in deciding who will be the 2013 Skyrunner VK World Champion.

An exciting weekend of racing is about to unfold; the VK takes place on Friday and the SKY race Sunday.

LINKS

Follow the action as it unfolds on twitter @talkultra on Facebook HERE and via this website.

Skyrunning HERE

Limone Extreme HERE

Spartathlon 2013

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SPARTATHLON is a historic ultra-distance foot race that takes place in September of every year in Greece. Arguably, it is one of the most difficult and satisfying ultra-distance races in the world because of its unique history and background.

The Spartathlon revives the footsteps of Pheidippides, an ancient Athenian long distance runner, who in 490 BC, before the battle of Marathon, was sent to Sparta to seek help in the war between the Greeks and the Persians. According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, Pheidippides arrived in Sparta the day after his departure from Athens. Inspired by the report of the Greek historian, in 1982 five officers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF), who were also long-distance runners, traveled to Greece, led by Colonel John Foden. Their purpose was to ascertain whether it was possible to cover the 250 kilometers separating the two towns in one and a half days. The enthusiastic British team showed that the report by Herodotus was entirely plausible.

A man is indeed able to cover 250 km in less than two days and in fact in less than 40 hours. After the success of the project, the architect of the feat, John Foden, began to envision the establishment of a race that would bring long distance runners to Greece from around the world to run on the trail of the ancient runner Pheidippides. The next year a multinational team of British, Greek and other enthusiastic supporters of the idea, led by Michael Callaghan, a philhellene, organized the First International Spartathlon (Open International Spartathlon Race), wherein the name for the race combines the Greek words for Sparta and Feat.

The race was held with the approval and supervision of the Athletics Federation with the participation of 45 runners from 11 countries and included the participation of women. The organizational success of this inaugural race and its broad appeal were decisive to the subsequent establishment of the annual race.

Accordingly, in 1984 the International Association “Spartathlon” was founded. Since then a yearly race has been organized each September. Why September? Because that is the time reported by Herodotus for Pheidippides run to Sparta.

Information taken from http://www.spartathlon.gr ©Spartathlon.gr

The Race

The 2013 edition of the race will start on Friday 27th September with 350 participants and for any last minute dropouts; this entry list will be topped up from a waiting list of 160 runners.

UK entrants:

  • Mark Woolley
  • Robert Pinnington
  • Lindley Chambers
  • Claire Shelley
  • James Adams
  • Drew Sheffield
  • Martin Ilott
  • Philip Smith
  • Mathew Mahoney
  • Mimi Anderson *
  • Paul Ali
  • Mike Blamires
  • Cat Lawson
  • Steve Scott
  • Pat Robbins
  • Martin Bacon
  • Mark Hines
  • Laurence Chownsmith
  • Robbie Britton *
  • Jonathan Hall
  • Peter Johnson
  • James Elson

Countries represented:

Sweden, Poland, Australia, Japan, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Denmark, France, Spain, Netherlands, Finland, Argentina, Portugal, China, Malta, United States, Uruguay, Belgium, Austria, Brazil, Mexico, Czech Republic, Faeroe Islands, Switzerland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and of course Greece.

Spartathlon, for many is a bucket list race. It has a magic that cannot be found at other races. The distance, strict cut-off times, the heat and so on all add to the drama. The course is conducted point-to-point and elevation ranges from sea level to 1,200 meters (3,937 ft), over tarmac road, trail and mountain footpath. Aid stations are placed every 3 to 5 km and are provisioned with food, water and other refreshments as well as the runners’ personal supplies. The race is run under police and medical supervision with doctors, physiotherapists, and emergency vehicles being on call throughout the 36-hour race duration. The race is very demanding.

The course is not the most spectacular and 153 miles of roads may not appeal to many, particularly if coming from a trail or mountain running background. However, I’ve yet to meet anyone who has run this race and not loved it. For sure, the Greeks, French, Japanese, German and now a growing UK participation love this race and demand is continuing to grow.

