Ultra Pirineu 2015 Race Images and Summary


Nuria Picas was looking to defend her ‘home’ crown in a race that she has won for the last 4-years. Luis Alberto Hernando, champion in 2013 and 2014 was returning looking to make it a triple but more importantly the Skyrunner® World Series title for the ultra distance was at stake. Add to the mix Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, the last time the duo raced here in Baga was 2012. Kilian won that year ahead of Anton Krupicka and Dakota Jones, Emelie placed 3rd behind Nuria Picas and Anna Frost.


Starting at 0700 in the center of Baga, one has a full appreciation of how important running has become in Spain and I guess more importantly here in Catalonia. Kilian and Nuria are as important if not more important than football stars here in this part of the world. Autographs, photographs, shaking hands, pats on the back and the noise; wow the noise is incredible! Yes, they are the ‘Messi’ of the running world in these parts.


The day was always going to be one full of drama and battles. We had a race within a race and as such one had to keep an eye not only on who was running in the top-3 but also who was running in the top overall rankings. Coming into Ultra Pirineu Franco Colle was 1st in SWS rankings followed by Cristofer Clemente in 2nd and Luis Alberto Hernando in 3rd. It was all up for grabs. For the ladies the battle was relatively straight forward; if Emelie won the race she would be SWS champion. If Mira Rai won the race, she would become champion.



From the gun Emelie made her intentions clear and took hold of the race from the front and it stayed that way for the whole 110km. Although the story changed a little behind the dominant Emelie, the writing was on the wall; Mira Rai would place 2nd and Nuria Picas would place 3rd. At times Mira looked to close the gap and then it would extend whereas Nuria looked resigned to a solid 3rd place.



The men’s race was a little more unpredictable! I say unpredictable but in all honesty, did we (I) ever think anyone other than Kilian Jornet would win the race? I know I shouldn’t say that; anything can happen in 110km but barring an accident or some unforeseen problem, I really didn’t see any other scenario playing out.


In the early stages Jessed Hernandez, Miguel Heras and Zaid Ait Malek accompanied the Catalan over the undulating terrain. Kilian always looked relaxed and in control. The protagonists changed at the front of the race, Miguel and Zaid would take a turn to pace and all the time Kilian would run in 2nd keeping his powder dry. The elastic finally snapped with Zaid and Kilian taking the front and opening up a gap over Miguel.


Behind the lead trio a battle was unfolding. Franco Colle SWS leader coming into the race dropped with sickness; his 2015 SWS chances over! Cristofer Clemente was running in 4th and Luis Alberto Hernando clearly tired from his 2nd place efforts at UTMB just 3-weeks earlier was running in and around the top-10 battling to win the SWS title.


Miguel didn’t give in though, he found some internal strength with 85km’s covered and closed the gap to then take over the lead with Kilian as Zaid faded. Over the final km’s, Kilian put his foot on the gas on one of the final climbs and quickly opened up a 6-minute gap over Miguel. The writing was on the wall, Kilian would win the 2015 Ultra Pirineu and he would be welcomed by a home crowd like a long lost son.


Behind the drama unfolded, Zaid refused to give in. He once again caught Miguel and this time pulled away and never looked back. He finished 2nd and produced one of the most impressive display finish line antics I have witnessed. Miguel took the final podium place and then attention turned to the SWS ranking.


Cristofer Clemente finished 4th and Luis Alberto Hernando had to finish in the top-15 to take the SWS crown; he did it! It has been quite a year for Luis. A series of high ranking victories and podium places, 2nd at UTMB, Skyrunning European Champion and now the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series Champion. Bravo!

Attention now turns to Limone Extreme for the respective SWS titles in VK and SKY.


  1. Kilian Jornet 12:03:27
  2. Zaid Ait Malek 12:12:23
  3. Miguel Heras 12:20:35
  1. Emelie Forsberg 13:39:33
  2. Mira Rai 13:43:49
  3. Nuria Picas 14:13:01

Skyrunner World Series Champions 2015

Emelie Forsberg and Luis Alberto Hernando


Full race results HERE

Skyrunning goes global with The RUT and CBS News



If you think running a marathon is a feat in itself, imagine doing an ultra-marathon up a mountain. At “The Rut Mountain Race” in Big Sky, Montana, nearly 400 athletes from around the world gathered to compete across 31 miles. They cover more than 10,000 feet of elevation. The sport is known as “skyrunning.”

