Sierre-Zinal 2014 In-depth Race Preview

Marco, 11th August 2012 in the mountains above Zinal.

Marco, 11th August 2012 in the mountains above Zinal.

Just one mention of the name: Sierre-Zinal and the emotions stir in even the most experienced mountain runner. For over 40-years, the 31-km point-to-point course from Sierre to Zinal with a total elevation gain of 2200m and just 800m of descent has been the battle ground for some epic battles. In 2014 the tradition will continue and with it a new moment in history… I have a feeling that this year may well be a record year! It’s a bold statement. Jonathan Wyatt set the current male record of 2:29:12 in 2003 and the female record of 2:54:26 was set by the Queen of Sierre-Zinal; Anna Pichtrova (now Strakova) in 2008.

iancorless.orgSierre Zinal 1sirrezinal

Image ©iancorless.com

The Sierre-Zinal course is unique in profile, starting low, the runners immediately go into a tough long climb that is followed by fast running with a slight drop to the line. It suits a rounded athlete; one who can climb with the best, keep pace with the fastest and then descend like a demon. Who’s your pick? On August 10th, 4000 runners will depart Sierre and head to the mountain arena that is Zinal. I for one can’t wait!

Who is going to win? 

Kilian Jornet and the Matterhorn ©iancorless.com

He is on a roll and with current form I am going all out, laying it on the line and predicting Kilian Jornet with not only victory but a new course record (weather permitting.) The Catalan’s current form is arguably the best we have witnessed. His 2014 so far has illuminated the history books and leaves us all wondering… what will Kilian go on to achieve in his lifetime. His natural ability, humility and passion for the sport is endless and I for one feel very content that I am here to witness ‘The Kilian Years!’

Marco De Gasperi ©iancorless.com

Marco De Gasperi has been struggling with injury but when on form, Marco is one of the few runners to push Kilian and push him hard all the way to the line. In many respects, The Sierre-Zinal course may well suit Marco more? We saw this in 2011 when Marco pipped Kilian to the line in the 2nd fastest time ever seen on the course. In 2012, Marco returned and won once again. However, Kilian was not present. The showdown that awaits this year may well prove to be one of the eagerly anticipated editions of this iconic race.

Juan Carlos Cardona placed 2nd in 2013 and along with course record holder, Jono Wyatt one has to assume that the duo will be upfront, pushing the pace and looking to repeat 2013 performances.

Robbie Simpson, Chamonix 2013

Robbie Simpson, Chamonix 2013

Brit, Robbie Simpson had a breakthrough performance in 2014 and I for one sincerely hope that he can at least repeat or better his performance. His current form is very good and the opportunity to race against such a quality field is something that he will embrace.

Tom Owens Trofeo Kima 2012 ©iancorless.com

Tom Owens Trofeo Kima 2012 ©iancorless.com

Robbie will not have it all his own way though and I see Tom Owens moving up a level and following up his already impressive 2014 placing at the Transvulcania La Palma, Skyrunning World Championships and Ice Trail Tarentaise with a podium place in Zinal. Currently on a sabbatical from work, the time is right for Tom. Quality training and more importantly, quality rest. One to watch!

©iancorless.comIMG_5850Canazei2014

Ionut Zinca is on form. He showed his class at Limone Extreme in 2013 and once again adorned the podium behind Kilian Jornet at the Dolomites Skyrace. On his day, Ionut is a definite podium contender.

Jo Gray from the USA is an ever present at Sierre-Zinal. His current form appears to be excellent and although he may not make the podium, a top-10 placing is a definite possibility.

Tofol Castanyer on his day needs 100% respect, particularly in a mountain race. His presence here will not only make his competitors make a mental note but also firmly place a target on his back as one to follow should he make a move.

©iancorless.comIMG_7275Canazei2014

Aritz Egea goes from strength-to-strength and will be a fierce competitor with a top-10 placing guaranteed should he continue the form shown at Zegama-Aizkorri, Skyrunning World Championships and most recently at the Dolomites Skyrace. Aritz will be top-5 at the summit of the long climb but may slip back as the running becomes faster and flatter.

©iancorless.comIMG_7059Canazei2014

Zaid Ait Malek will be smiling. Guaranteed! Zaid broke onto the circuit in 2013 and like others has progressed into ‘hot’ on the trail, mountain and Skyrunning circuit. Without doubt top-10 potential and should he have a great day, top-5.