Lizzy Hawker raced in 2012 and not only won the ladies race in 27:02:17 but placed third overall. The outright winner was Stu Thoms from Germany in 26:28:19.

For the 2013 edition of the race, all entrants are of interest. For many, Spartathlon is a journey about completion and not competition. However, two people are of interest and for opposite reasons. Firstly, Robbie Britton from the UK is coming to Spartathlon for the first time but he is potentially an exciting prospect for the overall with a solid 100-mile result at the South Downs Way 100 in a time of 15:43:53 and 239.008km at the World 24-hour championships. Robbie has said in his blog, “I’m right excited about getting to Sparta now and can’t wait for the great challenge of this historic race. We’ve got a solid British team heading out there; including a few Grand Union Canal Race winners, one of whom is attempting a double Spartathlon and it should be a great atmosphere out there. After a strong showing from the Brits at UTMB and The Grand Slam of Ultra Running, I guess we best put a bit of effort into Spartathlon now too…” Bog here

Secondly, Mimi Anderson will be doing Spartathlon her own way in 2013… she raced in 2011 and surprised herself with her performance. So much so, this year she is coming back to do it twice! Yes, twice.

Mimi’s press release:

‘Marvellous’ Mimi Anderson, the 51 year-old grandmother from Smarden in Kent who is a triple long distance running Guinness World Record holder and already the legendary finisher of several ‘doubles’ of extreme long distance races for which the one-way normal run would be beyond most mere mortals, is about to attempt probably her most daring double – a two-way run of the iconic Spartathlon race held in Greece each year.

Traditionally there are about 20 runners from the UK each year and Mimi first ran the race in 2011 when she finished 3rd lady overall and the 1st UK finisher in 32 hours 33 minutes 23 seconds. She has decided to return in 2013 and having completed the normal race on her previous visit, she will be attempting the double this year (a distance of 306 miles), which is believed to have only ever been done once before. It has certainly never been done by anyone from Britain and no female has ever attempted it.

Mimi’s plan is to do the race first then, all being well, start the return leg at midnight on Saturday night.  She will be running the race itself to achieve the best time she can and then attempting the return leg in in the same tough 36 hours maximum time allowed for the race.

Her husband Tim and friend Becky Healey will be crewing for her during the event and the reason for starting the return leg at midnight on the Saturday is to enable the crew to get some sleep – otherwise it becomes too dangerous for them to be driving safely!

Mimi will be running to raise money for her usual cause – the 10 Million Metres Campaign, which was set up by Alex Flynn when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 4 years ago.  People can donate on the Justgiving site at www.justgiving.com/marvellousmimi1

The 2013 event for sure will be exciting for all involved and for those watching. If you would like more information, please go to the race website.

Links:

All entrants can be viewed here

Live Tracking for race day here

Seb Chaigneau – Get Ready for S4 EP07

©copyright .iancorless.com._1080347

Great season for Sebastien Chaigneau who start his ultra season in Canaria for the Transgrancanaria, 120kms – 7000D+ that he won. Seb then travelled to Japan to discover the asian culture of trail across at the Ultra trail Mount Fuji, 160 kms — 9000D+, where he took the third place.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1080251During July, Sebastien was in the Colorado, US for the Hardrock 100, a 160kms with more of 10 000D+ and 3300m of altitude average. He won the race with the best time for the anti-clockwise direction

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A six week gap between the Hardrock 100 and the TNFUTMB. For the recovery, it’s a real challenge for Seb. Unfortunately, after 30kms of the race, he needed to stop because of fatigue.
The 2013 edition of the TNFUTMB®  had sun and every runner had an opportunity to  do the full tour of the Mont-Blanc. And the party was more beautiful with the presence of American’s runner like Anton Krupicka, Timothy Olson, Michael Foote, Mike Wolf and also Rory Bosio. They competed against great european runners like Julien Chorier, Jonas Buud, Miguel Herras, Carlos Sà… but the nice surprise came from the young french runner, Xavier Thevenard who won the UTMB®in 20h38.