As part of the “CBS This Morning” series, “Pushing the Limits,” we take a look at the world’s elite athletes who are getting their high-altitude adrenaline rush.

Luke Nelson sums it up when he says:

“I run in the mountains because it gives me a freedom that I can’t find anywhere else…. I think the human body was meant to run; but this is pushing it!”

View the film here


You can read reports and view images from RUNTHERUT races below:




Ultra Pirineu 2015 Race Preview


The Skyrunner® World Series for 2015 for the Ultra distance draws to a close in Spain at the Ultra Pirineu. It’s amazing how time flies; it only seems weeks ago that I was writing about Transvulcania.

Taking place on September 201th, Ultra Pirineu follows on from the RUT and as such, it will be an exciting race.

Runners will assemble in the Cade Moixero National Park to do battle over a very challenging race. The 110km race is the main event and the one that gains the most attention. With 6800m of vertical gain it’s a race that will push each and every Skyrunners’ legs and lungs to the limit.


Luis Alberto Hernando, Skyrunning World and European Champion for the ultra distance will be looking to repeat his victory from 2014. Would you want to bet against him? Luis has been on fire in 2015 with victories at Transvulcania and Ice Trail Tarentaise. Add to this podium finishes at Tromso SkyRace and UTMB and for sure Luis will be a hot favourite for victory.


However, a certain Kilian Jornet running on home ground may well scupper Luis’s plans. Kilian has had a quitter year in 2015 as he has concentrated on his Alpinrunning projects but that did not stop repeating his 2014 victory at Hardrock 100 and in the process he now holds the course record for both directions.

“I am very excited about competing at home again as this was the very first race I competed in. There is an incredible level of competition this year, so a show is guaranteed.” – Kilian Jornet

And Kilian has hit the nail on the head, rising star of the sport Manuel Merillas (winner in 2011) will run. Manuel is still looking for the big win but a string of high placing and podium finishes will almost certainly guarantee that he is pushing the pace with the rest at the front.


Franco Colle just the other weekend won the RUT in the USA and has now decided to miss Tor des Geants to content the podium on Spain. Currently Franco leads the Skyrunner World ~Series for the ultra distance and he will bo looking to gain maximum points and the bonus that come with it to secure the overall position in the ranking, it won’t be an easy task!


Cristofer Clemente was 2nd at the RUT also and now lies 2nd on the ranking for the SWS. He did have some question marks over if he would race here in Spain due to the proximity of the USA race, however, I can’t help but think he will give the race a go and he will see what happens. At 110km it’s a long tough race for this late in the season.

tnfutmb 2013 ©iancorless.com

UTMB duo, Miguel Heras and Tofol Castanyer both had troubled races this year on the big loop of Chamonix and so they will no doubt be looking to put the record straight here. As we all know, on their day they are 2 of the best ultra mountain runners in the world. They also both have a great history with this race.



Ricky Lightfoot has once again had another incredible 2015 mixing up his race distances and experiences with diverse races races such as Ultra Skymarathon Madeira, DoDo Trail in Mauritius and of course his local fell races in the UK.  *may not race due to illness, me missed the Lakes Sky Ultra?

Jessed Hernandez placed 3rd in 2014 and he will be looking to move up 1 or 2 places in 2015 but the odds may well be stacked against him with such a quality line-up. Yeray Duran, Philipp Reiter and Miguel Caballero will also contend the top 5 but there are more runners than places; who will come out on top?


Nuria Picas has made a home at Ultra Pirineu, it’s ‘her’ race and 2015 will be the 5th time she will toe the line looking for another victory. Her recent blip at UTMB will soon be behind her and she will no doubt looking to put the record straight on home ground. We can all think back to that epic battle between Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg and Nuria Picas in 2012.