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols may very well upset the apple cart for everyone! The Sierre-Zinal course will suit him right down to the ground and will play into his hands; he loves mountain running on faster trails where he can unleash his speed. His recent top result at Speedgoat 50k bodes well!

©iancorless.comIMG_2843Canazei2014

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen goes from strength to strength not only in the VK distance but in the Sky distance. His ability and rounded running style will suit the Sierre-Zinal course and after 2 impressive runs in the Dolomites, we can expect Thor to push at the front of the race.

©iancorless.comIMG_2745Canazei2014

David Schneider heads up the competition from Switzerland and Cesar Costa will make them an unstoppable duo. David has recently become a Dad so he may be a little sleep deprived but his recent performance at the Dolomites Skyrace shows he has lost none of his speed.

Florian Reichert will be looking to transfer his fast marathon pace and VK ability to a course that plays into the German’s hands. Of all the Skyrunning courses, Sierre-Zinal on paper appears to be the perfect fit for Florian. His recent performance at the Skyrunning World Championships shows his form is good.

Ones to watch:

  • Fabio Bazzana
  • Dabid Garcia
  • Hector Haines
  • Saul Antonio Padua
  • Robert Krupicka
  • Nicolas Pianet
  • Julien Rancon

The elite line up has great depth. I am sure I have missed some possible top-10 contenders? You can view the list HERE

 

THE LADIES

©iancorless.com_IMG_2071Zegama14

Elisa Desco pipped Stevie Kremer to the top slot in 2013 and will be looking to do the same in 2014. Elisa recently beat Stevie at the Skyrunning World Championships and just this last weekend placed 1st at Fletta Trail. Elisa is going to be the one to beat!

©iancorless.com_IMG_0989Zegama14

Stevie Kremer has raced at Sierre-Zinal a couple of times now and hasn’t made the top slot. 2014 may well be the year that elevates her up a slot and she is crowned champion. In real terms, I wonder if this course has enough climbing? Certainly in the early stages, Stevie will be at the front of the field and may well lead the race. However, as the course flattens off and comes more runnable, Stevie looses some of her advantage. If I were Stevie, I’d run hard from the gun and open up a gap…

©iancorless.com_IMG_8267Zegama14

Kasie Enman is back! I have been continually impressed by the progression and story of Kasie. Now a mother of 2, Kasie is on the comeback trail after her 2nd child and her recent improvements in all her races can only mean that the American will be ‘one-to-watch’ on this course. Placing in the top-3 at Speedgoat 50k must have provided a real boost not only to her confidence but fitness. Now in Europe for an extended period, expect Kasie to create a stir.

©iancorless.comIMG_3081Canazei2014

VK specialist Laura Orgue turned the tables upside down at the recent Dolomites Skyrace relegating Emelie Forsberg to 2nd place. For sure, Laura will embrace the opening kilometres of the Sierre-Zinal route, as they are all uphill. However, as the course flattens one has to question will she be able to hold any advantage gained to the line.

©iancorless.comIMG_3218Canazei2014

Victoria Wilkinson created a stir at the Dolomites Skyrace and I am 100% convinced that she will make her presence felt here in Zinal. Like so many other Brits before her, Victoria is grounded in fell running and the technical skills and ability that style of running brings. The transition is often seamless as we have seen with Tom Owens, Andy Symonds and so many more… one to watch!

Stephanie Howe along with Kremer and Enman adds more US firepower to what is already a very strong line up! Sierre-Zinal may well be a little short for Steph, however, if she can transfer he ability from longer races to this fast mountain race, we may well see an upset. In 2014 alone, Steph has won Western States, Mesquite Canyon 50k and placed 2nd at Lake Sonoma 50.

Christel Dewalle is an ever present on the podium. Her ability of VK and SKY distance is second to none and the French lady will without doubt be contesting the top-5 and arguably the podium.

Aline Camboulive and Maud Mathys both return. Aline won the race in 2012 in 3:02:58 and Maud placed 3rd in 2012 and 2013. This year the competition is arguably a little stronger and more competitive. Add Celine Lafaye to the mix and if any of this dynamic trio makes the podium, they will have had a great race.