Seb is a legend… enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP_s9vcg2v0

Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT) response from FPerrin

Hi Ian,

I will try to answer as clearly as possible. I understand that you want the progression of the sport. Be assured that I feel the same. I am open to any discussion if it can make the project better.

1. It’s an ultra world tour over multiple distances and terrains. Therefore, does a runner need to do different distance and different terrain to be the world champion?

Maybe was I not clear enough during the presentation, sorry for that. The runner who will
have the best results at the end of the Ultra-Trail World Tour will
be the “UTWT 2014 Champion”, NOT the “Trail Running 2014 Champion”!
For me, it is a completely different vision.

2. Your criteria stipulates a minimum two editions, min 500 entrants and
open to ALL! What will happen with races like Western States? It’s
a lottery with only 20 guaranteed places and an entry limit under
500. More like 397 entries.


There was a precision of “around min 500 entrants” :-)… the first objective of the project was to bring together the most emblematic races of the world, the races of all our dreams… well… we could not imagine it without the Western States… “Open to all” means for us that elite athletes and average runners are running together, that the races are not reserved for elites. The UTWT will change nothing to the entry rules of the different races. The WS100 has its specific rules, the UTMB too, and the UTMF… each race will keep complete control over its organization.

3. How will a multi stage race such as MDS fit into this series? And
are you planning to add more multi day events?

Well, some of us ran it, and are completely sure that the MDS has all its place in the UTWT, that it shows all the diversity of trail running. The race directors all agreed on this initial list which will soon be completed with other races.

4. It would appear, at least to me that the UTWT may almost be perceived as a travel agent to a series of races over the world. What are the benefits that
UTWT will bring to elite and non-elite runners? Why would we join the UTWT?

For non-elite runners, but also for elite runners, the main reason is -for me- the “challenge” over the years, and the promise to discover different races, terrains, people, countries. The project was born at the UTMF this year: we were discussing how enriching it was for us to discover this country, the runners from Japan and from other countries, the specific trails of Mt. Fuji… We started to list the races that we had already finished, and our “wish-list” races… and it all started. This project is about culture, passion, traveling, and common values. For elite runners, I hope that they will have the same motivation than non-elite, but I think that an other reason should be -for me again-be part of a circuit which story will be told all over the year.

5. Do the runners need to purchase ‘The Passport’?

The first idea was to make it free.We will decide it with the race directors, but maybe the runners will have to pay a small participation if we send it through postal mail.

6. Does it cost each runner any extra to be part of the UTWT?

No.

7. What are the races paying to be part of the UTWT and what does that bring what are the benefits?

They pay a contribution of 15’000 EUR, which will be 100% used for the promotion of the Ultra-Trail World Tour, and the travel fares of the athletes.

8. Who is the UTWT? Who are the people involved, for example WAA, UTMB all seem involved. Can we have clarification?

The 2 main partners (and operationals) are Jean-Charles Perrin (eco-trail de
Paris race director), and myself, Fabrice Perrin. We are not relatives. Cyril Gauthier from WAA is also involved (no operational role), and we asked Catherine and Michel Polett (from UTMB) to be part of it too, but they have no operational role.

9. What are the elite packages. It was mentioned that they will get travel and hotels for Elite1. Is this open ended, will all eligible elites get this package?

We will try to help the athletes at the maximum (travel and lodging), with the money that we will be able to raise. We will discuss this fall the rules with the race organizers.

10. What prize money will be available at each race and will prizes be split. Elite and non elite?


Each race will keep its rules. Some have prizes, some not. The UTWT will not change this.

11. A world champion is awarded each year, make and female. What do they get, what remuneration will the world champion receive and in addition, will you have non elite world champions too?

No “remuneration” is planned so far for 2014. Again, I would like to precise that it will not be a “world champion”, but an “UTWT Champion”. The non-elite will be in the same ranking than the elite runners.

I would like to thank the UTWT and Fabrice for the answers to the above questions. It really does clarify some initial questions. I am sure more questions will arise and I feel confident that the UTWT will provide responses as and when required.