“I am delighted to see that world renowned international athletes are once again coming here, it’s a race that deserves consideration.” – Nuria Picas



Emelie Forsberg ran her very first 80km race at Ultra Pirineu (then called Cavalls del Vent) in 2012. She placed 3rd! What has followed has been an incredible rise in the sport of Skyrunning. While Nuria pursued the UTWT, Emelie has gone on to dominate Skyrunning races worldwide, the 2015 edition of Ultra Pirineu will once again see these two dominant and inspiring ladies once again go head-to-head. It’s an exciting prospect.


Nepalese sensation Mira Rai will also race. Her victory at the Mont-Blanc 80km turned heads and I think it’s fair to say that the 110km distance will suit her running style.


Anna Comet has been a revelation in 2015 and has consistently placed on the podium. Like Nuria, Anna is placing a great emphasis on Ultra Pirineu as she considers it a home race. The ‘home’ advantage really motivates and Anna’s recent non-racing will almost certainly mean that she will be fresh for an epic battle.

Ester Alves, Julia Boetger, Gemma Arenas and Roser Espanol will also be looking to mix it up at the front of the race. Ester in particular has seemed unstoppable in 2015 after going from one race to the next.

You can follow the stories through words and images on this website, via Twitter @talkultra, on Instagram @iancorlessphotography and on Facebook at facebook.com/iancorlessphotography.

In addition, the official Skyrunning Facebook page (here) and Twitter @skyrunning_com will have regular updates and news.



Read my first hand account of the incredible Tromso SkyRace on RUNULTRA

I clamber, drop, grip and ascend and descend as required by the ridge. The rocks were wet and grip via hand or foot was going to be compromised. I was already wearing light gloves to protect from the cold, my shoes were mountain running shoes designed for grip of softer/ muddier ground. I wondered, ‘What will the grip be like on these rocks?’



To provide a perspective, take a look at Jordi’s video via GoPro from the ridge

Tromsö Skyrace 2015 – Race Images


What an incredible day in the mountains. Kilian and Emelie really did add some mountain meat to the bones of the Skyrunning calendar and the Skyrunner World Series.

It was a wet, grey, misty and claggy making mountain conditions difficult for all. In the ladies race, Emelie Forsberg came out on top in a highly competitive race and for the men, Jonathon Albon from the UK turned quite a few heads with an incredible performance.

Race summary to follow.


1. Emelie Forsberg 7:09:54
2. Mira Rai 7:23:09
3. Malena Haukøy 7:31:29

1. Jonathon Albon 6:08:41
2.  Luis Alberto Hernando 6:25:54
3. Rolf Einar Jensen 6:28:51

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


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

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

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

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

In summary:

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

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

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


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

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

So who is running?



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


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

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


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


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


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



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



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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally,


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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

I can’t wait!

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

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

Tromso Skyrace logo

Kilian and Emelie break records at Mount Marathon, Alaska.


Dynamic duo, Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet both established new records over the weekend at Alaska’s Mount Marathon, one of the oldest races in the World.

Kilian posted on facebook after his record time of 41:48:

What an incredible experience, Mount Marathon Race in only 5km and 1000m up and down in technical terrain, with a fantastic atmosphere and level, is one of the most spectacular races I have done!

Taking place on Saturday, 4th July the race was full of drama and excitement. It’s like a huge party as many people get together to support all the runners. So many people said,  ‘We come year-after-year to cheer everyone on as they climb at the top of Mount Marathon.’


Image ©marklester – ADN

Starting just 14m above sea level, the race is an explosive 5 km and reaches a high point of 921m over a very technical climb and descent. At the summit, fiords and glaciers can be observed but runners have no time to look around. A frantic descent leads the runners back to Seward town centre and it is from the summit that Kilian broke away from Rickey Gates and Jim Shine to gain victory:

‘Jornet delivered a rocketing downhill in his race debut, seized victory in the 88th edition of Alaska’s oldest and most prestigious footrace in 41 minutes, 48 seconds. That performance lopped 67 seconds off three-time champion Eric Strabel’s 2013 standard of 42:55.’ – ©adn

Emelie ran the first 400 meters with Allison Ostrander, who finished in second place. But, then, Forsberg started to feel good and pulled away tothe finish line, beating the speed record of the race with a chrono of 47’48”.