Ones to watch:

  • Tessa Hill
  • Leire Agirrezabala
  • Caroline Chaverot
  • Ana Conde
  • Helen Bonsor
  • Christy Mahon

Female Elite start list HERE

LINKS

Skyrunning HERE

Talk Ultra on Twitter HERE

Talk Ultra on Facebook HERE

Giir di Mont 2014 results – It’s Kilian and Emelie!

Kilian Jornet at the Dolomites SkyRace 2014

Kilian Jornet at the Dolomites SkyRace 2014

Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg top the podium at the 22nd edition of Giir di Mont in Italy.

Kilian Jornet set a new course record 3h12’36 once again placing Ionut Zinca in 2nd place ahead of Salomon teammate, Thor Ludvigsen.

Emelie Forsberg just one week after placing 2nd to Laura Orgue in Canazei topped the podium ahead of Skyrunning legend, Emanuela Brizio and Silvia Rampazzo.

Fulfilling pre race expectations, Spain and Sweden did not disappoint with respective winners, Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg dominating the 900 strong 2014 edition and the 22nd running of the iconic, Giir di Mont.

Kilian Jornet placed 1st, 8’43 ahead of the Romanian Ionut Zinca and 9’08” on the Norwegian Thor Ludvigsen. Setting another course record, if any confirmation was needed, Kilian Jornet is at the forefront of trail, mountain and Skyrunning. His incredible career goes from strength-to-strength. The last 2-weeks in particular have seen the Catalan dominate and set a new course record at Hardrock 100, just days later place the top-10 in the Canazei VK. With minimal recovery, Kilian then raced and won the Dolomites SkyRace and now and incredible victory and course record at Giir di Mont. He is unstoppable!

Emelie Forsberg at the Dolomites SkyRace 2014

Emelie Forsberg at the Dolomites SkyRace 2014

Emelie Forsberg like Kilian is also pushing herself with a busy race schedule. Triumphant at Ice Trail Tarentaise, Emelie just 7-days ago placed 2nd at the Dolomites SkyRace and now victory at Giir di Mont. Emanuela Brizio placed 2nd 6’31 behind the Swede and Silvia Rampazzo was 10’12 back.

The Giir di Mont course id 32km’s long and has 2400m of vertical. Pat of the Italian Skyrunning National Series, the race has long been one of the iconic Skyrunning races and is on many a runners bucket list.

Results and Info from original Italian text on: http://www.giirdimont.it ©

Results HERE 

MALE

1 Kilian Jornet Salomon 3:12:36

2 Ionut Zinca Valetudo Skyrunning Italy 3:21:19

3 Thor Ludvigsen Salomon 3:21:44

4 Fabio Bazzana Salomon 3:22:26

5 Zaid Ait Malek Buff Pro Team 3:24:32

 

FEMALE

1 Emelie Forsberg Salomon 4:06:25

2 Emanuela Brizio Valetudo Skyrunning Italy 4:12:56

3 Rampazzo Silvia Valetudo Skyrunning Italy 4:16:37

4 Deborah Benedetti AS Premana 4:33:22

5 Teocharis Dimitra Team Aldo Moro Paluzza Dynafit 4:34:21

Dolomites SkyRace 2014 – Results and initial images

©iancorless.comIMG_2670Canazei2014

Kilian Jornet (Salomon) has done the unthinkable… just 7-days after winning and setting a new course record at the legendary Hardrock 100 in America, the Catalan has won the Dolomites SkyRace.

It’s impossible to convey or express the ability that Kilian Jornet harnesses within his slender frame. The word, ‘Legend’ is used a great deal in our sport but in Kilian Jornet we have someone that not only deserves the title but almost re-defines it.

  1. Kilian Jornet 2:03:50
  2. Ionut Zinca 2:05:20
  3. Tadei Pivk 2:05:21
  4. Manuel Merillas 2:07:29
  5. Alexis Sevennec 2:07:54

©iancorless.comIMG_3077Canazei2014

Laura Orgue (Salomon) produced an incredible weekend doube, winning the VK on Friday and the SkyRace on Sunday. The incredible uphill machine opened up a huge gap on the ascent to Piz Boe and held off a charging Emelie Forsberg who moved up from 4th, some 7-minutes back at the summit to just over a minute at the line. Incredible racing!