‘It was so cool. I was really not thinking I could do such a good time. I know I have been training well but also I have done some vertical kilometres in my training and never felt really rested to achieve well. So this was super cool. It is a very beautiful race. I love that the women have their own start, it is an amazing atmosphere.’  – Emelie Forsberg

Emelie  will now travel to Val D’Isere and participate in the Skyrunning Ice Trail Tarentaise, a race that she has won on 2 occasions. Kilian will go to Hardrock 100 and look to repeat his 2014 victory and course record (preview HERE) but in the opposite direction.

Related Alaska Dispatch News

Great and gracious, Kilian Jornet conquers Mount Marathon in record fashion – HERE

Crown Emelie Forsberg the new queen of Alaska’s mountains – HERE

Photo’s men’s race HERE

Photo’s ladies race HERE

Watch the ladies race 2015

Watch the men’s race


Watch the 2013 record here (time 42:55)

Hardrock 100 2015 Race Preview #HR100


The Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run is an ultra marathon of 100.5 miles in length, plus 33,992 feet of climb and 33,992 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 67,984 feet, at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet. The race is held on a loop course on 4WD roads, dirt trails, and cross country in Southern Colorado’s San Juan Range, USA.

The run starts and ends in Silverton, Colorado and travels through the towns of Telluride, Ouray, and the ghost town of Sherman, crossing thirteen major passes in the 12,000′ to 13,000′ range.

Entrants must travel above 12,000 feet (3,700 m) of elevation a total of 13 times, with the highest point on the course being the 14,048′ summit of Handies Peak. The race has been held in early July of each year beginning in 1992, except for 1995 (too much snow) and 2002 (nearby forest fires). Each year’s race is run in the opposite direction of the previous year’s event (2008 was run in the clockwise direction, 2009 will be counter-clockwise). In order to complete the event, instead of crossing a finish line, runners are required to “kiss the Hardrock”, a picture of a ram’s head painted on a large block of stone mining debris.

This course offers a graduate level challenge for endurance runs. The course is designed to provide extreme challenges in altitude, steepness, and remoteness. Mountaineering, wilderness survival and wilderness navigation skills are as important in this event as your endurance.


In 2014 Kilian Jornet made the course, dare I say, look easy! He took photos, waited for Julien Chorier and then finally took off and smashed the course record. Hos victory guaranteed him a slot for 2015 and so he’s coming back to go in the opposite direction and it would be fair to say that many of us are expecting a similar display. It’s important to clarify that the weather plays a crucial part in any great Hardrock performance, so if the weather gods are playing ball I certainly expect to see Kilian on top of the podium and I also will stick my neck out and say he will set a new CR and thus will hold the CR for both directions. On a final note though in regard to the Catalan, his preparation for 2015 has been very different to 2014, yes he has been logging some serious training hours and elevation but he has less time at elevation and we saw how he struggled at Aconcagua. A recent top 10 at Chamonix VK and just this last weekend he won and set a new CR at Mount Marathon in Alaska. The stage is set!

I would be talking about Anton Krupicka now, he finally got an entry in the race that he has always wanted to do and what happens? Injury strikes resulting in a no show for Anton.

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Step in Iker Karrera. Iker is a machine in tough and challenging races. His Tor des Geants performance a classic example of how he gets his head down and churns out the performance. He’s been 2nd at UTMB but I guess one of the most significant indicators comes from Diagonale des Fous (Raid de la Reunion) when Kilian waited for Iker on the trails encouraging him to the line… Kilian went on to win! Iker can win Hardrock but I think it will be because Kilian looses it if you know what I mean!

©copyright .iancorless.com._1000692

Adam Campbell was 3rd last year in 25:56 and then almost disappeared from the scene. It’s really difficult to say if Adam can repeat his 2014 performance, I personally think he can. He’s had great results before at long and gnarly races. He was 2nd at UTMF in 2012.


Mike Foote has the race strategy for Hardrock 100. Expect to see him hanging back, taking it easy and then applying pressure and slowly making his way up through the ranks. The only problem with this strategy when Kilian is in the race is that he may very well leave himself far too much work to do but 2nd or 3rd on the podium is a distinct possibility. Mike also does know the Hardrock course; he raced in 2010. When you add that to his highest ever placing at UTMB, 3rd in 2012 it’s easy to see how Mike will pressure the front of the race.


Karl Meltzer is back, he managed to sneak through the door and get a place. You can NEVER rule out Karl. His 5 victories at Hardrock provide him with a wealth of experience and as many an ultra runner has said, nobody hikes like Karl! Karl would be first to admit that if Kilian is ‘on a day’ then everyone else is running for 2nd, but you know what, Karl does have the race and experience for the podium. Don’t rule him out! Recently he won yet another 100 at Cruel Jewel keeping his long streak of winning a 100 miler every year for god knows how many years. In prep for Hardrock, Karl also spent 2 weeks on the AT with Scott Jurek.

A quick addition, I missed Troy Howard who has placed 2nd twice at Hardrock. I don’t think he’ll take the win or maybe even the podium against Kilian and Iker but you never know on 3rd place? He recently was 2nd at Wasatch (2014) and 2nd at Squaw Peak 50 (2015).

Who else is in with a shout?

Jared Campbell has tough and gnarly races for breakfast. He’s finished Barkley twice, this will be his 10th Hardrock and although he won the race in 2010 I don’t see him on the podium. But expect him to be near top 5!

Nick Coury has placed 5th and 6th at Hardrock in 2008 and 2013 respectively. Like Jared, he has the race for a top 10 but a podium.

Scott Jaime has placed 2nd and run the Hardrock almost as many times as Jared Campbell. He is a consistent performer reflected in placing 3rd on 2 occasions. Like Jared though, 5th – 10th is a likely result.

Ones to watch:

Jamil Coury, Matt Hart, Adam Hewey and Matt Hart.

On a final note, lets give a shout out to Bryon Powell from iRunFar. I think he’d be the first to admit that he won’t be contending the front of the race but since he got his slot he has trained real hard. Doing the job that we do, I know how hard it is just to get out for a run but to train too, that’s impressive!


Darcy Piceu has top billing as a 3 time defending champion and as such, Darcy is an odds on favourite for a 4th victory. Course knowledge and experience are going to go such a long way and her recent victory (and CR) at Big Horn 50 shows that she is in great form.


However, Darcy hasn’t raced Anna Frost at Hardrock before? I personally feel that if the weather is kind and Anna has no injury issues we may well see a dominating performance that will not only provide a female victory, a course record but a potentially significant performance that will dent the men’s race. That is a bold statement I know, but when Anna is on it, she is on it! She missed Transvulcania recently with injury and of course we all know the highs and lows of the past 30 months. But Anna has been out on the course for a month or so, done the training, adapted herself and as far as I know is fit and healthy.

If Darcy and Anna are firing on all cylinders then I think the rest of the ladies are running for 3rd. The Betsies (kalmeyer and Nye) are legends at Hardrock and between them have 28 finishes. They have the experience and that counts for a great deal in a race like this.

Darla Askew however has the speed but less experience (compared to the Betsies.) In comparison to Anna though, Darla has 2 Hardrock finishes and they were both on the podium! So it would be fair to say that a 3rd is likely again but the potential to leap frog and place 2nd or 3rd is a distinct possibility.


Meghan Hicks has won MDS finished Tor des Geants and may well contend the top 5. Meghan knows how to get it done! The 2015 MDS didn’t go to plan event though she still placed well, at the time she was unsure if she would start Hardrock. I am pleased to see that Meghan is on the start list and I’ll be rooting for her.

Ones to watch:

Pam Reed, Liz Bauer, Suzanne Lewis and Missy Gosney.


Hardrock 100 is a small key race for a select few. However, in its history, Hardrock has always become a highly anticipated race that often plays out like a great boxing match. It is a constant frustration for me that we don’t get ALL the best ultra runners on the playing field at the same time. Pointless me saying this I know as that is one of the quirks of Hardrock.

However, can you imagine a ladies and men’s field of the depth that we see at Western States or Transvulcania arriving in Silverton?