  1. Laura Orgue 2:26:17
  2. Emelie Forsberg 2:27:40
  3. Maite Maiora 2:31:58
  4. Christel Dewalle 2:35:53
  5. Anna Kozielska 2:36:23

Full Results to view HERE

RACE IMAGES HERE

 

Dolomites SkyRace 2014 Race Preview

©copyright .iancorless.com._1150324

Hot on the heels of the Dolomites VK, just 2-days later, a super stacked field of elite and non-elite runners will tackle the incredible slopes of the Dolomites. Starting in the town of Canazei, the Skyrunner® World Series Dolomites SkyRace® has for many years represented an ideal playground for the world’s top athletes.  The steep technical course and spectacular panoramas it offers has runners coming back for more time and again.  On Sunday, 600+ runners will start the race. Last year, Kilian broke the male ascent record set by Augusti Roc to Piz Boe and Emelie Forsberg broke the female descent record set by Angela Mudge.

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The quality of runners, particularly in the men’s field is very deep and therefore a surprise could come from anywhere.

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Kilian Jornet has just run 100-miles and as you read this he will be toeing the line in the Vertical Kilometer. Kilian says he feels good but he is absolutely sure that the running and winning of Hardrock 100 will impact on his performances in the Dolomites. I can understand his caution… however; we are talking about Kilian Jornet so topping the podium in Canazei is a distinct possibility.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1150386

Tadei Pivk had a great race last year taking the 3rd podium place and a repeat performance on a course he knows well is a distinct possibility. Marco De Gasperi will not race this year due to injury so does that open the door for Tadei?

Ionut Zinca and Alexis Sevennec rounded out the top-5 last year over 7-minutes behind a storming Kilian Jornet. Both Ionut and Alexis appear to be in great form at the moment. Ionut in particular is currently lying 4th in the Skyrunner® World Series so he will be looking for more valuable points.

Zaid Ait Malek - Haria Extreme

Zaid Ait Malek – Haria Extreme

Aritz Egea and Zaid Ait Malek are extremely strong performers over the SKY distance and we have seen them both excel at races such as Zegama-Aizkorri and last years, Limone Extreme. At the Skyrunning World Champions in Chamonix, Aritz ran a great race with a top-10 finish. However, Zaid had a bad day at the office after looking like podium potential in the early stages.

Erik Dagsson Haugsness inov-8

Erik Dagsson Haugsness inov-8

Eirik Haugsness had the race of his life at the Skyrunning World Championships producing an excellent top-10 performance in the wet and cold conditions. Eirik has all the potential for a repeat top-10 performance in this super stacked field and should things go well, a top-5 is a distinct possibility.

Bernard Dematteis and Martin Dematteis are an exciting addition the SkyRace and they will be looking to bring fast running and vertical climbing ability to contest with the front of the race. They showed everyone a clean pair of heals in Transvulcania running one of the shorter races and it’s fair to say that this duo will potentially cause some fireworks in Canazei.

David Schneider has been quiet this year and may well just sneak under the radar. We saw some excellent performances from David in 2013 and this will be his first Skyrunning race for 2014, I expect he will want to make an impact.

Who else is hot!

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen

Nicolas Pianet

Matheo Jacquemoud

Miguel Caballero

Manuel Merillos

Jordi Bes Ginesta

Fabio Bazzana

 

Ones to watch:

Etienne Van Gasse

Oscar Casal Mir

Marc Casal Mir

Hassan Ait Chau

Dabid Garcia

Inake Uribe

Es Tressider

Espen Mikkelsen

Matteo Piller Hoffer

Marco Viscentini

Gionni Morocutti

Michele Zannier

Marco Errath

Marco Marcuzzi

Mirco Lazzara

Michele Vicario

Marco Segrado

Andrea De Bona

Eric Diaz

David Lopez

Dani Tristany

Alfredo Gil

Paolo Bert

Michele Tavernaro

Aleksander Ivakin

Just Sociats

Pere Aurell

Josep Vines

Pere Rullan

Antonio Roldan

Emelie Forsberg ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg decided not to run the Vertical Kilometer as she felt she needed a little more recovery and easier running after her victory at the tough (and long) Ice Trail Tarentaise just last weekend. This is a wise move and on this pure Skyrunning course, Emelie is hot favourite for the win.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1150545

Maite Maiora placed 4th behind Emelie last year almost 11-minutes back, however, Maite is a different runner this year and I personally think we can expect to see her pushing closer to the front.