The race starts on Friday 10th July

Race website HERE

Opening race description ©Hardrock100website

A little bit about Hardrock

In the early 1990s an ultra runner from Boulder CO, Gordon Hardman, wanted to create a 100 mile adventure run emphasizing two things: a. link the historic mining towns of Silverton, Ouray, Telluride and Lake City and b. offer each participant an adventure though the spectacular San Juan Mountains while challenging them with altitude, steepness and remoteness. Gordon placed a notice in Ultrarunning magazine soliciting the help of anyone who may be interested in helping pull this together. Within a year Gordon had enlisted a cadre of local runners with deep ties to the area who believed such a run was possible and voila..the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run was created.

From the beginning, the idea of celebrating the legacy and memory of the hardrock miners was paramount as was the idea that this run should be for those who wanted an extraordinary adventure. Careful attention was paid to developing a route which incorporated the foot trails, wagon roads and burro trails that were constructed for transporting materials to mining sites and hauling ore to market. The Hardrock Hundred follows those routes laid out by those miners who made their living in crags in hopes of making their fortune mining the minerals hidden between the peaks and hidden in the valleys The Hardrock Hundred has stayed true to those ideas to this day and is dedicated to the memory of those wild and tough individuals.

Why Silverton?

The initial idea of Hardrock was to rotate the start/finish of Hardrock between each of the 4 towns. Some demonstrated more excitement about hosting Hardrock than others, chief among those was Silverton. The idea of rotating the start/finish was abandoned and Silverton became the permanent home of the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run.

Why alternate courses?

After the decision was made to keep the start/finish in Silverton, Hardrock developed the idea that run the course in alternating directions so that runners could experience all that the San Juans had to offer and wouldn’t get tired of the view! Many runners don’t consider themselves true “Hardrockers” till they have finished in both directions.

The “Hardrock” rock is a big deal-how come?

When Hardrock first started, one of the things we forgot to have is a finish line. When an early Hardrock runner asked how we would know when they were finished, run director, Dale Garland, looked around and found a rock in the ground and told all the runners to “touch” the rock to stop the clock. Touching turned to kissing and the small rock in the ground grew into the 2 ton boulder we have now. Today we have one of the most unique finishes in ultrarunning and are always amazed to see the flood of emotion and relief that kissing the Hardrock brings out in those complete their personal adventure of Hardrock. Over the years we have actually had 2 Hardrock rocks, both of which have enjoyed a very special and unique place in the lore of the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run.

Karl meets Kilian ©suunto ©sebmontaz

--©copyright .iancorless.com.iancorless.orgP1060017trofeokima_kilian

Many thought there would be some tension between Karl Egloff and Kilian Jornet. After all, Karl has broken 2 of Kilian’s records.

View the original Suunto post HERE

“Nothing was set-up,” says the film maker Seb Montaz. “It was really the first time they met. They were both excited to meet and I hope people see them laughing together – there was no rivalry.” – Seb Montaz

But I already knew the answer and Kilian summed it up himself when he said after Aconcagua:

‘Records are there to be broken!’

So what happened when the duo met up in Chamonix?

Video ©suunto ©sebmontaz

You can read my interviews with Kilian HERE and HERE and HERE

Read about Karl HERE

And listen to them both in my podcast HERE

Who is Karl Egloff? – Part one

CAF_3060Many of you will be familiar with the mountain Aconcagua, primarily because of Kilian Jornet and his recent record set in December. Well recently Karl Egloff, 33 from Ecuador has broke Kilian Jornet’s record with a time of 11:52 (57-minutes quicker than Kilian) I like many others wondered, who is Karl Egloff?


I caught up with Karl just days after his impressive record on Aconcagua. I discussed in-depth his background, home life, sporting background and how he may now be considered a speed-climbing phenomenon.

This week we bring you part one of this two-part interview


KE: I’m so happy I just came back a couple of days ago from Argentina, I feel good and I’m happy, there are a lot of things going around right now and I’m happy to talk to you guys.

IC: It’s great to have you here and I really do appreciate you finding the time to talk to us. Before we talk to you about Aconcagua, a lot of people all around the world are saying who is Karl? Who is he? What his background? I said that you are 33 and you were born in Ecuador. Your father was a mounting guide if I’m correct?

KE: Yes he is and yes, I’m 33. I was born here in Quito, its very high here actually 2000+ metres. My mother was half Ecuadorian half Swiss, she met my father during studies and they made the decision to move to Ecuador and make their lives here, we three kids where all born here. My father is a mountain guide and he took me to the mountains at a very early age. He even took me as a baby in a large backpack.

I went up to the huts of our big mountains here in Ecuador and if he was climbing with a client up to around 1000 metres, I would go too… I got a in the mountains pretty young and as soon as I could talk I would just discuss mountains about mountaineering. My mother was not very happy about that, she was always telling me not to choose the mountain guide career; she was a little bit worried about it. She said it’s very difficult to be at home and to have a family, its difficult because it has the seasons. She was always telling me about other professions, but it’s kind of impossible being a son of a mountain guide. I had homework about beautiful mountains all over the world and I was always asking so much he used to say please Karl stop asking me.


When I was 15 I got the chance for the first time to climb with him the first glacier here in Ecuador. My father told me, “when you are 15 I will take you because you are at an age where you can realise what you’re doing.” Finally when I did it I was standing up on the summit and he said,

“Son, you have really a lot of energy so I think you should help me with guiding from now on.”

I guess that when things really started for me, I was guiding with him almost every weekend up to 6000 ft.

Unfortunately my mother died when I was 17, so us three kids decided to go study, I went to Switzerland. I was living in Zurich for around 8-years and during my studies I went up to the mountains every time I could; to snowboard, to go jogging and to go trekking.

I finally returned to Ecuador at 26-years old, I actually tried to be a professional football player because here in Ecuador you grow up with football, it’s much more of ‘the’ sport it’s like in the UK. Football is a religion. .

IC: Before you tell me about your football, let’s go back a little bit and talk about your father being a mountain guide and the way that you were brought up, your story is so similar to Kilian Jornet. His father worked in the mountains, his father and his family lived at a refuge, and really from babies they were just born and bred on the mountains, and of course it’s that lifestyle, that permanent lifestyle that adapts you to be maybe an athlete that not only performs exceptionally well in many sports but particular high altitude sports.

KE: I read Kilian’s book and when I was reading it, it seemed like I was reading my story and especially regarding the altitude he was at, I was living at the 2400 metres and we used to go up with my father into the mountains and down into the valley, While reading I found a similarity when Kilian said he used to go out at night without the lights and sit with the nature. I did those things with my father too. I was with nature a great deal. I was always following the paths of different animals and I constantly asked many questions to my father.

When I got bored and the clients were tired I would go to my father at night and ask, “Why isn’t the sun up already/” I was impatient but he told me,

“It’s dangerous on the mountains and you can die up there.”

I would say no, no everything is ok…

When I got older my father used to give me some slack. I could go up to the summit or climb the path for the next days trek. I had already climbed the mountains. My father would just followed me with binoculars and show me whether to go, to the left or right with his hands. So yes pretty similar as Kilian.

IC: Yeah very similar. And of course Kilian a little bit like yourself didn’t start out as a trail runner or an alpinist, he started out in ski mountaineering and skiing and you were just telling us that football was a passion for you.

KE: Yes, definitely. Football is like a religion in Ecuador, you do nothing else but soccer at school, everyone is asking for the teams. No other sport exists. So actually for me the way I feel free is to do sports; it’s like a drug That is why I used to do my homework quickly so in the afternoon I had enough time to organise another soccer game or another competition at home and so yes definitely football for me became everything. When my mother asked me what I want to do when I leave school I said, ‘I want to be a professional football player,’ and she said forget it, sports won’t get you anywhere.

My coaches said have the energy and the talent, but my mother being from South America was very conservative. Before she died she said I don’t care what you do just don’t become a mountain guide or a sportsman, now here I am, 10-years later and I am both. I tried really hard to please my mother, so I started academics. I started in Switzerland, I tried to work in other places too but I was never happy, this is the most important thing; you must follow your happiness! When I returned back to Ecuador I really had to have a year off before starting a new business and starting my new tourism agency and in those days I started to go biking.

I used my bike to go to and from the gym. There is a very funny story where a guy said to me, ‘I heard you have a lot of energy Karl, would you like to join me as a bike partner in the most important mountain bike race in Ecuador?’ I said, yes but I didn’t have any experience in competing on the bike, I lacked the technique. He just said, ‘Don’t worry come with us.’