Antonella Confortola is spreading her works from her favourite VK distance and tackling the slopes of Piz Boe. Antonella will be a contender for the podium as will the other VK specialist, Laura Orgue. Laura doesn’t seem to run many races outside the VK distance, however, when she does she performs at the highest level. These two ladies will bring an interesting dynamic to the race. 

©iancorless.comIMG_3952

Stephanie Jiminez is a pure short distance mountain runner and VK specialist and the Dolomites SkyRace will suit her skill set. Stephanie will be in the mix, pushing all the other ladies to the line.

Victoria Wilkinson from the UK is an exciting prospect. A string of top quality results and performances on home soil bode well for a strong performance here in the Dolomites. The biggest question marks will come in adaptation to altitude and the tough, long, steep and technical terrain that this course offers.

Celine Lafaye has had a quiet 2014 but can’t be ruled out of a top-5 performance. I am just not sure of her current form?

 

Ones to watch:

Leire Agirrezabala

Uxoa Irigoien

Paola Romanin

Maria Dimitria Theocharis

Laia Andreu Trias

Montse Martinez Guerrero

Anna Comet

Lisa Buzzoni

Chiara Gianola

Eva Moreda

 

Race Results from 2013:

Men

1. JORNET KILIAN (ESP) SALOMON SANTIVERI – 2h00’11”

2. DE GASPERI MARCO (ITA) GS FORESTALE – 2h00’14”

3. PIVK TADEI (ITA) CRAZY IDEA – 2h04’10”

4. ZINCA IONUT (ROU) VALETUDO SKYRUNNING – 2h07’26”

5. SEVENNEC ALEXIS (FRA) CRAZY IDEA – 2h07’58”

Women

1. FORSBERG EMELIE (SWE) SALOMON 2h26’52”

2. SERAFINI SILVIA (ITA) SALOMON AGISKO – 2h36’55”

3. DOMINGUEZ NURIA (ESP) TEAM ESPANA – 2h37’41

4. MAIORA MAITE (ESP) TEAM ESPANA – 2h37’58

5. WISNIEWSKA DOMINIKA (POL) – TEAM POLAND – 2h40’30”

 

Skyrunning HERE

Dolomites SkyRace HERE

 

Episode 65 – Krupicka, Birkinshaw, Owens, Forsberg

Ep65

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

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

Andorra

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

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

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

Australia

Queensland

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

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

Victoria

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

Belgium

Wallonia

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

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

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

Canada

British Columbia

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

Ontario

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

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

Finland

Lapland

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

France

Aveyron

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

Corrèze

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

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

Finistère

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

Gard

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

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

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

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

Haute-Corse

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

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

Haute-Garonne

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

Haute-Loire

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

Haute-Savoie

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

Haut-Rhin

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

Isère

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

Jura

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

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

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

Lozère

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

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

Pyrénées-Atlantiques

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

Savoie

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

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

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

Germany

Bavaria

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

Rhineland-Palatinate

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

Guadeloupe

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

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

Iceland

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

India

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

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

Ireland

Leinster

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

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

Munster

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

Italy

Lombardy

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

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

Piedmont

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

Veneto

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

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

Mauritius

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

Mongolia

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

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

Namibia

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

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

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

Slovakia

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

South Africa

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

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

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

Spain

Basque Country

Ehunmilak | 168 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

G2handiak | 88 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

Castile and León

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

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

Sweden

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

Switzerland

Berne

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

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

Valais

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

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

Turkey

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

United Kingdom

Buckinghamshire

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

East Riding of Yorkshire

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

Essex

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

Hertfordshire

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

North Yorkshire

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

Oxfordshire

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

USA

Arkansas

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

California

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colorado

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

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

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

Idaho

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

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

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

Kansas

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

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

Montana

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

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

Nevada

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

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

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

Oregon

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

South Carolina

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

Tennessee

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

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

Texas

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

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

Utah

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

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

Vermont

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

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

Washington

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

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

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

Wisconsin

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

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

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

 
 
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AMERICAN ATHLETES DOMINATE DOLOMITES – Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Lavaredo

Under threatening skies Cortina hosted the eighth edition of The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Expectations were high for a competitive race as the quality of the field was the strongest in the event history with runners from 56 nations on the start line.