So eventually I went with him to the mountain bike race and when I waited on the start I asked him about all the cyclists who looked so professional? His reply was so funny, ‘Professionals? Yes, this is the most important race here in Ecuador and all the international professional mountain bike racers are here.’

I was too eager but I had a great race. After a sponsor came and said, ‘Karl we want to sponsor you.’ It was great news, it was my first race and I felt under qualified but they told me not to worry and come to the office on Monday!

IC: Wow perfect, that’s nice!

KE: Yeah it was, I was 26 and I said ok, So I started to train and train and train and after 2 years I started to travel with the national team to different competitions and to championships and then finally I qualified for the world cup in 2011 in Italy as the first Columbian mountain biker. A year later I qualified for the next world cup in France and then I got invited to the professional team. I started actually to be a good biker…

IC: So it was a really exciting time to just test yourself in sport but while this was going on while you were involved in mountain biking were you still mountain guiding?


KE: I was yes, exactly. I started in 2007 at my first agency and then 5-years later I started my own company. Biking was also a big part of my life, I was really happy with biking but there is a point where it costs a lot of money, you have to go for International championships and you need to live somewhere else. So we had a family decision, we sat down and discussed my options. I was 31-years old, which is relatively old in mountain biking, so I decided to quit!

IC: It’s interesting that you say at the age of 31 there’s no future for you in biking, you were obviously very good at it and carried over fitness and strength from trekking and as a tour leader. 31 is quite young to think that there’s no possible future. Do you think back now with your running success and think you made the wrong decision?

KE: Yes of course, I think the main point here is that we live in a very conservative country were sports is not a future, you don’t grow up here with your parents saying yeah go play tennis… become professional and so on. I was criticised by my family, they said sports would not get me anywhere. I had an opportunity to work for a Swiss mountain guide company and they gave me the chance to work as a mountain guide in Kilimanjaro and a few other places. It was a great opportunity, I was getting a salary but they wanted me to focus on the job so I could manage all business here in Ecuador.

IC: So it was a career decision, a business decision and family ties to the mountain. I guess it didn’t really feel like you were giving up sport but just changing disciplines.

KE: Exactly, I was always jogging I was always training but I never competed as I never saw it as a competition. Nobody thought about running here before but now it’s the second biggest sport after football. In 2012 I quit the biking and focused on the job and in 2013 really focused on guiding and a lot of doors opened for me. I was in Nepal and other countries and I was earning for the first time in my life. For me it was like, oh finally I have money I can get a car and grow up with the company; this is why I slowed down but I never stopped completely.

IC: Cool so let me come to Kilimanjaro. That is when I first became aware of your name and funnily even though you broke kilian’s record on Kilimanjaro it still didn’t really get much recognition. It was reported in several places but it didn’t get worldwide exposure, it was a bit under the radar. But I can see now knowing your history why you would make an attempt on Kilimanjaro. With your background is the seven summits now on your mind?

KE: Exactly it all started in 2012. My friend Nicolas who is now part of my team asked me to’ rabbit’ him up to a summit; actually one of the highest mountains we have here in Ecuador. It is almost the same altitude as Kilimanjaro. We were stood in the car park and he said to me, let’s go for the record! It’s funny, I had never run on the mountain and he said that’s why I have brought you here to help me on the mountain and make you faster. I wondered if I was fast enough or if I was any good? When I reached the summit I realised I had broke the record by 25-minutes. On the way down I met Nicola and I said I was sorry for leaving him behind but he just laughed and said, ‘Don’t worry, this was the only way I could get you to realise how good you are at this.’

I continued down and broke the world record and it became big news here in Ecuador. A lot of people criticised as they said the mountain was dangerous and that people can die on the mountain. But I am a mountain guide so I know how dangerous it is.



Tune in next week for part two.

How does Karl prove and verify his records?

Read about Karl’s Kilimanjaro record and read how he managed to knock 57-minutes off Kilian Jornet’s Aconcagua record.

all images provided by Karl Egloff ©

You can ‘HEAR’ the full interview on episode 82 of TALK ULTRA published on iTunes March 6th. The show is available for free – please subscribe!