_N3D0125-¬ Giovanni Marchesi

The 119km race started in front of a packed Cortina crowd at 11pm on Friday evening. 782 trail runners left the sanctuary of the Cortina valley and headed out on a journey of 119km through the Dolomite National Park with the knowledge that they would also climb 5,850 metres of elevation over the next 12 to 31 hours (race cut off time was 31 hours).

The women’s race was predictably a fierce two horse race between local favorite Francesca Canepa and her US rival Rory Bosio. The two of them spent the night section of the race pushing each other and by first light Canepa held a seven-minute advantage at KM48 as Bosio was struggling to shake off a severe headache.

Daylight and the stunning mountain scenery seemed to energise Bosio to the point that she had overhauled Canepa by km75 and the gap continued to grow as they both raced for the finish line. Their pace was incredible as they pushed each other which would result in Bosio smashing Canepa’s course record by almost one and half hours. The value of two strong athletes pushing each other could be seen in the fact that Francesca Canepa ran one hour faster than in 2012 but was still unable to stop the sheer power and speed of Rory Bosio. Something that Europe saw for the first time at The North Face® UTMB in 2013.

Alberto Orlandi-¬-02931

At the finish line Rory told the cheering crowd; “This was the most inspiring course I have ever raced on. The last 45km of the course was incredibly challenging and the most technical I have ever raced on. It was just brutal”.

In the men’s race the real action started at km33, Hotel Cristallo. Anton Krupicka, Mike Foote and Gediminias Grinius were all in the lead pack of about ten runners as they left this aid station. Anton took advantage of the short punishing climbs on the way to Lake Misurina to establish a lead as they hit the base of the longest climb of the course up to the race high point of Rifugio Auronzo.

Alberto Orlandi-¬-03076

First light greeted the leaders as they passed close by to the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo mountain spires as they reached a high point of just below 2,500 metres. The crowds up here who had braved an early start were rewarded with some stunning mountain scenery. The long technical descent from the top of Forcella Lavaredo to the valley floor at km67 would benefit Italian Fulvio Delpit with his strong skyrunning skills so we had a new leader but Anton Krupicka was in no mood to give up his lead and charged through the aid station without even stopping for new supplies.

Krupicka’s determination was rewarded as he arrived first into the aid station at km75 at Ra Stua. This was a lead he would never relinquish over the next 44km. Unbeknown to him the big fight was going on behind him for second place. Fulvio Delpit pulled at Km75 leaving a very tense battle between Mike Foote now in second place with Gediminias Grinius breathing down his neck in third.

Grinius led Foote for the first time into Col Gallina at km95 but they had swapped places once more by the time they had reached the majestic location of Passo Giau at km102. They would push each other for the next 16km with Foote holding onto second place with Grinius three minutes behind, such a small gap after thirteen hours of racing.

RESULTS

  1. Rory Bosio (US) 14:29:54 (New course record)
  2. Francesca Canepa (IT) 14:45:55
  3. Katia Fori (IT) 15:57:27
  1. Anton Krupicka (US) 12:42:31
  2. Mike Foote (US) 12:57:38
  3. Gediminias Grinius (Lithuania) 13:01:22

Images ©

  • ©Giovanni Marchesi / The North Face or
  • ©Alberto Orlandi / The North Face

Release ©thenorthface

The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2014 Preview

Lavaredo

 

What a weekend of trail, mountain and ultra running is about to unfold over the weekend of June 27th – 29th. The Skyrunning World Championships take place in Chamonix; the iconic Western States 100-mile run in the USA and in Italy, the Lavaredo Ultra Trail is almost being forgotten with the hype of the other two events.

Now in it’s 8th year, The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail run over 119-km with 5850m of positive incline is a serious undertaking. The Dolomites provide an incredible backdrop for the race and the route includes peaks – Crystal, Tofane, Cinque Torri, and the spectacular Tre Cime.

Lavaredo Profile

Included in the UTWT it’s a double whammy weekend for the series with participants accumulating points at Western States and Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Continuing a tour of the world, this weekends races are number seven and eight. Six races have already taken place in China, Spain, New Zealand, Morocco, Japan and Australia.

Current leaders in the UTWT are as follows:

  1. Antoine Guillon (WAA) – 520-points
  2. Ryan Sandes (Salomon) – 466 points
  3. Brendan Davies (inov-8) – 445 points
  1. Nuria Picas (Buff) – 564 points
  2. Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) – 505 points
  3. Nerea Martinez (Salomon) – 427 points

Interestingly, we will see the top-3 men looking and hunting for points this weekend with Sandes and Davies at Western States and Guillon at Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Picas and Maciel however will look to excel in Chamonix at the Skyrunning World Championships and forego the opportunity to accumulate more points. Martinez will race at Lavaredo Ultra Trail and a podium place will allow the Spaniard to close the gap.

International athletes numbers have increased considerably at Lavaredo Ultra Trail from 33% in 2013 to 50% in 2014 with over 56-nations represented.

Ladies

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Several names stand out, in particular, The North Face UTMB winner Rory Bosio. Rory had an incredible record breaking run at the 2013 TNFUTMB and if Rory brings a fraction of the that form to Italy, she may well be unstoppable.

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa will do her utmost to stop Bosio. Francesca won Lavaredo in 2012 and has been a top and consistent performer at tough, technical and mountain races all over the world.

Katia Fori placed 4th at TNFUTMB in 2013 but her recent form is a little unknown. Katia knows the Lavaredo course after placing 3rd in 2012.

Nerea Martinez will be looking for a podium place and it is a distinct possibility after consistent performances already this year with 5th place at HK100 and Transgrancanaria.

I was looking forward to seeing Brit, Lizzie Wraith, race against these ladies, however, Lizzie has decided to race the 80km event at the Skyrunning World Championships and arguably will have a much tougher race as she toes the line against Nuria Picas, Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg and Ruby Muir amongst others.

Men

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote takes top billing after taking a podium place at UTMF. Mike loves the mountains and we can expect a classic run from Mike. Expect him to be running 5th – 10th early on and then charging in the latter stages to move forward for a podium slot and potential victory.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1080340

One person who will be looking to stop the ‘Foote’ charge is Anton Krupicka. Anton has had a tough couple of years. In and out of injury, Tony has shown glimpses of past form (UTMB 2013) and then seen them disappear with injury flaring up again. A recent win at a relatively low-key 50-mile race (Jemez) has provided Anton with a confidence boost and in a recent conversation with him, he told me he has good form and he feels good. Fingers crossed. If Anton has no flare-ups during the race we can expect a podium place at minimum.

Antoine Guillon has failed to make top-3 at any UTWT event but is Mr. Consistent. I would anticipate the same here at Lavaredo Ultra Trail with a top-10.

Dave Mackey continues his UTWT and after placing 8th at HK100 and struggling at UTMF, one would hope that Dave would take Lavaredo out a little slower and use his speed in the latter stages. On paper, Dave could be top-5.

Scott Hawker may well be the surprise package and I know he is looking for a top-quality run. He will have a real confidence boost after placing 5th at HK100.

©iancorless.com.IMG_1749

Yeray Duran had a break through performance at Transgrancanaria and may well turn a few more heads at Lavaredo. He is well known in Spain and particularly the Canary Islands but in Italy and France, less so.

Ones to watch:

John Tidd

Cyril Cointre

Emmanuel Gault

Filippo Canetta

Stefano Gregoretti

Christophe Le Saux

 

Details:

27th June 2014 11 p.m.


Cortina d’Ampezzo (BL) 
Dolomites – Italy


119 km / 5.850 m+

Time limit: 31 hours


No. Participants: 800 max

 

Race website HERE

Live Tracking HERE

UTWT HERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1140556

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andorra: the consistently strong Teixido and Casal brothers.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Individual world titles are at stake in each discipline as well as a combined title, based on the best results of two out of three races. Countries will be ranked according to the best results of three men and one woman in all three disciplines.
€ 25,000 cash prizes will be awarded and anti-doping controls will be carried out.

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

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©copyright .iancorless.com.P1130615

Transvulcania La Palma 2014 – In-depth race preview

©copyright .iancorless.com._1110251

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, who’s going to win?

Ladies

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

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1080904_Snapseed

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

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

©iancorless.comP1210649

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

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

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

Silvia Serafini copyright iancorless.com

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

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

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

Ones to watch:

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

Men

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

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1080586

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ones to watch:

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

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

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

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

Links:

Transvulcania website HERE

Skyrunning HERE

Transvulcania La Palma – A Guide HERE

Transvulcania VK HERE

Transvulcania 2013 Images HERE

Transvulcania 2013 preview HERE

 

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

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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!

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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.

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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: